About The Fox Brand
The name, “Fox,” is actually an anglicized version of the name of Fox’s original founder, William Fox. His original name was actually Wilhelm Fuchs. Like so many Hollywood stars and starlets who would do the same, though, he jumped into the American melting pot headlong, giving up his difficult-to-pronounce name for one that would sizzle in the spotlights that would eventually become a part of the iconic Fox Logo.
Fox Film Corporation began in 1915, when William Fox began the Fox Film Corporation, whose brand would also extend to the Fox West Coast Theaters Chain.
In 1935, Fox Film Corporation merged with a company called Twentieth Century Pictures, which became a part of News Corporation from 1984 to 2013. All of this is to say nothing of the historic Fox Broadcasting Television Network which began in 1985, with the buyout of what had been founded as the Metropolitan Broadcasting Corporation.
Today, the Fox brand is perhaps most well-known for being the top news channel on cable television year-after-year, built on a strategy of conducting thorough journalism that often bucks the industry’s self-serving trends in favor of the viewer.
Fox News’s success also tends to employ anchors and reporters that are more attractive than their colleagues at other networks like MSNBC, a tradition that began with Fox News founder Roger Ailes’ watching demo tapes with the sound off. Ailes’ would later be accused of being rather traditional in his approach to hiring women, perhaps a product of his visual tastes that helped propel the network to number one.
In any event, the Fox Logo lives on as a powerhouse icon in all aspects of American culture, from Hollywood to New York. The coasts tend to favor Fox’s edgy entertainment and Hollywood fantasies, while the heartland in between tends to favor Fox’s direct, seemingly unpretentious reporting style and folksy, down-home, attractive television personalities. You might say that they place a premium on poaching more traditional American-looking “Foxes” to headline their news lineup.
The entertainment part of the Fox Family is largely being acquired by Disney, resulting in a company called “New Fox” which will continue to carry the torch of the brand begun over a century ago by William Fox, though New Fox doesn’t necessarily like to talk about its humble beginnings.
In November 2009, in what would seem to be a routine interview, a composer named Peter Vadala challenged Peter Johnson live on the air as to the credibility of the Fox News slogan, “Fair and Balanced,” because of the unfair interview being conducted. Ever since then, Fox News has downplayed the slogan in favor of “We Report, You Decide.”
Today, Fox News continues to dominate the cable news game on the backs of its continuous criticism of the other news channels, as well as, of course, its team of on-air, traditional American-looking “foxes,” including stunning anchorettes and folksy-sounding anchors.
Fox Logo Design History
The Fox Logo has undergone many slight yet significant modifications over the years to adapt to a changing, constantly merging, constantly adapting company as described above in the history of the Fox Brand.
Fox Logo Prehistory, Part I: “William Fox Presents.”
The first Fox Logo wouldn’t see regular use until 1935. So, what would theatergoers see before their films before 1935, since the studio began in 1915? Well, it was quite plain compared to the searchlight-lit monolyth. The plain text simply read, “WILLIAM FOX PRESENTS.” And yet, the company was still not ready to adopt something a little more impressive looking quite yet.
Fox Logo Prehistory, Part II: Transitioning to the Fox Logo
By 1930, the producers at Fox weren’t quite sure what to do. After all, William Fox was no longer in control of the studio. Their solution? Instead of including the title “William Fox Presents” at the beginning of films, the title card was changed simply to, “Fox Film Corporation Presents.” This would, in a smooth kind of way, demonstrate that the former head honcho wasn’t still there, while maintaining the benefits of brand recognition of the founder’s name. Still, a major makeover was needed!
1933 Fox Logo: 20th Century Pictures
The “20th Century Fox” monolith surrounded by searchlights might be famous today, but in the first half of the 20th century, it was brand spanking new, and there was. But in order to find a symbol, an image that would truly fill audiences with anticipation, and get them psyched for what they were about to see, 20th Century Pictures turned to a man named Emil Kosa, Jr.
Emil Kosa was famous for his watercolors and other matte paintings. You might recall the broken Statue of Liberty in the classic Planet of the Apes, or perhaps you saw the special effects in Cleopatra. All of this was the work of Emil Kosa.
Notably, the logo in 1933 didn’t actually have the word “Fox” in it! That’s because Twentieth Century Pictures wouldn’t merge with Fox Studios until 1935.
1935: The Year the 20th Century Fox Logo Became the 20th Century Fox Logo
1935 was the year we first see the 20th Century Fox Logo really beginning to take shape as we know it today. This is the first iteration where we finally see “Fox” instead of “pictures, inc.” in the lower part of the logo. Finally, it reads, “20th Century Fox!” and the creation of a legendary logo is all but complete. And yet, the iconic logo still had a long way to go!
1953 Logo: A Wider Logo for a Wider Screen
The truth is that Hollywood has always struggled to create new gimmicks to grab the attention of its audience. The trend in 1953, which has endured in other forms, was to make the screen wider! This left the producers with a quandary regarding the Fox Logo. It looked so small in the middle of the screen, surrounded by so much blank space. The name of the gimmick was called Cinemascope, and it was wider than previous formats of film.
Their solution? They contracted an artist named Rocky Longo, working for Pacific Title. He made the “0” in 20 bigger so it would take up more of the screen and thus, the logo would look as grand as it had before the widening of the screen. The first film to see the newly designed logo was calledHow to Marry a Millionarie. We’re not sure whether the ladies in the audience learned from this film how to actually marry a millionaire. However, they certainly did witness one heck of a 20th Century Fox logo!
1981 Logo: Straightening The Zero
Those who went to see How To Marry a Millionaire and other films since the grand new “20th Century Fox” design from 1953 noted that the “0” in “20” was painfully tilted to the right. It was one of those problems that the execs whispered about, but they had made such an investment in the new logo nobody said anything about it for almost 30 years.
That was when one of the heads finally commissioned Logo to fix the slanted zero, and thus, everyone could sleep easy knowing that glaring tilted zero was finally straight!
1994: The Fox Logo Is Computer-Generated!
1994 was the year that we finally get to see the camera moving! Because it’s a movie, it makes sense that the logo should be as cinematic as the actual film, right? And so we’re finally set up for a CG experience worthy of the moving pictures it would introduce for decades of more satisfied audiences.
Watch the new “curtain raiser” carefully, and as the camera sweeps down upon the logo, you’ll find the L.A. Basin punctuated by the famous Hollywood sign. The animation also pays homage to Rupert Murdoch and Peter Chernin, their names on the signage of storefronts in the panorama.
Along with the new animation came a new caption, “A News Corporation Company.” This was likely an attempt to create synergy between their two audiences; that of the print product of Fox, and the audience of the entertainment-oriented products. With this new CG intro, Fox boldly declared, in effect, that the brilliant entertainment was a product of the same brains that bring America the likes of the Wall Street Journal and Fox News.
1997: The Fox Fanfare Redux
In 1997, the Fox Logo’s accompanying fanfare got a slight makeover by the son of the original composer. It combined the main theme of the trumpet and drums of the original with some new embellishments, but it was still more than recognizable as the glory of the old with the zing of the new.
2009-Today: Bigger And Better than Ever
The 20th Century Fox Logo got a big makeover, with thanks to Blue Sky Studios, which Fox also owns. Blue Sky Studios is a CG animation house which, by the way, just happened to produce Ice Age. We think it looks pretty amazing! It shores up and clarifies some of the finer details of the shadows, and the way the searchlights interact with the surroundings.
Various directors have included versions of the 20th Century Fox logo which are customized to the theme of their films. For instance, Tim Burton got the go-ahead to include a snowy setting reflecting the cold nature of the themes of the movies.
The Fox logo has gotten many a slight upgrade over the years resulting in minor improvements to both the monolith itself and the camera position. The score has gotten numerous touchups over the years, to be sure, as well. But one thing has remained the same from Fox’s beginnings from 1915 to the present: the name Fox. And though Fox took some time to find the best logo, we’re happy, as I’m sure you are, that it decided upon that iconic monolith with the searchlights which we’re sure it will keep for many more years to come.