Paramount is one of the biggest studios in Hollywood. In existence for nearly one hundred years, it’s one of the oldest to stick around through years of tumult and closure. Now part of Viacom, it’s still the studio behind some of media’s biggest properties. One thing that has continually evolved throughout Paramount’s existence is its logo. In many ways, the history of the Paramount logo reflects the history of film. Taking a moment to look at the logo’s elements and evolution tell a store about how much things have changed in a century of film-making.
Paramount Logo Design Elements
When you think of Paramount, you probably think about the famous mountain logo. When the logo first appears on screen, you see a windswept, rocky crag. Soon after it is joined by a semi-circle of stars and eventually the name of the studio. It’s about as iconic as one can get when it comes to logos, standing out as relatively timeless in a world of studios that have gone to the well again and again in attempts to stay relevant. The old logo, it seems, is one that just needs to be updated – not changed entirely.
Oddly, the colors of the logo are very hard to define. They’re not definite – and in fact, they sometimes change from film to film. What you generally see, though, is a sunset. The only other color element is the logo, generally written in white. There’s no mistaking exactly what this logo is meant to be, with the purity of the color working nicely with the snow on the peak of the mountain.
Changes and Evolution
Oddly, the shape of the Paramount logo hasn’t changed over the years so much as it has evolved. From 1914 to 1952, you’ve got the same basic shape that features the top of a mountain. In 1952, thanks in large part to better film techniques and quality, you get a mountain that’s a bit twistier. From 1954 to 1967, the mountain gets bigger – and then shrinks again from 1968-1975. The only major change in shape comes in 1975, where the photo-realistic mountain is abandoned for a hand-drawn representation. It’s the only major shift, and one that would be changed back in 1987 as the studio started to try to recapture a bit of its history.
The color in the Paramount logo really follows the development of color in cinema. From 1914-1952, it’s a black and white logo – fitting for the time. In 1952, you get a bit more color – not as much, but you’d finally get something akin to the popular Technicolor in 1954. With the exception of the brief all-blue period in the seventies and eighties, the colors would continue to get more realistic and varied within the logo. It’s a history of color in action, one that a single company’s logo shows better than most other examples.
Again, the font for Paramount is really a lesson in font-types through history. The original font is very common for the 1920s onward, with a looping script. The phrase “A Paramount Picture” would be included through the font change in 1952, until it moved to “A Paramount Release” in 1954. From there, the font would stay the same even as the words changed. The company would first include “A Gulf + Western Company” in its logo, before eventually transitioning to the modern “A Viacom Company” in the modern CGI logo.
The Paramount logo is the last of an old breed. The original title card took influence from vaudeville shows and the theater, while later cards really took advantage of the technology of the time. It wasn’t the yawning lion of MGM that showed off sound, but rather the colorful mountain that showed off color. It’s certain a logo of a certain time, if not a specific place.
Few modern logos take beats from Paramount. Other film companies similarly use landscapes, but few to the iconic degree of Paramount. As one of the last original studios standing, it also stands alone in its logo.
- Paramount Picture Corp was founded in 1914
- Paramount distributed both versions of Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments
- Paramount’s logo is the longest-used logo in Hollywood history
- You can take a tour of Paramount Studios seven days a week.
- Paramount is one of the five oldest film studios in Hollywood
Paramount’s logo is a relic of a time gone by. By studying the logo, you can study the changes in both logo design and in Hollywood. It’s a fascinating look at marketing from a time gone by, one that shows the importance of tradition as well as adapting to new technologies.