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Blockbuster Identity

Contributed by Garrison Martin on May 13th, 2014. Artwork published in
October 1985
.
    Blockbuster Identity 1
    Blockbuster. License: All Rights Reserved.

    In 1985, David Cooke started Blockbuster Video in Dallas, Texas. Cooke worked with Dallas-based Rominger Advertising agency and Art Director Lee Dean to design an identity. Dean chose ITC Machine as Blockbuster’s typeface. In Blockbuster’s nearly 30 year existence, ITC Machine had never been taken out of the identity. It might go down as the most famous use of Carnase and Bonder’s beautifully simple typeface.

    An advertisement from The Pittsburg Press using ITC Machine with Helvetica as a supporting player.
    Source: http://news.google.com The Pittsburgh Press - Jun 16, 1988. License: All Rights Reserved.

    An advertisement from The Pittsburg Press using ITC Machine with Helvetica as a supporting player.

    Blockbuster Identity 3
    Source: http://www.ebay.com Blockbuster. License: All Rights Reserved.
    Blockbuster Identity 4
    Source: https://kmpunksays.files.wordpress.com License: All Rights Reserved.
    Blockbuster Identity 5
    Source: http://www.metro.us Blockbuster. License: All Rights Reserved.
    Blockbuster Identity 6
    Source: http://cdni.wired.co.uk License: All Rights Reserved.
    Blockbuster Identity 7
    Source: http://upload.wikimedia.org License: All Rights Reserved.
    Blockbuster Identity 8
    Source: http://morefunthanbeingsad.tumblr.com License: All Rights Reserved.
    Blockbuster Identity 9
    Source: http://www.reddit.com License: All Rights Reserved.

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    4 Comments on “Blockbuster Identity”

    1. May 13th, 2014  4:10 pm

      I wonder if the font choice was inspired by the Hollywood sign. Incidentally, their main competitor was Hollywood Video with similar lettering for their logo.

    2. Mine Creek says:
      May 13th, 2014  5:14 pm

      Stephen, I hadn’t thought about that. Looking back at video stores like Blockbuster, I realize that they were all looking to advertise a “Hollywood at home” experience.

      The Hollywood sign thing makes sense. Maybe Rominger wanted customers to subconsciously see the logo as a ticket to Hollywood. The torn ticket could be seen as either a movie theater ticket or bus ticket.

      Pretty good work for a little agency out of Dallas!

    3. Lee Dean says:
      May 14th, 2014  4:37 pm

      Hi Garrison,

      I just read the piece. Very nice. I am the designer of the logo, and the rest of the original corporate identity. I still have my original comps in a frame for the stationery. I have some better photography too if it helps.

      More history here:
      www.ldeanportfolio.com/#!bi…

      Sincerely,

      Lee Dean

    4. Lee Dean says:
      May 14th, 2014  4:53 pm

      The Hollywood sign actually had nothing to do with the font choice. Someone had mocked up a cheesy ticket for David Cooke, using the font Broadway. Very expected and frankly pretty trite, I thought. I chose ITC Machine because it fit better with the name. I originally wanted to use the bold weight, but the counters are too small and I was afraid they would fill in when printed at a small sizes. I changed the movie ticket to a torn ticket, because that is the point where you are legitimately ready to enter the theater and see a movie (back in the '80's). The first comp showed multiple colored tickets for the deliverables, but David wanted to attract investors first, so we toned it down to the blue and yellow that became the final. The bus ticket mentioned above has never crossed my mind. By the way, thanks for the compliment to the old Rominger agency and Dallas. We still do a lot of good work here.

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