Shameless hucksterism, bandwagon jumping and general link-baiting aside, the logos from The Hunger Games (final episode opening this weekend) are pretty decent bits of graphic design.
Never been a huge fan of The Hunger Games franchise myself, though both my wife and daughter both are (my daugher’s iPhone and alarm clock are even set to the four note melody from the movie) so I take the announcement of a new episode with a slight feeling of dread. I know exactly where I’ll be on opening night – huddled in some darkened theater with my loved ones (and a lot of teenage girls,) waiting ever-so-patiently for the final credits to roll (both the novels and the movies have received praise from critics, so I’m on my cynical lonesome here.) I’ve even ignored the logos of the movies because I never viewed them as logos per se, more like movie poster art, so I believe this is the first time I’ve written anything about either the books or the flicks themselves. Anyhoo, with the opening of Mockingjay Part 2 this weekend (which is either part 4, or part 2 of part 3, depending on how you look at it) figured this was as good as time as any to give in to the hype, write a So You Think You Know Logos Hunger Games edition about the series. Turns out there’s a lot to cover, because logos have been an integral part of the franchise since day one (and mostly because I’m not above some bandwagon jumping and link-baiting myself.) Always believing in giving credit where credit is due, most of the research that went into this post was done by Amy, my daughter, because this isn’t my thing and it’s very much hers.
Take it away..
The logos from the books covers.
The movie logos from the movies are fairly faithful representations of the artwork found on the covers of the best-selling book trilogy by Suzanne Collins, albeit done up in flame and 3D goodness for movie posters, trailers and opening sequences (owing more to a phoenix than anything else.)
The logos (and cover art) have changed slightly on different editions, but the designs – based on pins (or tokens) Hunger Games participants are allowed to wear in the games – have remained fairly faithful since the first book was published in 2008. FWIW, before the first movie installment of The Hunger Games was even released, there were a reported 26 million Hunger Games trilogies in print (and to call this a “huge sensation” would be a huge understatement.) Anyhoo, back to the logos..
Who designed The Hunger Games logo?
Credit for the original logo goes out to illustrator Tim O’Brien (website) Adjunct Professor in Undergraduate Communications Design at the Pratt Institute, who designed the bird emblem in collaboration with his wife, Elizabeth Parist – creative director for Hunger Games publishers Scholastic – when she was tasked with designing the original cover. O’Brien’s work has graced the likes of Time, Newsweek, and Der Spiegel as well as postage stamps for the US Postal Service (O’Brien’s also famous for his portrait of then-candidate Barack Obama when it was published on the cover of Rolling Stone during the 2008 campaign, marking the first time Obama would be on the front page of the magazine.) Here’s a look at the original approved sketch, the logo and the “token” pin as it appeared in the movie:The bird in the logo is a “mockingjay” – a hybrid between jabberjays and mockingbirds – and are a symbol of rebellion in the series. There are three variations of the symbol, used on the cover of subsequent novel sequels and the movies themselves, and the symbolism in each is obvious – warrior, in a target scope and breaking free: Must admit, and all cynicism and bandwagon jumping aside, what got me interested in this piece was not the main logo, but logos that are scattered about in the background, the logos, icons and emblems that represent the various districts in the dystopian world that is the post-apocalyptic nation of Panem. Those are fascinating.
The Hunger Games district logos
Yeah, I know it’s technically not a “district” but the first one I noticed is this rather Naziesque symbol for The Capitol (where the baddies hang out.) That is a beautiful bit of work. Here’s what the logo looks like stripped to a linear version: The rest of the district “logos” are a classic lesson in visual metaphors and symbology. I’ve had projects like this myself, and I can tell you one thing – the first few symbols are easy, but the last ones (usually left because they’re not instantly obvious) are always a teeth-grindingly frustrating endeavor, especially when they all have to mimic the same graphic style. There’s always one that doesn’t quite fit into the set.
Districts 1 (Luxury,) 2 (Masonry,) 3 (Technology.)Districts 4 (Fishing,) 2 (Power,) 3 (Transportation.)Districts 7 (Lumber,) 8 (Textiles,) 9 (Grain.)Districts 10 (Livestock,) 11 (Agriculture,) 12 (Mining.)District 13 (Graphite & Nuclear Power,) & District 13 from Mockingjay.
There’s some confusion about District 13 as there seems to be a few symbols floating around (though most are fan mash-ups) so I used the one used by the Lionsgate marketing people as a lead into their Facebook page. No doubt fans will correct me if I got it wrong. And in closing, may the odds be ever in your favor.