We were honored to have this exclusive Perception Channel interview with Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige. Listen to his conversation with Perception co-founder Jeremy Lasky as he talks about his childhood, his first job, the science and technology within the films and the legacy of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
In January 2016 Perception was approached by Marvel Studios to help collaborate on an exceptionally special project—to redesign the logo and craft the opening animation for the next era of Marvel Studios that will precede all of their feature films for years to come.
The brief from Marvel to Perception was surprisingly open, with one specific request from Kevin Feige himself — to combine the brand and the iconic characters into a single image, showcasing the heroes within the letterforms of the MARVEL logo. Otherwise, we were asked to approach this as a new chapter in the ever expanding story of Marvel Studios, and the new logo and animation needed to make that statement. Perception would accomplish this by taking cues from the brand equity of the past, while showcasing the growth and expanse of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
As with previous collaborations with Marvel, Perception’s process begins by exploring numerous concepts. By experimenting with different conceptual and visual themes, Perception is able to not just propose solutions, but to begin a collaborative process with the entire team at Marvel. The team would come to agree on one concept that was unanimously the favorite, establishing the foundation for the logo development.
The familiar metaphor of stacked pages quickly expands into something much bigger, as we see a process through which classic tales are a seed awaiting tremendous growth and development. The powerful beam of creativity projects through comic books and museum glass, colliding with script pages and concept art. The dynamic cross-pollination breaks through these layers and sprouts into a rapidly growing universe. While these cosmos are ever-expanding, from a distance it always looks like one thing: MARVEL STUDIOS.
After a lengthy evaluation and decision-making process, Kevin Feige and the entire Marvel team asked Perception to develop the “How To Build a Universe” concept. Every Marvel film is the result of dedicated work from thousands of people from hundreds of disciplines in locations spanning the globe. The “How To Build a Universe” concept was designed to pay tribute to this process by touching on these key components:
1- Since the very first Spider-Man (2001), and long before Marvel Studios was it’s own entity, any Marvel-related film began with some form of the ‘flipping pages’ logo. The entire team at Perception was unanimous in wanting to pay tribute to this iconic animation, originally developed in 2001. As the new Marvel Studios logo animation begins, it is initially identical to the historic ‘flipping pages’ logo, both reflecting on and respecting the studios history.
The stories that give these comic book characters nuance and depth in film are the crucial component in any Marvel Studios film. In the logo animation, we see various lines lifted directly from the script pages of various Marvel screenplays. The team at Perception wanted to find quotes that were both iconic fan-favorites, as well as lines that helped establish the breadth of the Marvel Universe. Some eluded to the entire spirit of Marvel Studios (“ FURY: The idea was to bring together a group of of remarkable people to see if they could become something more.”), while others encapsulated the depth within the rich characters (NATASHA: “I’ve got some red in my ledger”).
Marvel Studio’s films are overflowing with incredible realizations of characters, locations, vehicles, weapons and technologies. What you see on film was visualized years in advance by Marvel Studios’ brilliant head of Visual Development Ryan Meinerding and a team of incredibly talented concept artists whose paintings define the visual goals for the entire production. Perception mined through a massive archive of concept art and “The Art Of…” books, to select the most iconic images for each beloved character. Utilizing the original digital paintings themselves, the Perception team animated each image being painted from scratch. The final touch was mapping this artwork onto 3D models (many left-overs from our Age of Ultron title sequence) to giving these once 2D paintings a sense of depth as the camera moves around them.
The link between concept and film is a key turning point in the logo animation, and Perception explored several different approaches, characters and techniques to show these concepts coming to life in film.
Marvel Studio’s catalogue of films are loaded with iconic moments and vivid characters, and Perception wanted to create an environment that would surround viewers with everything we love about each of the Marvel Studio films. In the process, Perception reviewed hundreds of selects made from each of Marvel’s films (13 at the time the logo was conceived), carefully choreographing timing and composition of footage showcasing numerous characters.
Altogether, there are over 70 pieces of footage that can be seen in the final logo. Editing, color balancing and getting clearances on each and every one was no small feat. The Perception team also explored numerous ways of arranging the footage within the form of the overall logo, ultimately leading to the “vault” where luminescent footage plays on the interior walls of the “MARVEL” logotype.
An equally important responsibility and huge honor Perception was given, was to redesign and rebrand the logo of Marvel Studios itself. This is the brand identifier that is to be used across all Marvel Studios materials—hats, shirts, stationary, film posters, and all corporate materials across the universe. Since Marvel Studios has evolved into its own powerhouse entity, one of the main tasks was to give the word “studios” its own special treatment and power, while also keeping the balance with the word Marvel. Below is a small sampling of the many iterations the re-design of the logo went through.
On July 23, 2016 in front of a standing room only crowd in Hall H at Comic Con, the logo was finally unveiled by Kevin Feige to the world. Combined with music composed by Michael Giacchino, the result pays tribute to the history of Marvel Studios, showcasing the incredible effort that goes into each and every film every step of the way. The Marvel spirit drawn from comics, scripts, concept art and beyond is what makes Marvel Studios the force it is today. The new logo animation’s first appearance was on the Doctor Strange trailer at San Diego Comic Con, and it is slated to be seen at the open of every MCU films for years to come.
Perception is humbled and honored to have been the team selected to bring this journey to life along side of Kevin Feige, Victoria Alonso, Louis D’esposito, Jeremy Latcham, Danielle Costa and many other brilliant people at Marvel!
Perception's design is dually focused on both feature film technology visualization & next generation user experience for the world's most innovative companies. We function as strategic design advisors, visionary ideation consultants and architects of the future.