By Matthew Grice, Guest Writer
The main reason why James Bond has survived for 54 years is because the character and films have naturally evolved with time.
For example, if Daniel Craig had played Bond exactly how Roger Moore played him in today’s world, then I think it’s safe to say that the films would be a complete flop and just be another Austin Powers, if not worse.
The villain’s evil scheme or threat is usually based on whatever actual threat the world is facing at the present time, which is why, and how, we can relate to it.
But it’s not just the reincarnations of James Bond, nor the fact that the stories and villains have evolved over the past five decades, that has helped with the success.
How Bond is marketed, also has a great effect on things. As much as I adore the artwork of Mitchell Hook, Robert McGuiness, Frank McCarthy, Bob Peak, Dan Goozee and Brian Bysouth, who have all contributed to the movie posters of the Bond films, I just don’t think their style would, sadly, be welcomed in the same way as they were in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s.
This is why the famous 007 logo has come a long way, since it was first introduced in 1962.
The idea of Bond’s prefix number to feature a gun came from the mind of Joseph Caroff of United Artists. It is completely different to what we see in today’s logo, but can be seen on a few UK teaser posters for Dr. No.
The very same design returned in 1963 and can be seen on the UK poster for From Russia With Love, but this time with the addition of two bullets which represented two films.
This particular logo was also used on the Pan Paperback books that featured the beautiful and stunning artwork of Sam Peffer. Interestingly, it was even used on the 1962 issue of Casino Royale, even though the rights for the film weren’t as yet, acquired by Eon.
However, the US poster for Dr. No featured an all new 007 logo, which is the one that we all know, and love today. This logo was designed by David Chasman of United Artists, who, with a stroke of genius simply added the barrel of the gun plus the trigger to the very end of 007.
This particular style of the logo can be seen on the US posters for From Russia With Love and Goldfinger.
For some reason the UK poster for Goldfinger, just had 007 written on it without the gun.
For 1965’s Thunderball, it was decided to give the 007 logo a slight twist. For both the UK and US posters, which were the first to feature the fabulous artwork of both Frank McCarthy and Robert McGuiness, the gun motif was dropped. Even though the typeface was similar it had altered ever so slightly and the 7 was cleverly morphed into the ‘K” which of course was then part of the film’s tag line ‘LOOK UP! LOOK DOWN! LOOK OUT!…. HERE COMES THE BIGGEST BOND OF ALL!
Apart from David Chasman’s logo not appearing in its full entirety on the posters, it was seen on the artwork for the soundtrack album and other bits of merchandise that was released to coincide with film, in full.
1967 saw the biggest and most flamboyant Bond movie yet. Based loosely on Fleming’s 11th Bond novel and borrowing the title, location and the odd character, You Only Live Twice became the first Bond film not be completely faithful to the novel. Fleming certainly didn’t write about a “space shuttle gobbling spacecraft,” emerging from an extinct volcano. In all honesty I don’t think it mattered how true to the book it was, as by now the whole world either wanted more of James Bond, or simply wanted to be like him.
After the huge success of Thunderball, it seemed that the entire world was taking an interest in Fleming’s creation and Bondmania began in earnest.
James Bond no longer needed much of an introduction, which is one of the reasons why the UK and US posters, featuring the artwork of Robert McGinnis and Frank McCarthy, no longer used the ‘007’ logo. Instead, the emphasis was on the fact that Sean Connery was James Bond and “twice was the only way to live.”
However, the 007 logo was used on a Yugoslavian poster and whilst it was based on Chasman’s original design, the typeface used, made the gun motif appear somewhat unusual.
Thankfully though the ‘007’ logo we are familiar with did appear on Corgi’s die cast model of the Toyota 2000 GT and on the 2nd issue of the DB5.
Sean Connery being James Bond certainly didn’t last. December 1969 saw the release of what is now considered to be the ultimate Bond film, which of course is, ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’. With a new actor in the role of Bond, a new look for Chasman’s ‘007’ logo had to follow.
The typeface is similar but slightly smaller making it look a little stumpy. The most noticeable difference however, is with the gun itself. The sight of the gun is now larger and clearly stepped and the trigger isn’t as rounded. This particular style of trigger was to be used throughout the Roger Moore period.
The exact same style of the logo was used for ‘Diamonds Are Forever’ however, the trigger that is seen on the UK poster resembles more of a white comma.
1973 was a huge turning point for the Bond series. Certain critics even claimed that this was the end of Bond. Sean Connery announced that he would not be playing Bond again and so Roger Moore stepped into the role and gave us a classic Bond film that was inspired by Blaxploitation. Live And Let Die seemed to have been the ideal choice for Moore’s first outing as Bond.
Robert McGinnis returned to do the artwork for the film’s poster and made Moore’s Bond a tribute to an iconic stance that Connery had done for a publicity shot for From Russia With Love.
Apart from having another fantastic piece of artwork we are again introduced to a new look and style of 007 logo. This can be considered as being as genius and innovative, as when Chasman originally produced the 007 logo back in 1962.
This time the logo is written in the same typeface as the title, which seemed to be the standard procedure for all of the “Moore” Bond films. Instead of reading the logo horizontally it can now be read vertically whilst integrated into Roger Moore’s name – the same concept as a crossword puzzle.
This particular layout of the logo was not to be seen again until 2006 and 2008.
Interestingly the 007 logo that was used for the first three Bond films can be seen on the Japanese poster of ‘Live And Let Die’, whilst some of the merchandise that was released for the film featured the logo that we first saw in 1969.
For both The Man With The Golden Gun and The Spy Who Loved Me, the typeface used was Folio XBd BT and this was also used to spell 007. The gun motif is again slightly different, in the sense that the sight isn’t stepped, nor as big.
The typeface that had been used for the 007 logo on the Live And Let Die posters was once again used for some of the posters to promote The Man With Golden Gun. However, this time reading horizontally.
A similar typeface to that which was used for the 007 logo on the ‘Live And Let Die’ poster was used on the Japanese posters for The Spy Who Loved Me, and the rest of the Moore films that followed. It was also used on some of the Japanese products and merchandise as well.
Not quite the same, but the concept is similar to that which Corgi had used on the packaging for the Lotus Esprit, Stromberg’s Helicopter, Corgi Juniors, gift sets, Moonraker shuttle, Drax ‘s helicopter and finally the Citroen 2 CV from For Your Eyes Only. Wembley had also used the logo for their toy Yoyo saw, that was released to coincide with Octopussy.
Corgi however, had taken it a step further and used a different typeface, decorating the first zero with the Union Jack and the second zero, which was red, featured the hammer and sickle in the top left hand corner to represent the Soviet Union. Interestingly this logo was soon removed and the packaging that features this is believed to be quite scarce making it worth more to collectors – lucky me.
By 1979 Roger Moore was well and truly established in the role of Bond although by his fourth film he was teasingly suggesting that it could be his last. Influenced by the huge success of Star Wars, Moonraker was the next film and like You Only Live Twice, one can only begin to wonder at how great the film could have been if it was faithful to the actual novel.
The artwork for the poster was by Dan Goozee, whilst the typeface used for the credits and to spell 007 was Swiss 721 Cn BT. However the gun motif is now the same as that used on the US poster for Live And Let Die, with the sight being stepped.
For the classic Bond thriller ‘For Your Eyes Only’, the same typeface and gun motif that had been used on both The Man With Golden Gun and The Spy Who Loved Me was used for the UK poster, whereas the US posters featured an alternative design (their usual logo and the one that I have always preferred) using a different typeface which is known as Thames. This was used to spell 007 whilst using the same gun motif that had first appeared on The Man With Golden Gun.
It’s also interesting to note that when Roger Moore first took over the role of Bond, it was also the time that Maurice Binder started to include 007 within the titles. However, not only is ‘For Your Eyes Only’ the first film to feature the theme artist throughout the title, but also the first to actually use the gun motif.
For ‘Octopussy’, Dan Goozee had returned with some wonderful artwork that adorned the posters whilst the typeface is very similar to that used for ‘For Your Eyes Only’ and also using the same gun motif that we had first seen in The Man With Golden Gun.
It was around this time when the 007 logo had another slight alteration. The typeface was the same as that which had been used in the 1960s however the letters appeared to be of a different size therefore making it taller. The barrel of the gun motif is the same as had been used for Live And Let Die and Moonraker with the stepped sight, but the trigger appears to be a little bigger than we had seen previously.
For some reason this version of the logo was never seen on the film posters for either Octopussy nor A View To a Kill, but was seen on a few items of merchandise that was released around 1984. Also this variant of the logo can now be seen on the new 007 soundstage after the original was burnt down. However the original soundstage, built in 1977 to house the production for The Spy Who Loved Me featured the 1973 007 logo.
By keeping to the tradition of using the same typeface for the credits and titles, as well as spelling 007, the gun motif for A View To A Kill was no exception either, being the same as had been used for The Man With The Golden Gun and adorning the artwork of Dan Goozee.
The year is now 1987 and Roger Moore had finally hung up his Walther PPK, leaving Timothy Dalton to collect it and become the fourth actor to play Fleming’s creation.
A new Bond meant it was time for yet another version of the ‘007’ logo.
This variation is very similar to in appearance to that which had been used in 1984 after the release of Octopussy. The two zero’s became more italic whilst the “7” didn’t have such curve on it. However, the top of the gun is now completely straight, whilst the sight has been reduced to just a bump, with the trigger being more square.
Unlike the Moore era, this version seemed to now be the generic design and appeared on the posters of both the Dalton films and was used throughout the ’90s for products and merchandise that were released during the six year hiatus between films. Corgi also used this very logo right up until 2001 for their packaging.
Also it’s interesting to note that this particular logo was used during the early promotional campaign for Goldeneye, when Brosnan was announced as Bond. It also appeared on the posters for both Goldeneye and Tomorrow Never Dies alongside another fresh logo, the one that we have today.
The logo now seems a lot cleaner, crisp and somewhat more sophisticated. The gun motif now has no sight whatsoever and the trigger is nothing but a J…a J for James perhaps?
However in 2002 during the marketing campaign for Brosnan’s fourth and final film Die Another Day the “7” became a littler broader.
In 2006, Daniel Craig was introduced as the new actor to play Bond in the official adaption of Fleming’s first Bond novel Casino Royale.
Did we get another new version of the logo?….Not quite, if anything ‘moore’ of a nod to Mr. Moore himself.
First seen during the marketing campaign for Live And Let Die, the two zero’s are placed on top of one another within the title of Casino Royale, and written in the same the typeface, Century Gothic with the “7” below using the same gun motif as had been used from 2002.
This very style was again used for Craig’s second Bond outing Quantum Of Solace.
However, for Craig’s third and fourth Bond films, the 007 logo is back to ‘normal’ placed underneath the title of the films.
So will we get another new logo for Bond 25 or when the seventh 007 actor is announced? I personally hope we do as I think the logo that we now have is looking somewhat tired, but then again its been around for 21 years.
But what more can you to do the logo? Well whatever it is, it must pay tribute to the man who designed it… David Chasman.
‘James Bond – 50 years of Movie Posters’ ISBN: 978-1-4053-5680-0
‘James Bond – 50 years of Movie Posters’ ISBN: 978-1-4053-5680-0
James Bond Wikia