Lillian, Walt, Ruth, Roy, and Edna Disney pictured above outside the Disney Bros. Studio in Los Angeles, California.
With the signing of the Alice Comedies contract in 1923, Walt Disney and his brother, Roy, established the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio. And ever since “Disney Bros. Studio” was first painted on Walt and Roy’s first production facility in Los Angeles, Disney’s trademark logo has evolved over the years to become one of the most internationally recognized brands.
Join us for a look back at how the Disney logo has changed since two brothers founded an animation studio and started what would become a household name in many languages.
Though we may not know the exact dates of when some of these logo designs were created, the eras they speak to are easily identifiable. As an example, “Disney Bros. Studio” was founded in 1923, but it is possible that this letterhead was actually introduced later, possibly in 1924. The simple lettering helps highlight the humble beginnings of one of Hollywood’s greatest success stories.
As Disney Bros. Studio grew and moved to the Hyperion Studios, a certain trademark character arrived and was added to the company’s insignia. Mickey Mouse has stayed connected with the company logo ever since.
In the years that followed, Walt’s success led him to incorporate the company, which he did on December 16, 1929, giving it the new name Walt Disney Productions. Four companies were incorporated, replacing the Disney brothers’ partnership: Walt Disney Productions, Ltd.; Walt Disney Enterprises; Liled Realty & Investment Company, Ltd.; and Disney Film Recording Company, Ltd.
The name Walt Disney Productions saw several logo and stationery letterhead treatments over the years, one of which (pictured above) showcased a variation of what would eventually become the iconic Disney typeface and graphic treatment of Walt’s scrawl. The popular company name remained a mainstay for more than 50 years. Then, in 1986, the Disney enterprise was once again renamed, this time branding itself as The Walt Disney Company.
Referred to internally at Disney as the “tah dah” Mickey, the character was updated to match the more modernized company logo of that time.
More recently in 2009, The Walt Disney Company logo was changed again, but still includes Mickey Mouse. An initial release of the new look showed Mickey Mouse walking, as above, but with his tail a bit higher so that it was covered by his hand. Realizing that this looked like Mickey was holding his tail, the logo was quickly switched out.
As Disney continues to evolve and change, we’re pleased to say that “Mickey” and “Walt Disney” continue to be the most recognized elements of what makes Disney… Disney.