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The History of and Story Behind the Jurassic Park Logo

Jurassic Park

For those who are unfamiliar, Jurassic Park started out as a book by Michael Crichton. Supposedly, he came up with the concept while thinking about why people would want to bring back dinosaurs. Since the process would be expensive, particularly since there is no real need to bring back dinosaurs, Crichton reasoned that it would be done for entertainment purposes. As a result, the titular theme park of Jurassic Park came into existence.

In any case, Crichton and Steven Spielberg were discussing the screenplay for what would become the medical drama ER when the latter learned about Crichton's upcoming book. This was followed by a bidding war for the movie rights between a number of well-known companies before the book was even released, with the result that Universal Pictures winded up securing them for Spielberg. Thanks to that, the movie version of Jurassic Park was made, which proved to be so successful that it has spawned the multiple books, the multiple movies, and the wide range of other merchandise that make up what is now the Jurassic Park franchise. As such, the Jurassic Park logo has become one of the most recognizable logos for a movie franchise that can be found out there. For the most part, it has managed to remain consistent over time. However, there have been some changes implemented without tossing out the core characteristics.

How Has the Jurassic Park Logo Changed Over Time?

The first version of the Jurassic Park logo would be the one on the book jacket. As the story goes, Crichton and his publisher Alfred A. Knopf agreed that they didn't want a flesh-and-blood dinosaur on the book jacket. However, they were dissatisfied by the various proposals that were brought before them, with the result that they eventually entrusted the design-work to a designer named Chip Kidd.

Kidd was the one who pushed for the use of a dinosaur skeleton. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he winded up using a Tyrannosaurus rex, which isn't just one of the most famous dinosaurs but one of the most famous prehistoric animals ever discovered. For proof, look no further than the fact that there is widespread recognition of the species's scientific name. Never mind its numerous appearances in not just the Jurassic Park franchise but also a wide range of other media. The fame of the Tyrannosaurus Rex is relevant because Kidd got the idea to use its skeleton upon seeing an illustration in the American Museum of Natural History's gift shop.

When work started on the movie version of Jurassic Park, the logo was very important. After all, it would see extensive use both on and off of the screen, meaning that the involved parties had to get it right for the best results. Once again, the creative team came up with numerous designs that failed to find a positive response. Until eventually, they came up with another design based on the skeleton of the Tyrannosaurus Rex featured on the book jacket. They had to get the rights to use it from Kidd, but that wasn't a huge hurdle because Kidd was quite enthused by the idea.

Due to this, the first version of the Jurassic Park logo consisted of a bar laid over a circle. The bar shows "Jurassic Park" in clear lettering that stands out very well from the red and black of the circle, which shows part of a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton posed over jungle scenery to stress its size. The whole thing was enclosed with a border of gold, thus serving to bind the various elements together into one. On the whole, the first Jurassic Park logo gave off a primeval and powerful feel, which made excellent sense considering its use both in and out of the movie.

Naturally, the second movie saw multiple changes to a second version of the Jurassic Park logo. Some of these changes were quite subtle, with an excellent example being how it no longer incorporated a perfect circle. This was necessary because the bar now had to show "The Lost World" with "Jurassic Park" now reduced to a much smaller subtitle beneath it. Having said that, the most notable change would be the sheer amount of weathering seen throughout the entire logo, thus creating the impression of it being made out of either stone or wood that had been neglected for a long period of time. Something that was meant to reflect the state of the titular theme park in the second movie.

The third Jurassic Park logo for the third movie can be considered the one that saw the most changes. Partly, this was because the bar and the circle were now rendered in a much more metallic color scheme rather than the classic combination of red, black, and yellow. However, what was even more notable was the animal now shown on the circle. For instance, Pteranodons were shown soaring over the jungle scenery, which can be explained by the fact that they had an important role in the movie. However, the center piece was much more fluid, seeing as how it saw not one, not two, but three separate versions. First, there was the skeleton of a Baryonyx, which is a therapod that has been proven to be a fish-eater but may or may not have also been an active predator of other animals in a semi-aquatic environment. Second, there was the skeleton of a Spinosaurus, which was another huge carnivorous dinosaur with neural spines that could have held up either a sail or a hump of some kind. Third, these selections proved to be controversial, which is why there have also been versions of the third Jurassic Park logo that featured the classic Tyrannosaurus Rex.


Moving on, the logos for the fourth and fifth movies have been a mix of inspirations from their predecessors. On the one hand, they have returned to the classic look of the Jurassic Park logo from the very first movie. On the other hand, they are now using a metallic look reminiscent of the third movie though with their own color schemes. Besides that, the bar now shows "Jurassic World" with the addition of "Fallen Kingdom" as a subtitle for the fifth version. Currently, the logo for the sixth movie is looking like a return to the first Jurassic Park logo while still retaining strong influences from its immediate predecessors, but time will tell whether this will remain true to the eventual release.

Allen Lee

Written by Allen Lee

Allen Lee is a Toronto-based freelance writer who studied business in school but has since turned to other pursuits. He spends more time than is perhaps wise with his eyes fixed on a screen either reading history books, keeping up with international news, or playing the latest releases on the Steam platform, which serve as the subject matter for much of his writing output. Currently, Lee is practicing the smidgen of Chinese that he picked up while visiting the Chinese mainland in hopes of someday being able to read certain historical texts in their original language.

Read more posts by Allen Lee

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