EXCLUSIVE: BOOM! Debuts New Logo & Branding

BOOM! Studios is known for any number of things in the comic book world -- a strong line of all-ages comics, multiple fan favorite licensed books, a robust number of original & creator-owned properties and growing Hollywood projects amongst them. But what readers may think of first when they think of the Los Angeles-based publisher is the distinctive all caps, exclamation point driven name and the explosive logo that's accompanied it for years.

However, starting this summer, that element of the company will get a facelift.

Teased to retailers at the just concluded ComicsPRO summit in Georgia and preparing for its debut with fans at this weekend's Emerald City Comic Con, BOOM! will have a brand-new logo to grace its covers moving forward. Designed with At Play Creative, Inc., the new look will carry some familiar ideas while also working to open up new talk around the company's latest branding initiative "We Are BOOM!"

"The impetus was an ongoing discussion BOOM! Founder Ross Richie, myself, Editor-in-Chief Matt Gagnon, and Managing Editor Bryce Carlson were having when I arrived at BOOM! about defining what separates BOOM! from other publishers in the comic book space," BOOM! VP of Publishing and Marketing Filip Sablik explained while showing off an exclusive first look at the logo to CBR. "It also lined up with my own journey with BOOM! I've known Ross since he founded the company in 2005 and I thought I knew who BOOM! was as a publisher and their place in the industry. I was pleasantly surprised to find out I was wrong and realized that my perception of the company was dated to an earlier, smaller iteration of BOOM! It occurred to me that if my perception was wrong, perhaps retailers and fans were also associating BOOM! as a smaller, scrappier independent startup as opposed to an established top ten publisher going into its eighth year of publishing.

"Drilling down and really rediscovering the heart of the company birthed our 2013 market campaign -- We Are BOOM!. Redesigning the logo struck us as the natural and strongest way to communicate the evolution of BOOM! to our retail partners, creators and fans. Just like the logo is a natural evolution and maturation of what BOOM! has been doing for the last seven years, our publishing plan for 2013 is a natural evolution of what we've been building since the company was founded. More prominent creators, bigger licenses, and more efforts to expand the marketplace...yup, we're doing all of that, but this is about taking the conversation we've been having internally at the company and making it external. It's letting everyone know, "Hey! Here's what our philosophy is, here are our core beliefs, this is why we get up every morning ready to conquer the world. And if you believe the same things, come join us and help us build something amazing."

At Play CCO Gary M. Smith spoke to the design ideas behind the new logo, telling CBR, "What is more timeless than the logo on the cover of a comic book?  It's the kind of project that every creative agency dreams of.  So when the folks at Boom! Studios asked us to help them create a new identity, we thought, "How could this get any better?"  Well, the real time collaboration with Founder and CEO, Ross Richie made the project. Working with Ross was a wonderfully inspirational experience.  The result is a new logo that is simple yet smart.  Clean and conceptual.  It leverages nuances from the old logo, while introducing new elements to support the relaunch of the brand. It's work that we are proud of."

Sablik noted that the discussions around what they wanted the new logo to be revolved around what they want the company to be moving forward. "The goal with the new logo was to evolve what we had," he said. "We loved our old logo, it's iconic, dynamic and really evokes the excitement everyone at the company has for creating innovative comic entertainment. But there were some things that didn't work as well with our original logo -- it didn't reduce well, "Studios" didn't feel incorporated enough, and at times it felt a bit too literal. The new logo is exactly what we were looking for -- sleek, modern, and streamlined. We wanted a logo that looks equally powerful reduced down on the spine of a trade paperback and blown up on a 40' screen. We wanted to really brand the exclamation point in the logo, it's one of the more unique elements of the company name. We wanted 'Studios' to be incorporated and feel like part of the overall logo. The #1 effect was we wanted to communicate that BOOM! Studios is an exciting, modern, forward-thinking comic book company. My personal favorite elements is the negative space AtPlay Creative created between the different elements, which subtly echo the negative space between comic panels and gutters. Once you see it, you can't unsee it!

"The #1 intent with the the new slogan and marketing campaign was to communicate our core beliefs -- the 'Why' of BOOM!" Sablik added. "I'll break it down for you: the 'we' in 'We Are BOOM!' reflects our belief in doing everything cooperatively -- we are equal partners with our creators, our internal corporate cultural is one where everyone has a voice, we work incredibly closely with our licensors, and possibly most importantly we believe we produce comics for everyone. There are no BOOM! fans in the way Marvel, DC or Valiant have fans of a shared universe...potentially everyone is a fan of at least one BOOM! title. There's an inclusiveness that we have that we believe sets us apart from anyone else. 'Come Innovate With Us' is our invitation to retailers, fans, creators, and other partners to work with us to continue pushing the industry forward and expanding it. We want a comic industry that is diverse and mainstream in the best sense of the word -- a place that's a home for the hardcore Wednesday comic shoppers that most of us on-staff are, as well as casual new readers, readers still in elementary school, webcomics fans, and people that don't even know they like comic books yet!"

That idea of innovation will extend to BOOM!'s plans for 2013 and beyond as they try to launch a number of new projects from the likes of Paul Jenkins, Mike Carey and Brian Stelfreeze, but Sablik wanted to let those projects speak for themselves upon release just as he feels BOOM!'s past efforts have marked it out as a forward-thinking publisher. "It's easy to make big promises and we prefer to point what we've done. Ultimately, everyone will have to decide if that fits into their definition of "innovation," but for us it certainly does. When Ross started the company it was at the insistence of his pal Keith Giffen who wanted Ross to create a place where Keith could generate material that he owned as a creator. Ross tells the story best himself at panels, but suffice it to say he was shocked that Keith, a franchise-making veteran, needed a home for his work. And that instilled in us a belief in classic voices. BOOM! innovated by publishing new work by Keith and other classic creators like Steven Grant. A short while later, Giffen was driving the cosmic superhero line at Marvel and anchoring DC's "52." Grant has a film coming out with BOOM! this August called '2 Guns' starring Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg.

"Not only do we believe in classic creator voices, we also believe that if you're going to do a licensed comic book it needs to be done the right way -- pouring blood, sweat and tears into making the best licensed comic we can, rather than making a quick cash grab on the strength of the underlying property. As a result, our licensed titles have received Eisner nominations and Harvey wins. We also believe in building the next generation of readers and the results of BOOM! investing in all-ages publishing back in 2009 can really be felt in 2013 with not only BOOM! succeeding, but an entire space for all-ages comics in the direct market being realized. And we also believe in launching original stories that can't exist anywhere else in the marketplace with a wide variety of genres from fantasy to sci-fi to deconstructed superheroes to horror and countless others, delivered on-time with a highly developed sense of story and a strong, clear artistic vision. In 2013, you'll see us take that to the next level in some big ways."

Overall, Sablik said that the entire company wants to leave an impact on comics...one not unlike a smoking crater. "As Ross is found of telling the staff whenever we tackle a new challenge, 'The name of the company ain't "Whimper."' He started the company out of a spare bedroom in his apartment in 2005 with one single comic book and methodically and deliberately built it out from there, year after year, title by title, to the point now that we're shipping 20 series a month -- we've never aspired to be a boutique outfit, we're in it for the long haul. For all of us, we get up everyday believing that the best comic books are yet to come. We roll into the office looking for the next hill to climb, committed to the next opportunity to innovate."

For more on BOOM!'s "We Are BOOM!" initiative, stay tuned for CBR's coverage of Emerald City Comic Con all weekend.

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