The History of the Jurassic Park Logo

Jurassic Park’s logo goes back to 1990 with the book cover design of Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park. The brief was given to designer Chip Kidd, and in his TED talk he takes us through the process of how he created the T-Rex icon:

“Now luckily for me, I live and work in New York City where there are plenty of dinosaurs. So, I went to the Museum of Natural History and I checked out the bones, and I went to the gift shop, and I bought a book. And I was particularly taken with this page of the book, and more specifically the lower right-hand corner. Now I took this diagram, and I put it in a Photostat machine, and I took a piece of tracing paper and I taped it over the Photostat with a piece of Scotch tape and I just started to reconstitute the dinosaur. I had no idea what I was doing, but at some point, I stopped – when to keep going would seem like I was going too far. And what I ended up with was a graphic representation of us seeing this animal coming into being.”

Skeleton

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Chip Kidd with the original T-Rex artwork

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Jurassic Park book cover 1990

The T-Rex was applied to the cover design for the Jurassic Park book and the design was sent to Michael Crichton for his approval. It is safe to say that Crichton’s feedback was very positive!

MichaelCrichtonFax

In Kidd’s TED talk, he mentions that “Somebody from MCA Universal calls our legal department to see if they can maybe look into buying the rights to the image, just in case they might want to use it. Well, they used it. And I was thrilled!”

But before they decided to use Kidd’s T-Rex they worked on several logo designs. The images shown below are some initial designs, the top row by Terry Lamb and the second row by William Stout.

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WilliamStout_JurassicPark

After many logo designs and poster designs, it was decided that they would use Kidd’s original design. Sandy Collora designed the final logo for the film which was also used for the park itself, even though Crichton briefly describes the logo as having a blue dinosaur in the first book.

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Jurassic Park Logo 1993

Kidd was also asked to design Crichton’s The Lost World, Kidd felt that the T-Rex had become so well known and recognisable that he used it again on the Lost World book cover design. Kidd states that “Ultimately, I think it’s safe to say that the Jurassic Park T-Rex became one of the most recognizable logos of the 1990s…[For the sequel], the solution was to take the original art and use it in a different way. There was no need to redraw anything.”

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Chip Kidd’s book cover design for The Lost World, 1995.

Except for a short diversion with the logo for Jurassic Park 3, Kidd’s T-Rex has remained with the series throughout its lifetime, even returning with the latest title Jurassic World.

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Jurassic World Logo 2015

On a recent Ask Me Anything on Reddit, Kidd was asked about his involvement with Jurassic World; “I’ve had no involvement in JW, other than that my essential contribution to the logo appears to remain intact. It just looks etched out of metal now, which is cool.”

Image Sources:

Skeleton diagram

Chip Kidd with dinosaur

Jurassic Park book cover

Michael Crichton fax

Terry Lamb sketches

William Stout sketches

Jurassic Park Logo

Jurassic Park The Lost World book cover

Jurassic World Logo