Jurassic Park Logo Origin & History Explained
The red and yellow Jurassic Park emblem is one of the most iconic logos in movie history. The logo was based on the design featured on Michael Crichton's 1990 novel that inspired the movie. Here's the origin story behind that Jurassic Park logo.
The movie adaptation of Jurassic Park from director Steven Spielberg was released in 1993 and went on to become the highest-grossing film of all-time (until Titanic released four years later). The film's popularity was responsible for spawning two sequels and a revitalized Jurassic World trilogy, making it one of the most successful franchises in history. But before all that, there was the striking poster.
Per TIFF, before Crichton's Jurassic Park novel hit bookshelves, publisher Alfred A. Knopf had the difficult task of developing a proper book jacket. Crichton and Knopf agreed that they didn't want a flesh-and-blood dinosaur on the cover. After many failed designs, Knopf hired designer Chip Kidd to create the book jacket. Kidd turned his sights to a dinosaur skeleton, something the rest of the team was skeptical about. He got his inspiration from a Tyrannosaurus Rex illustration in the American Museum of Natural History gift shop. From there, the image for the Jurassic Park cover was born.
The film rights for Jurassic Park were being discussed before the novel was even published. Crichton chose Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment to adapt his book. During the early stages of development, Spielberg had a clear vision of the film's marketing. He didn't want any real dinosaurs used on logos or promotional material. Additionally, Jurassic Park would be featuring a lot of on-screen branding so he needed a logo that could be used throughout the movie and on real-world merchandise.
Universal Pictures Marketing Executive Tom Martin put together a team to come up with the official park logo. Over 100 designs were created but not one of the options felt like the right fit. The art team then created an image inspired by Kidd's skeleton image. A small jungle scene was added to the bottom to showcase the size of the T. Rex. While they needed to acquire the rights from Kidd, that proved a non-issue as the illustrator was appreciative that they wanted to use his work.
Martin and designer John Alvin were working on the Jurassic Park movie poster when the logo was still being designed. Alvin came up with a number of designs including dinosaur footprints, fossils, and a close up of a dinosaur's eye. Spielberg then decided that the Kidd-inspired logo design would be featured on the poster as the sole image. The only element that was added was the tagline: "An Adventure 65 Million Years In The Making.”
Jurrasic Park's initial book cover design remained the inspiration behind the logos used for the sequels in the franchise. Each movie would make changes to the emblem (such as replacing the T. Rex with a Spinosaurus for the third movie) but it retained a similar aesthetic. Jurassic World brought back the T. Rex design but used a different color scheme with a silver design on a blue background. Jurassic World 3 is expected to follow in line with an iteration of the iconic logo.