Pixar. New movie, different logo. Sometimes. Pixar. It just sounds like it’s meant to. Futuristic, professional, in a world of its own. And indeed, it is all of these things. After all, it released the world’s first ever computer generated (CGI) film, Toy Story. Once…
Pixar. New movie, different logo. Sometimes.
Pixar. It just sounds like it’s meant to. Futuristic, professional, in a world of its own. And indeed, it is all of these things. After all, it released the world’s first ever computer generated (CGI) film, Toy Story. Once a large, ordinary looking building, just across the Bay Bridge from San Francisco, in the tiny city of Emeryville in California – Pixar HQ now boasts an impressive glass-panelled façade and even a glitzier hi-specced interior to match. It’s light years ahead of what it once was.
And just as Pixar’s HQ moves with the times, so does its logo. From 1995 the Pixar logo was affectionately referred to as ‘the lamp logo’. More about that in a bit. Pixar actually dates back to 1979, “when George Lucas recruited Ed Catmull from the New York Institute of Technology to head Lucasfilm’s Computer Division. Seven years later, in 1986, Steve Jobs bought the Computer Division from George Lucas, establishing the 40-person team as an independent company, Pixar.”
Pixar never started out as a Full-Movie Animation Studio, and the world’s largest at that. Yet they did eventually release the world’s first fully computer-animated movie in 1995; you guessed it, Toy Story. There were big doubts in producing the film – and very expensive ones if it all went wrong.
Initially, Pixar and Disney were partners and Disney helped out with a $26 million grant for three computer-animated, feature-length movies. The problem was that the filmmakers had yet to pull off one. Yet they did. And with it they pioneered the use of 3D animation, which had never before been attempted. Some would argue it was the best movie the genre ever created. Whether it is or not, ‘movies’ would never be the same again.
But Toy Story wasn’t the first film that Pixar made; that reward goes to a short 2-minute film from 1986, called Luxor Jr. It was written and directed by John Lasseter, and with a somewhat limited storyline – but hey, what can you do in 2 minutes that’s more intriguing that 2 lamps playing with a ball. See it to believe it.
So, the reason that short film is so significant is that the little lamp Luxor Jr. would appear again, and again, and again – until it became synonymous with Pixar. But it wouldn’t be until Toy Story that it interacted with the now Pixar brandmark – it was actually key to the Pixar brandmark. It playfully hops from the right of your screen up to the I of P’I’XAR. Then it does what it did in Luxor Sr – jumps up and down on the ‘I’ until it’s squashed. It’s silly, witty and innocent. Much like Pixel Studios themselves.
Luxor Jr appears again in Pixars’ 1998, It’s a Bug’s Life. Then in 2000, Luxor Jr is at it once more, on the For The Birds logo. If this is getting a bit repetitive, I apologise – change (albeit very small) is on the horizon.
Now for the change – in Monter’s Inc (2001) the playful little lamp takes its place from the start. As if it’s already squashed it. More movies followed, as did the logo. The next big change is in the WALL-E (2008), where the bulb goes out for the first time and WALL-E appears on screen to fix it. For The Incredibles 2 (2018) there’s a colour change, in keeping with the red coloured capes in the film. Finally in 2019, Toy Story 4, rather than seeing the PIXAR brandmark side on, we see it from a completely different angle. Who knows what’s next?
To Infinity And Beyond
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