Press Play

For the first real post of this blog I figured what better topic than to start at the beginning. Not of Criterion exactly (I’ll get to that in time), but the beginning of every disc you’ve ever put in a player.

One of the great pleasures of a Criterion disc has always been the absence of FBI warnings, commercials, and loud, irrelevant trailers before even getting to the matter at hand. Instead you get the sweet knowledge that when you press play at the (usually) beautiful menu screen you are going to get a stately Criterion logo to welcome you into the next couple hours of your life.

There have been a handful of logos since 1984. Some are like ugly dogs: hard to look at, but loved anyway. Others are perfectly beautiful in their simplicity and focus. Here are the one’s that I have come across. I’m being fairly general in the dating of them and if you know of others, please point me to them!

1984 – 1994

The original “Movie as a textbook” design. Still one of my favorites as it invokes a disc/book marriage that Voyager was trying to get across in this new amalgam of movie and supplements. There were a few different colors used, sort of like the Wacky C of today and its different cover colors.

1994 – 1996

A couple of attempts to snazz things up a bit, but with less than stellar results (to our 21st century aesthetics). Red colors in the low resolution days (even laser) never fared well on the eyes.


1995 – 1999

The end of the laser disc era bridged to the beginning of the DVD era. After all these years, I still cannot find something kind to say about this particular logo. Thankfully, the last misstep of a few.



1999 – 2006

The DVD era at its peak. Beautiful design. Simplicity defined. This logo still makes me so happy to see on a disc. Sets the tone and mood for what is coming. Rumor has it that the “font with moving line” was not exactly copyrightable, so things had to get Wacky.


2006 – ∞

The current reigning champion, the Wacky C has made an indelible mark on the label. Instantly recognizable and adaptable, it really can be everywhere at times. I suspect this solved their copyright issues, but I do have to admit it is frustrating to see other C logos that are pretty darn similar, such as  Cinedigm or Comedy CentralI actually like the Wacky E on the Eclipse line a bit more. There is just something a bit off about it that really suits my tastes.


So what’s next?

I am of the mind that the Wacky C is around to stay. Perfectly fine with me, old friend.