Saturday, September 8, 2012

The EPCOT Logo Futurization Flub

The original EPCOT Center logo was great; futuristic and memorable:


However, that didn’t mean it should never change. After all, EPCOT itself was supposed to constantly change, always adding new things and updating existing ones. So Disney’s decision in the mid-1990s to change the park’s logo was not necessarily a bad one. Unfortunately, the mid-1990s were not a good time for visual design. This was, after all, the period where Batman’s costume acquired rubber nipples and the NBA’s Toronto Raptors played in ridiculous-looking uniforms with jagged pinstripes and a cartoon dinosaur in the center of the chest. So maybe it was inevitable that EPCOT’s new logo would be bad. But at least the person who designed the nippled Batsuit was trying. Whoever designed the current EPCOT logo . . . well, just look at it:


It looks like something a clueless management trainee came up with in 1995 about five minutes after they discovered the Microsoft Works clip art gallery. It’s not just a bad design, it’s a lazy design. At best, it inspired indifference. I’m not privy to Disney’s sales figures, but I can’t imagine that merchandise featuring the present logo was ever a big hit. And these days, you can hardly find it. Almost all the EPCOT t-shirts on sale in the park are of the retro variety, which to me is a tacit admission that the current logo is less popular than the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Last week on Twitter I said I could come up with a better logo just by typing the acronym “EPCOT” in an appropriately futuristic font. So I went to, loaded up on some fonts from their Techno section, and came up with these alternate EPCOT logos:


Font: Vandiana Platin. I like this one because it’s basically a sleeker version of the typeface used in the original EPCOT logo. Even better, the park’s signage could also be rendered in this font (or a slightly narrower variant) and it would still be readable.


Font: Excelerate. We have to keep in mind that EPCOT’s logo was updated in the 90s, and the predominant design sensibility then was less about making things sleek and minimal and more about making them look “kewl”. Although this one isn’t my favorite by any means, I think it’s something that could realistically have come out of that decade.


Font: Phatboy Slim. Another generically techno-looking typeface.


Font: Metro-DF. The more I look at this one, the more I like it. I think one thing the designer/clip art selector of the present EPCOT logo was trying to do was represent the World Showcase and Future World in one design. This one does a good job of accomplishing that, I think, because it’s a little less futuristic than the other fonts we’ve seen so far.


Font: Prototype (the freeware equivalent of World Bold) Or they could have just rendered the “new” EPCOT logo in the font that’s been used on most of the Entrance Plaza and Future World signage since 1982. Even after all these years, it still looks pretty good.

And there you have it: five better-looking alternatives to the present EPCOT logo, created by simply typing the acronym “EPCOT” in a better font. Hopefully one day soon the current design will go the way of the Astuter Computer Revue, and a 21st-century version of the original logo will take its place.


  1. I'm a big logo geek and I *HATE* the current logo.

    (Didn't you do a bit on how typefaces all around the park have disintegrated into a big mess over teh past 15 or so years, as well? :)

    Metro-DF is pretty darned snazzy, IMO. But a slightly refined (slightly skinnier, a little less squarified) World Bold would be my first choice

  2. I'm digging the Phatboy Slim. Thanks for writing this. It needed to be said.


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