29 Seasons of Survivor has brought us 29 different logos and in today's top 10, Ozlet Julian Groneberg looks at what goes into making a great logo design for a season and shares his favourites. From all era's of Survivor we've seen the traditional Survivor logo redesigned to fit with the new season's theme and location, and a graphic to promote the season. There's no doubt that their have been some very good designs and memorable logos, but which one does he consider the best? Read on to find out which Survivor logos are the standouts and to find out which logo grabbed the coveted number one spot!
With every new season of Survivor, we have a new logo to look forward which and by the end of the season’s airing, we get quite familiar with. From seeing the logo displayed on the contestant’s buffs, TV promos, flags at camp and even at some of the challenges – each year we are treated to a new logo design based on the location or theme of the season. There’s no doubt that there is some very well thought out logos, and over the years, some pretty slap-dash ones too. By and large however, to come up with a new logo over 28 seasons is no easy feat and it’s also pretty impressive how many fan created logos have been designed in far flung destinations which I only wish were actual Survivor filming locations
As many a Survivor nerd does, I get pretty I also get excited about each new logo that accompanies each season, although I do feel the best days with logos have been and gone. There are some good logos to be found across all eras of the show however and I’ll rank my top 10 Survivor logos based on these factors:
The Uniqueness (i.e. We haven’t seen a similar colour scheme, font, or design in other season logos
How the design ties into with theme of the season
Other details including font, colour, lines, space and repetition – all without getting too technical of course
The best thing about Samoa’s logo is the Polynesian artistic design around the logo frame. There’s something quite authentic about the Samoa logo which some may argue is also kind of standard too, but it’s the quintessentially composed Pacific Island scene with a lone castaway. In a way, it’s surprising it took 19 seasons to do one like this and I think this logo could have worked genuinely well as the logo for All Stars or even Marquesas. Apart from the Polynesian style border carvings, this doesn’t design doesn’t really scream Samoa, as a destination, however design wise it’s a very solid Survivor logo in spite of that.
When you look at the logos from the Survivor period, the first eight were undoubtedly a lot more simplistic than those used later on. I generally prefer the more detailed and intricate logos but Thailand is by far my favourite logo from the first 8 seasons. Using a simple but effective contrast of orange and purple, the logo has a distinctly Asian feel, while still feeling very different from China and the Philippines logos. They’ve done a good job of using an elephant and while there’s not much else to note in the details of the Thailand logo, they’ve done a simplistic design well without it looking overly cartoony. The cartoony problem in my opinion was the plagued both Amazon’s and Africa’s logos and which were a missed opportunity of design potential.
Nicaragua does a great job of expanding on the pirate, shipwrecked theme of other logos, and the reason it’s included over Pearl Islands is simply because of the level of detail. From monkey’s, pirate ships and volcanoes, you get a pirates of the Caribbean feel just from looking at the logo. The logo’s scene does a great job with blending both the coastal and jungle scenery. Sure, it’s nothing ground-breaking, but we are at season 21 by now and it’s a lot more interesting than Fiji or other coastal/island locales. (Exile Island that means you!)
It’s great to see silhouettes of the 20 contestants that played in Heroes versus Villains are featured in the season’ logos. You can even see two shadows wearing the cowboy hats which lets you claim that you can tell which is Jerri and which is Colby. Since both wore white and black hats in the premiere, this is exciting. What makes this another great logo is that they’ve gone to the effort to separate both tribes effectively with limited space making it easy to tell which tribe is which, with the villains shaking fists above red block lettering to represent their feistiness. I’m sure it’s no accident that the heroes get a much more subdued and friendly blue coloured font (and matching buffs) It’s also nice to see the Outwit, Outplay and Outlast text replaced by Return, Revenge, Redemption giving some insight into the different ways in which this cast of returning players can play the game.
There must be something about using that purple to represent the Philippines that I liked so much in this logo – not to mention those pointy Asian hats. It’s also nice to see a little bit of a locale featured again in a modern Survivor season’s logo. Again nice use of animals in the logo to make up the patterning used in the logo. This time we’ve got a Cobra and what I assume is a lizard or crocodile. It does look good with the spearfishing island scene and contrast of the black and yellow highlighted oriental lettering of the word Philippines. It’s something that feels almost completely new 25 seasons in, and while helped by a new location, this is still a good achievement by the designer who conceptualised this logo.
Blood versus Water is a recent season where the logo designer deserves props for a great logo. Maroon had not yet been featured in the Survivor logos, and contrasted well with the silver of the Machetes which we also hadn’t seen used before. The use of the machetes brings to effect of the ‘knives are out’ interpretation. Yes we have a setting sun again, but happily no skulls or volcanoes were used in the makings of this logo. It did have a sailing ship again, but there was something particularly Philippines-esque about it making it feel somewhat new. The pattern around the borders of the logo frame provided good detail – not to mention the Silhouettes were back – this time in pairings of two. This makes a good tie in with the couples theme of the season. Compared to the recent less than stellar logos, Blood Versus Water is modern logo that really makes a statement and can be taken much more seriously than both the rushed looking Cagayan and San Juan Del Sur.
The rocky uprisings in the Tocantins logo always remind me of Monument Valley in Arizona. However the rugged and wild terrain of Northern Brazil is captured well in the Tocantins logo. I was especially intrigued when I first saw the logo since I was unfamiliar with the area and looking forward to a season would have a dessert feel and a harsh inland environment. The river flowing through the middle of the design creates the right contrast to balance the brown and orange colour scheme, and is relevant to the season since the Rio Novo river was the life source for the contestants in a very harsh environment. Even though the Tocantins text is blocky and basic, I’d argue that this is better and works well with the design over some of the fonts we’ve seen where the font detracted from design. Cagayan’s hi-tech robot style lettering – I’m talking about you!
3. Cook Islands
Cook Islands captures the classic feel of an exotic tropical Survivor location and it’s got just the right amount of detail and simplicity for an awesome logo. They could have used this logo for other seasons as well, but the explorer and shipwrecked theme works for any island in the South Pacific. It also does tie in with the discovery of the Cook Islands – not to mention the awesome shipwreck they constructed for Exile Island in this season. A very clean and vibrant red, blue and yellow colour scheme makes it all really stand out in it’s coastal themed glory. Yes, I want to be in the Cook Islands just by looking at it. The font also works well and looks like the font the the ship name “The Jolly Roger” would be stamped with. A big win for a logo for what many people now are calling a somewhat lacklustre season. Location wise however it was among the most spectacular.
Something about the army green, brown and yellow colour scheme really sits really well, and I like the way these colours were continued across the Ulong and Koror tribes and in the Micronesia logo especially the same setting sun. The stencil army like font also ties in well with the bloody WW2 history of the region where many battles were fought and this is also repeated well with the military plane wrecks. From the setting sun at the top of the design, to the military planes on the beach at the bottom of the design and the Rock island uprisings which were featured in the season opening credits, there is a lot of details that are highly relevant to the season. Also worth mentioning is the symmetry of the two sharks along the left and right bottom part of the logo – all I can think of is the Tom Westman shark capture story. Considering Palau could have been just another typical island themed logo with skulls and palm trees, they’ve really packed a lot of detail about the season into the logo. Based upon this and it’s uniqueness for an island season, it thoroughly deserves the number 2 spot.
China’s logo is incredible. Featuring a traditional oriental red and yellow and black colour scheme, and twisting Chinese dragon motifs, not to mention the great wall of China repeated in the top and bottom half of the logo – it’s got it all. The central tiered pagoda temple completes the logo design and features a great focal point, especially with the stairs disappearing up to the temple entrance. Probably one of the most exciting features however is the fact the ‘Outwit, Outplay, Outlast’ has been replaced by Chinese characters. Some fans considered this to be too much of a deviation in design with too much liberty taken, but considering China is such a location centric season, I think it’s warranted. I also can’t think of another oriental style font which could have provided the same look. It’s a tough one, but considering the detail, my love for the season and the perfect homage to China and the scenes of China were used in the actual season, this has to be my number one Survivor logo.
What do you think of the top 10? Do you agree? Disagree? Is it in the wrong order or are there ones that didn’t make the top 10 that you feel should’ve? Leave a comment below to let us know your thoughts!
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