The complete MGM logo history

MGM logo history - MGM logos in different forms
(Image credit: MGM)

The MGM logo is one we’ve all seen on screen – but do you know the history of the MGM logo? That familiar lion has made MGM one of the most recognised film studios but the design has evolved many times over the years to stay current, while retaining its brand legacy. 

Before Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM’s original brand name) was established, the lion associated with it was dreamt up way back in 1916 for the Goldwyn Pictures Corporation. There’s a debate as to who had the idea first – publicist Howard Dietz or Paramount art director Lionel S. Reiss – but either way, it was a bold choice, and Dietz had the idea of placing a live lion inside the logo to bring it to life on film. He claimed the lion was a reference to his time at Columbia University, where the athletics and football teams are known as The Lions. You may have heard the urban myth that the trainer and assistant were killed whilst filming the first lion clip, but this has been proven false.

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Polly Allen
Freelance journalist and marketer

Polly Allen is a freelance journalist and marketer based in Bristol. She specialises in travel and lifestyle journalism, including art reviews. As a marketer, she has worked for the charity sector, the travel industry, the museum sector, and healthcare organisations.