New MGM logo isn't exactly a roaring success

Fire up any James Bond film and the first thing you'll see isn't the famous white dots of the opening gun barrel sequence. Before that, we're always treated to the roar of the MGM lion in one of the most iconic movie studio logos of all time. But the opening ident is about to look rather different.

For the first time in over six decades, the lion has been reimagined in an evolution of MGM's renowned logo. In a somewhat controversial move, Leo (yep, he has a name) has been rendered in CGI – and the transformation is causing some alarm online. (Check out our top character design tips if you're looking for inspiration). 

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Originally slated to launch in front of the delayed No Time to Die, the new logo (above) is described by MGM as "an evolution, not a revolution". Talking to Adweek, the studio's chief marketing officer, Stephen Bruno, says the design is a "commitment to the timeless, golden art deco design that has defined the brand since 1924".

MGM logo

Old (left) vs new (right) (Image credit: MGM/Future Owns)

Surprisingly, perhaps the most noticeable thing about the new design is how faithful it remains to the original. While the crisp and shiny new finish certainly looks more contemporary, the decorative design is a breath of fresh air in a world of flat, simplistic logo redesigns (we're looking at you, Warner Bros).

If anything, with the emphasised CGI lighting on that familiar gold film, we'd say the this design is a rare beast: a new logo that's actually more 3D than its predecessor. This is one design that's bound to please anyone suffering from flat design fatigue.

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What isn't clear is exactly why MGM decided to replace the live action lion with a CGI version. Once you spot that Leo isn't real, it's difficult to unsee – which is already causing controversy online. Indeed, Twitter has (as Twitter does) already made its feelings known on the new design. Many users are loving the fact that the logo hasn't been overly simplified:

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But there are also plenty of users who aren't overly sold on the new CGI lion:

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While we're fans of the pleasingly extravagant design as a whole, it's clear from the response to CGI Leo that MGM's new logo isn't exactly a roaring success. We can't help but wonder why the studio didn't opt to include the live action version of the beloved mascot inside the new design. For now, it seems our best logos round up is safe from the MGM lion.

Still, in the world of logo design, there are worse mistakes to be made than over-reliance on CGI. Just ask Amazon, whose new app icon recently came under fire thanks to a very (very) unfortunate resemblance.

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Daniel John
Senior News Editor

Daniel John is Senior News Editor at Creative Bloq. He reports on the worlds of art, design, branding and lifestyle tech (which often translates to tech made by Apple). He joined in 2020 after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more.