Note: For variations of these logos, see On-Screen Variations.
Columbia Pictures was founded on January 10, 1924 as Columbia Pictures Corporation. For their first films, the company used an illustration featuring a female Roman soldier holding a shield in her left hand and a stick of wheat in her right hand.
In 1928, the Roman soldier was replaced by Columbia (who is an early american personification of the United States) holding a torch on her right hand and wearing a draped US flag. Above her, the words "Columbia Pictures Corporation" (later "A Columbia Production") appear above in an arch.
In 1936, the woman nicknamed as the Torch Lady now stands on a pedestal showing a giant Columbia text in chiseled letters behind her. The sky background was also added. This became the main design of the company for over 80 years.
In 1942, due to the United States Flag Code which considers illegal to wear the American flag as a costume,
the draped US flag was replaced with an ordinary cloth.
Technicolor variation. The pedestal is more visible now and the sky background was changed.
Black and white version.
In 1953, since Technicolor films started to become more common, the entire logo was colored (although a Black and White variant was used in tandem with) and the ocean was added to the background to give the impression of a far horizon.
This was the CinemaScope version. The sky background was modified again to fill the screen.
In 1968, the clothes of the Torch Lady were slightly modified.
In 1974, the byline A Division Of Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. was added on the bottom.
Robert Abel and Associates (Animation)
From 1976 to 1981, Columbia Pictures replaced the classic logo with the one known as "Sunburst logo" which represented the beams from the torch. The Torch Lady was still seen without the "Columbia" text, but only in very few seconds at begenning of the animation sequence.
In 1981, Columbia discontinued the Sunburst logo and brought back Torch Lady, but now the full name of the company was and the clothes of the Torch Lady were colored orange. This logo is known for begin used in Ghostbusters and its sequel.
Michael J. Deas (Artwork)
Jeff Kleiser and Diana Walczak (from Synthespian Studios; animation)
In 1993, the logo was repainted digitally by artist Michael Deas, giving it a more hyper-realistic look and the chiselled text was added again. The opening sequnce was also changed using a 3D animation made by Jeff Kleiser and Diana Walczak, in which the logo would zoom-out from torchlight to show the entire structure.
This became the most memorable logo of the company
- Michael Deas hired Jennifer Joseph, a newspaper graphics artist, to model as the Torch Lady.
In 1996, the byline a Sony Pictures Entertainment company was added.
The byline was changed to a Sony Company in 2014.