DC's first logo appeared on the April 1940 issues of its titles. The letters "DC" stood for Detective Comics, the name of Batman's flagship title. The small logo, with no background, read simply "A DC Publication".
The November 1941 DC titles introduced an updated logo. This version was almost twice the size of the previous one and was the first version with a white background. The name "Superman" was added to "A DC Publication", effectively acknowledging both Superman and Batman. This logo was the first to occupy the top-left corner of the cover, where the logo has usually resided since. The company now referred to itself in its advertising as "Superman-DC".
In November 1949, the logo was modified to incorporate the company's formal name National Comics Publications. This logo would also serve as the round body of Johnny DC, DC's mascot in the 1960s.
In October 1970, DC briefly retired the circular logo in favor of a simple "DC" in a rectangle with the name of the title, or the star of the book; the logo on many issues of Action Comics, for example, read "DC Superman". An image of the lead character either appeared above or below the rectangle. For books that did not have a single star, such as anthologies like House of Mystery or team series such as Justice League of America, the title and "DC" appeared in a stylized logo, such as a bat for "House of Mystery". This use of characters as logos helped to establish the likenesses as trademarks, and was similar to Marvel's contemporaneous use of characters as part of its cover branding.
DC's "100 Page Super-Spectacular" titles and later 100-page and "Giant" issues published from 1972 to 1974 featured a logo exclusive to these editions: the letters "DC" in a simple sans-serif typeface within a circle. A variant had the letters in a square.
In 1974, the text color was changed to blue, along with the addition of the words "The Line of DC Super-Stars" and the star motif that would continue in later logos. This logo was placed in the top center of the cover from August 1975 to October 1976. The designer was Michael Uslan.
When Jenette Kahn became DC's publisher in late 1976, she commissioned graphic designer Milton Glaser to design a new logo. Popularly referred to as the "DC bullet", this logo premiered on the February 1977 titles. Although it varied in size and color and was at times cropped by the edges of the cover, or briefly rotated 4 degrees, it remained essentially unchanged for nearly three decades. Despite logo changes since 2005, the old "DC bullet" continues to be used only on the DC Archive Editions series.
Josh Beatman Richard Bruning
On May 8, 2005, a new logo (dubbed the "DC spin") was unveiled, debuting on DC titles in June 2005 with DC Special: The Return of Donna Troy #1 and the rest of the titles the following week. In addition to comics, it was designed for DC properties in other media, which was used for movies since Batman Begins, with Superman Returnsand Red showing the logo's normal variant, and the TV series Smallville, the animated series Justice League Unlimited and others, as well as for collectibles and other merchandise. The logo was designed by Josh Beatman of Brainchild Studios and DC executive Richard Bruning.
In March 2012, DC unveiled a new logo consisting of the letter "D" flipping back to reveal the letter "C" and "DC ENTERTAINMENT". The Dark Knight Rises was the first film to use the new logo, while the TV series Arrow was the first series to feature the new logo. It was designed to represent the dual identity trope of the superhero genre, one identity peeling back to reveal the other.
DC Entertainment announced a new identity and logo for another iconic DC Comics universe brand on May 17, 2016. The new logo was first used on May 25, 2016, in conjunction with the release of DC Universe: Rebirth Special #1 by Geoff Johns. The logo seems to be a redux of the 1970s logos.