It’s Ghostbusters Day! What better time to take a closer look at one of the film’s most enduring pieces of imagery – the famous No-Ghost logo – and to salute this unassuming but hugely influential movie design gem.
The word ‘iconic’ is probably thrown around a little more freely than it should be. But there can be no doubting that the Ghostbusters logo is truly an icon in the history of film graphics. From its use in the 1984 film itself to its huge popularity on t-shirts and countless other items of merchandise ever since, the No-Ghost logo has become firmly embedded in our popular cultural heritage.
Even viewed in isolation, with the movie title nowhere in sight, this classic insignia, with its cartoon ghost trapped behind but reaching through a bold red ‘no’ sign, is instantly recognisable. This simple graphic conjures up all things Ghostbusters – classic moments from the film, the catchiest of theme tunes, and some seriously evocative childhood memories for 1980s kids like me.
The magic of the No-Ghost sign is in the tone it sets. We all know that the ghouls that terrorise the citizens of New York in Ghostbusters are at times downright terrifying. But this is brilliantly offset by the movie’s deft wit and playfulness. And this comic element is reflected perfectly in the logo. The ghost (given the name Mooglie during the making of the movie) has a mischievous rather than overtly menacing look. This fun but not excessively cute figure, with the strong graphic impact of the red circle and slash of the ‘no’ symbol, makes for a playful and thoroughly memorable design.