News / Graphic Design

Pentagram’s Emily Oberman explains the logo for Spielberg’s Ready Player One


Pentagram’s Emily Oberman and her team have designed a maze-like logo for director Steven Spielberg’s forthcoming adaptation of Ernest Cline’s dystopian novel Ready Player One. The logo combines influences including 1980s arcade games, record covers and digital 8-bit graphics and relates to the aesthetics of OASIS, the virtual world at the heart of Cline’s story. Hidden within the logo is a working maze that twists and turns though the custom typography arriving at an “easter egg” in the counter of the O.

“The book is amazing and detailed in its many many references so it, in and of itself, was a roadmap to what we should look at,” says Emily. “The hook of the book – without giving anything away – is that there is a lot of 1980 nostalgia. It is a genius move for a book that takes place in the future to be so rooted in the ephemera of the past. It allows the future to feel more familiar. So, because the 80s are kind of my jam and I have a team of smart, talented, nerds (who are the best!) we dived in and looked up every single reference in the book and scoured the internet for fan art. We also looked at Wim Crouwel’s classic New Alphabet as inspiration for our letterforms, because we needed something that did that super future past thing and was simple enough we could build a maze into it. The whole team worked on concepts and Tim Cohan and Lorenzo Fanton got the proposal to the finish line.”

With such a strong aesthetic running through the story and Spielberg’s vision of for the film, Emily and her team had to remain self-aware when developing the design. “As far as what we rejected trope-wise: we didn’t want it to be a parody of anything specific, we just wanted it to feel like a future version of something that was inspired by the 80s – and had a hint at the actual heart of the story,” she says. “And don’t forget this is for a movie directed by Steven Spielberg, so it is pretty daunting.”

Ready Player One is due to be released 30 March 2018.


Pentagram: Ready Player One


Pentagram: Ready Player One


Pentagram: Ready Player One


Pentagram: Ready Player One