Brand Identity

Logo design and custom typeface for the musical fantasy film about the origins of aspiring magician, inventor and chocolatier Willy Wonka.

“Wonka” tells the origin story of the aspiring magician, inventor and chocolatier Willy Wonka and how he comes to find his place in the world—how Willy became Wonka. Directed by Paul King and starring Timothée Chalamet as the title character, the musical fantasy film is joyful, exuberant, funny, and of course sweet. Pentagram has designed a logo for “Wonka” that captures the magical charm of the movie’s namesake and his enchanting world of kindness and pure imagination, complete with a custom typeface that reflects its heartfelt message of sincerity and friendship.

Evoking a handwritten signature, the logo builds on the themes and visual cues of the movie. In the film, Wonka is earnest, pure of heart and full of goodness and light, with a wish to find and make friends, build a world of generosity and creativity, and make connections that are never lost. This endearing spirit comes to life in the logo, which is constructed of swooping letterforms that speak to the character’s hopeful journey and search for connection. A graceful ligature arcs between the “W” and the “K,” with each reaching out to almost touch the other. A second ligature in “o” and “n” evokes the loops of cursive handwriting.

“Wonka” takes place in an unnamed European city at an unspecified time that feels like the turn of the last century—the late 1800s or early 1900s. To develop the logo, the designers researched the historic typography and ornate graphics from general stores, shops and emporiums, and the labeling and packaging for chocolate, candy, and other confectionery products from the period, as well as modern day luxury chocolate brands.

The cheery Wonka encourages everyone to follow their dreams, and designing the logo was definitely a dream project for the Pentagram team, who had all grown up loving Roald Dahl’s classic 1964 children’s novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the 1971 musical film adaptation starring Gene Wilder. That said, “Wonka” is a new standalone story, and the designers wanted to sidestep anything that looked too much like the logo or other visuals from the earlier movie.

Given the movie’s warm, heartfelt tone, maintaining a personal touch in the graphics was essential. The idea (and a few plot points) inspired a complete custom typeface based on handwritten messages, playfully called Willy Fontka. Each letterform in the alphabet has two or three alternate versions that can be mixed up in applications, to help make them feel more human and authentic. The typeface has been used throughout the film’s promotional materials and advertising, greeting movie audiences as they prepare to step into Wonka’s magical world.

New York
Emily Oberman
Project team
Laura Berglund
Jase Hueser
Anastasia Kharchenko
Meredith Zerby
Elizabeth McMann
Samantha Infante
Lisa Grant
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