- Original Title Treatment (Approximately 1999 through 2001)
- Final Title Treatment (2001 and Onward)
- Other Title Designs
Original Title Treatment
(Approximately 1999 through 2001)
The earliest promotional materials for The Lord of the Rings trilogy generally, and The Fellowship of the Ring specifically, used a distinctly different wordmark and logo presentation from what became the standard later on for the films and licensed products. Here are some of the key features of the original title treatment, compared with what appeared later:
- The overall typeface is smoother, instead of having cracks and gaps to suggest a sense of the ancient.
- It displays a diamond in the middle of the “O” in “Lord,” giving the impression of The Great Eye of Sauron. This is not present on later versions of the title.
- There is a dragon icon above the wordmark, presumably Smaug, with tail curled into a complete circle. Later versions do not have the dragon at all.
This version of image and wordmark appears on such early promotional materials and licensed products as:
- The 1999 Balrog Gatefold Folder promotion for the beginning of work on the LOTR trilogy.
- A 2000 double-sided bookmark with tassel from New Line, featuring silhouettes of the Fellowship crossing a mountain range at sunset on one side, and the old version logo plus release dates for each of the three films in the Trilogy.
- The 2001 “The Trilogy Begins” oversized calendar with embossed cover (the image of an “Original Title Treatment” sample shown above). Production design and manufacture for this calendar was likely done in 2000.
- The RingWraith bookmark given to guests at the Cannes Film Festival May 2001 Middle-earth promotional party.
- The early film tie-in single-volume edition of The Lord of the Rings book from Houghton-Mifflin Publishers in 2001. Artwork features the iconic photo of a Black Rider on horseback atop a knoll, with moonlight shining from behind. Caption at the bottom of the front cover reads: “The complete best-selling classic now an epic motion picture trilogy.”
- The Tolkien Guild’s commemorative black T-shirt with silver wordmark and logo for the premiere of The Fellowship of the Ring in December 2001.
- A promotional magnet from New Line Cinema and Houghton-Mifflin, distributed at the Toy Fair 2002 buyers’ convention. The artwork is the same as the single-volume edition of The Lord of the Rings from Houghton-Mifflin.
The change of a title treatment may not seem like a huge issue, but it would require notifying licensees, updating all style guides, investing significant time and artistic effort to revise existing materials, etc. So, it may prove itself to be an important point to consider in the overall presentation and marketing promotion of the trilogy, films that followed Fellowship, and licensed products.
Final Title Treatment
(2001 and Onward)
The final version of title treatment actually appears in the electronic press kit for The Fellowship of the Ring (the back cover of which is shown above as the sample “Final Title Treatment”), so the changeover had begun by the time that film was released in December 2001. The treatment seems to have remained fairly consistent from then on, at least for film-related promotions and products.
Other Title Designs
In some instances, products were released that had distinctive title designs based on different “style guides” – for instance, the Vivendi/Black Label Games video game for The Fellowship of the Ring and the Turbine/Midway game for The Lord of the Rings Online. It is a point of interest that other video games produced by EA Games, based more directly on the film trilogy, do use the final title treatment that is the same as the movies.