By Thomas Shambler
The story behind one of the most recognisable logos in the world
The Walt Disney Company is one of the world's largest entertainment companies. Its studios include the likes of Pixar, Touchstone, Marvel and Lucas Arts. It owns media networks including ABC and ESPN, and its Disneyland resorts now span six continents and boast millions of guests per year.
Anyone familiar with the brand has no doubt seen the Disney logo. The signature of its late founder now adorns everything the brand makes, a touching tribute to the man who started the company back in 1923. At least it would be, provided it was Walt Disney's actual signature.
Even in the early days, Walt Disney didn't have time to sign every piece of fan mail sent to the company. As such, it was common for him to pass this job onto his secretary or another employee, who were given permission to sign things on his behalf. Disney comics, for example, all feature Walt's signature despite the fact that he never drew a single panel.
In the 1940s this led to a rather odd situation where there were more 'faked' versions of Walt Disney's signature than real ones. Eventually, the styled versions of the signature became so well known that Walt Disney himself had trouble signing autographs – people didn't like the fact that his own signature didn't match the one used by the company bearing his name. Over time, Walt Disney attempted to change his signature, to try and make it as flowery as the one used by Disney's marketing. However, to this day, both remain dramatically different.