The No-Ghost Sign has been being used for the franchise in one form or another since it started with the first film in 1984.
The logo design is loosely based on the no signs of Europe. While Europe had the logo to the upper left, the rest of the world had the logo to the upper right. Dan Aykroyd conceived the logo in his original Ghost Smashers script. The art direction and final design was done by Michael C. Gross. He tweaked the shape of the Icon ghost. Michael Gross went to Brent Boates, one of the artists already working on concepts for the movie, to help with the design.
Despite the final design avoiding an overt resemblance to Casper and related characters, Harvey Famous Cartoons sued Columbia Pictures over the use of the emblem, which bears some resemblance to "Fatso", one of the characters in Casper's Ghostly Trio. The suit was for 50 million, plus the destruction of all Ghostbusters film prints, however it was dropped in 1986.
The logo was redesigned for the second film to giving it a different identity from the first film. The animated logo seen in the first chapter of the film shows it having both legs, which wasn't quite the same as the design used later in the film which had the ghost not showing it's right leg at all.
The Real Ghostbusters
For more info on the Icon Ghost, click here.
For Unofficial/Spoofs of No-Ghost Signs information, please go to Unofficial No-Ghost Logo Parodies article.
- Michael C. Gross (2009). Ghostbusters- Slimer Mode (2009) (Blu-Ray ts. 01:20:54-01:21:04). Columbia TriStar Home Video. Michael Gross says: "The no-ghost logo was in Danny Aykroyd's original script. I take credit as having art directed and designed the original logo but I did not conceive it."
- Joe Medjuck (1999). Ghostbusters- Commentary (1999) (DVD ts. 37:59-38:04). Columbia TriStar Home Video. Joe Medjuck says: "And then, I think, Mike Gross redesigned a little bit of shape of the ghost. But the basic idea was always--"
- Michael Gross (2019). Cleanin' Up The Town: Remembering Ghostbusters (2019) (Blu-Ray ts. 32:28-32:29). Bueno Productions. Michael Gross says: "I went to the one I knew the best."
- Richard Edlund (2019). Cleanin' Up The Town: Remembering Ghostbusters (2019) (Blu-Ray ts. 32:30-32:32). Bueno Productions. Richard Edlund says: "Brent Boates designed the logo."
- Harold Ramis (1999). Ghostbusters- Commentary (1999) (DVD ts. 38:05-38:07). Columbia TriStar Home Video. Harold Ramis says: "We had to stay away from Casper. I remember it was a big problem."
- Fangoria #42 (Feb 1985) - page 63
- Baby-Boom Children and Harvey Comics After the Code: A Neighborhood of Little Girls and Boys by Kathy Merlock Jackson and Mark D. Arnold page 24
- FSU Law Journal Volume 131
All four screen caps are from animated short "Fright from Wrong" by Paramount Pictures' Famous Studios.