Three Media Rebrands

It’s been a busy couple of weeks for media brands, as three different organizations hit the reset button on their branding in favor of something new. A rebrand includes a new logo and brand identity, and the implementation of those new designs on everything from websites to printed collateral materials (brochures, stationery, business cards), and more.

Let’s take a look at the new brands for major media outlets: This American Life, Slate magazine and The Guardian newspaper.

An NPR staple and one of the O.G.’s of podcasting, This American Life said goodbye to their stacked orange and purple word mash in favor of something that actually makes a lot of sense and takes the work they do into consideration. This American Life are some of the best storytellers of our time, so the modified speech bubble, combined with a stripped down American flag, has got to be one of those moments where the simple, most basic idea turned out to be the best idea. They executed it perfectly and paired it with a professional, journalistic serif typeface from Hoefler & Co.’s cache called Mercury. I am happy that they chose to go with a serif typeface for the wordmark portion of the lockup. Sans serif-based logos have been all the rage for a while and I feel like 2018 is going to be a year where we begin to see more serif and custom type logos. Although there is nothing exciting or flashy about the Mercury type choice, it balances the mark and gets the job done.

Slate magazine has gone through a comprehensive rebrand, the first in more than a decade. The new logo flips the lettering to all caps, adding some muscle, and chops the “A” in half. This is something I think we’re going to see a lot of this year, the “negative space” logo. My favorite part about the redesign is the color choice. I am sure that the colors will vary monitor to monitor, but on my screen I love that they darkened the old wimpy purple to what I would call an outer-space violet hue. It’s so dark it’s almost black. I can’t say that this new logo speaks to me in any significant way. It feels like it needs everything else they built for the brand to make it successful. It also reminds me a bit of the soon-to-be defunct Spike TV logo.

The Guardian, the major British newspaper, ditched its blues for all black, went title case and nested itself. I am again happy they chose to stick with a serif typeface, showing off some sexy thick and thins to the typeface. At first glance I thought there was something funny about the “The” nestled on top, and my suspicions were confirmed. I brought the mark into Photoshop and the characters in “The” were smaller than “Guardian.” I am sure there was a version of this left on the designers artboard, a version 7 or 8, where the characters in “The” were the same size as “Guardian.” Why the slightly smaller “The”? There is plenty of room to the left for the characters to be enlarged; it could even center itself more specifically between the “G” and the ascender of the “d.” It hugs the “d” so closely that the tail of the “e” almost kisses the head of the “d.” I feel like this may have something to do with the printed version of the newspaper, which is slightly smaller in size now. I am also torn about why they ditched their blue hues. The blue masthead was immediately recognizable, and was an element of their former self that helped separate the paper from the competition. But I can also see the historical significance and the timelessness of going back to black.

Time will tell but I am sure in about a month or two we’ll all forget and these new logos will feel like they’ve always looked this way.