2011 is quickly becoming the year of the rebrand.
As the globalization of some of our culture’s most iconic brands continues, those pursuing rebranding are finding that the process is continuously calling for a simpler appearance, but further-reaching in result: a mark that’s more easily understood, more easily identifiable, and more applicable across a variety of both print and digital mediums. The evolution of vast social media spheres has also begun to lend a hand to the way industry giants communicate with consumers; in effect changing the way they brand themselves based on input gathered from these spheres.
Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Last year, we saw nothing short of a nightmare unfold in the Gap’s rebranding attempt: an unveiling – and then an almost instant renouncement – of the Gap’s new logo. Earlier this year, we were introduced to Starbucks’ thoughtful, almost seamless rebrand of a logo that’s been forty years in the making. Now, we have another beast of a rebrand on our hands: the brazen new face of Comedy Central.
Before you laugh (or cry), consider the age we’re living in. This is the age of social media, tablet computing, and hundreds upon thousands of apps. The Lab‘s latest creation for Comedy Central may very well stand as a precursor to the future of identity design.
The simplicity of this logo and it’s ability to be used across multiple print and digital platforms, is its strongest trait. As Alicia Johnson, co-creative director at The Lab, explains:
“In the old world you could do a logo mark that was dominant for print. You don’t want that anymore. The way a brand moves in a digital space – where everything moves – is as relevant to your experience as a static logo,”
Scalable to almost any size imaginable, whether it be for viewing on a poster, billboard or even the smallest tablet computing screen, Comedy Central’s new identity sends a strong message that they aren’t just all about laughs. After all, the rise in popularity of shows like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, tells us that millions tune into Comedy Central as much for the humor of South Park as they do for their daily news.
Yes, the new logo certainly does look like a copyright symbol – and that’s the point. Taking such a strong emblem of the corporate world and putting a subversive spin on it positions Comedy Central as funny in a very relateable way while also positioning the channel as the very source of comedy.
“It’s really more about making the content king than trying to be the content… The mark’s job is not to be the loudest, the wackiest,”
Could they have come up with a “prettier” logo?, A more zany design? Sure they could, and it would have been easy to do. Could they have come up with a smarter one? One that worked across multiple platforms? A mark than that millions the world over could identity with? An instant conversation starter? Not so sure about that.
Maybe it is a bit boring, but let’s be real: it may very well be one of the smartest rebrands of the 21st century.
Additional Links & Media
Designing Brand Identity: An Essential Guide for the Whole Branding Team
Logo Design Love: A Guide to Creating Iconic Brand Identities
LogoLounge 6: 2,000 International Identities by Leading Designers