A Move Toward Simplicity

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Simplicity is always a good thing in design, or at least that is what we designers say all the time. However, this comes with a caveat. Simple logo design is good, but communication is key. Not all logos end up simple, and this does not make them bad; the goal is really to make sure that every part is as simple as it can be and that it earns its space by communicating a message.

For this reason, I am always pleased when I see a new logo design that takes the most important aspects of a design and distills them into a simpler and yet more meaningful package. A good example of this principle comes from across the Atlantic in Sweden, the home of simple Scandinavian design.

The old TV8 logo was a shiny, gradiented mess. It featured a circle with layered circles, similar to a bullseye. The white circle has been expanded into a letter 8. The effect is similar to a camera shutter, but the name and the red dot really detract from this effect. Moreover, the off center shine seems randomly placed. This is one image that simply does not work with the little bit of added dimension.

While many companies are changing their logos to look more three dimensional design and glossy, TV8 is actually moving in precisely the opposite direction. Gone are the red dot and the ‘Viasat’; instead part of a bubble or other orb has been placed at the outer edge of the image, which definitely brings out the shutter associations for me. The three dimensional shine has been removed, which really needed to happen. Despite all of the changes, the basic bones of the image (the 8 layered within a circle) remain. If anything, the simplicity serves to accent the basic structure. There is still a slight color gradient in some versions, but this is far less offensive than the glossy light in the old design.

One of the main reasons for the redesign is the change in primary audience for the channel. When it first started, TV8 was a current affairs channel with a focus on news. Suddenly the old TV Channel logo makes a little more sense. Now, the channel is making a gradual switch to lifestyle programming for adult audiences. The new logo design will definitely fit the new needs well. Moreover, I think that the new, simpler design makes the 8 a little easier to identify.

The previous look was relatively new, introduced in 2007 when parent company Viasat redesigned all of their logos to have layered circle motifs. We are gradually seeing these designs fade away and be replaced because the devise simply did not work well for many networks. However, in this case the layered circle is the perfect choice due to the shape of a number eight and also the references to a camera shutter. Moreover, a circle is a friendly shape, and the layered circles seem to pull my eyes in, almost hypnotically. In a genre with so many poorly conceived logos, it is nice to see one that is simple, attractive and appropriate for its audience.