Beam Me Up, Discovery

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Discovery, a network that markets mainly to women and children with such hits as I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant and Jon & Kate Plus 8, is planning a new channel that will appeal mainly to ‘upscale men’. It is due to launch any day now and will be a replacement of the Discovery network channel known as HD Theater. The new channel is known as Velocity and will feature programming aimed at this market, which is currently underserved by other Discovery channels.

Like all television channels, this one has a logo design. The old logo was somewhat of a placeholder, and was merely used internally within Discovery. It featured a shiny chrome chevron with the name of the channel below in the signature Discovery font. The new logo design features the same core shape, but with a silver globe nestled in the corner of the chevron. The shiny metal is still present, but it is slightly darker, which gives a more masculine feeling. The font has been changed as well; it is now written in Futura. This stylistically matches the space age feeling of the logo a little better.

On the other hand, I cannot help but be reminded of another shiny object in similar shape (http://www.geekalerts.com/u/star-trek-starfleet-command-badge.jpg) . It conjures up images of geeky cool. The problem with this is that the nerd group (which I consider myself a part of) is already being wooed by other cable channels. If Discovery wants to reach an elite male audience, retro sci-fi may not be correct look.

From what I have heard, the new channel will feature several car shows. In this perspective, the logo design makes a little more sense. It is definitely reminiscent of a logo for a car company and rather looks like it belongs on the hood of some powerful machine. The inclusion of a globe detracts from this a little, moving the dial closer to the sci-fi side. On the other hand, the globe makes the logo design look less like a device meant to beam you up to the mother ship. I get that it is supposed to be a letter V, as in the name, but that is not the first thing I think when I see the design.

While many companies have a little wiggle room when it comes to a logo design—they can modify the design a little bit over time—Discovery Velocity does not have this luxury. The new channel has only has one chance to make a first impression on their core audience. If the target market checks out the channel and does not identify with it, Velocity will be stopped by a lack of momentum. It will become just another cable channel competing for the time of housewives and science geeks.

In some industries, it is important to make a first impression and to open shop with a bang. This can have more impact than anything else you do in the course of your business. Having a great logo design and visual identity is the first step to making this impact.