CNN’s Fast and Easy Logo


People all over the world recognize the CNN logo. This simple iconic image represents one of the globe’s most prominent and respected news networks. However, there was a time when CNN was Cable News Network, a small network on cable television that was desperate to build up a reputation and a fan base. In 1980, cable news was a new field and CNN was a network about to get off the ground. This was when the CNN logo was designed—in less than 48 hours.

While branding is second nature to many television stations now, it was an afterthought in 1980. Very little was known or understood about the power of logo design. The station was about to open when its ad agency realized that it would need a logo of some sort. They turned to a logo design agency and asked for a rush job. The designers had forty-eight hours, in which yielded four or five designs. The one that was chosen was the one we see today in the corner of our television screen.

The logo is simple and has been used in its original form for more than thirty years now. Although there have been minor, unnoticeable changes, the idea remains the same. The network’s initials are written in rounded, connected lettering. A cable runs through the logo—in reference to cable television. The rounded letters give a friendly feeling, but the thickness of them is all business. Red coloring attracts attention and makes the logo visible against a variety of backgrounds, which is important as it sits at the bottom corner of the television screen regardless of what is being shown.

This is a good example of a simple logo, but it says a lot about the company. The way the letters are connected allows the cable image but also gives a sense of interconnectedness that is increasingly important in modern times. Further, the cable is noticeable to people who realize it is there, but does not dominate the design. This has allowed the logo to stay in use even as television has changed to satellite and digital formats.

As time has passed, the CNN logo has also been used in different animations. The most memorable of these may be the heartbeat image, in which the logo appears to be a heartbeat on an EKG machine. This just goes to show the versatility of this design.

Does this mean that you can expect your logo designer to produce an equally high quality logo design for your own business under this type of time crunch? It should be noted that, as with all people, there are times when a logo designer gets in a flow and comes up with the perfect logo in minutes. However, these times are rare. For most logo designers in most instances, the process of creating a logo is intensive and intricate. If you want a logo that is simple and meaningful for your business, talk to a logo designer today—but give them more than two days for the process!