Less Toon-y, More Real


Have you heard of Teletoon? The Canadians in my audience are nodding, while the Americans are saying “Heard of what?” Teletoon is basically Canada’s version of Cartoon Network, a television channel that offers a variety of animation programs for both children and adults. We wrote about the Cartoon Network rebranding when it happened a while back, and now we are seeing our neighbor to the north follow the same trend.

The old logo design was colorful and cartoonish, a fitting image for the network. The angling of the words gave it a comic book quality that was appealing to toon lovers of all ages. This logo design worked. It was a great representative of the channel, which holds the bar high for its replacement.

The new logo design turns the old ones shape into a three dimensional rendering, complete with shadowing and raised wording. The bright and eye-catching color scheme has been changed into a cooler yellow and white. The comic book quality and most of the character are gone, leaving the skeleton of the old logo.

Although it seems like 3-D would make the image more dynamic and alive, it actually seems to have just the opposite effect. The new logo design feels heavy and clunky. The color scheme just sucks. Despite the many reasons to dislike this logo, there is one thing about it that I really don’t like: it is not even a real redesign. The designers merely took the old logo design and rendered it in another format and color—poorly chosen ones at that. That’s not rebranding. It isn’t even a brand evolution. Anyone could have done this with a minimal amount of cheap software.

On the other hand, the new 3D logo design will be easier to render in the on-air animations that are so important right now. Also, the simpler color scheme will make it easier to build a brand color palette. On the other hand, this logo design (as with so many three dimensional ones) will not work well in off-air formats. On t-shirts and other 2-D materials, the logo design will lose what little charm it has. This will become more and more apparent when it is faxed or copied into a low-resolution format.

Television stations must have great TV Channel logos because branding is crucial to their success. Even before viewers view a program, they must make a conscious decision to turn to any given channel. Branding has a huge effect on this decision. The old logo design was dynamic and had the right mix of retro and modern—in short, it made me want to see what is on. The new one is overly technological yet lacks interest, which is hardly the impression that the channel is trying to make.

Think twice before going with a three dimensional logo design. For some companies, this can be a good strategy. However, for most people it simply does not work. As with most logo design devices, it can only work effectively in a few situations.