Have you heard of Current TV? Have you watched it lately? For many Americans—too many for owner and founder Al Gore—the answer is no. However, the TV channel is hoping that a new visual identity will attract interested viewers and place the channel on the same level as other cable favorites such as CNN and Lifetime.
Current TV is very different from other television stations. Instead of running programming by the half-hour or hour, like other stations, it features smaller ‘pods’ that represent a variety of topics and viewpoints. The result is an eclectic mix of programming that viewers can tune into at any time. Launched in 2005, Current is basically a cable version of YouTube. Despite this interesting take on television, very few people watch the channel.
However, a few aspects of Current TV are changing, factors that just may elevate the brand reputation in a very shirt time frame. First, Keith Olbermann of CNN fame is moving exclusively to Current. Olbermann brings with him a sizeable following as well as a recognizable fame. Second, the brand is currently in the middle of transitioning to the traditional thirty and sixty minute time slots at least part of the time; it ends up that most viewers are not comfortable with alternative timing. Last, the brand is adopting a new logo design and visual identity that, management hopes, will woo new viewers and present the brand as a viable choice.
Remember when Howard Stern moved to satellite radio and gave it instant street cred? That’s what Current is hoping will happen here. However, the changes in the logo design are certainly interesting. The new Current TV logo design retains the serious, square feeling of the old one, but loses the informality of the lower case letters. Instead of three dots at the end to give a feeling of constant movement, the logo itself moves, fluttering as though it is a flag. This will certainly make it easy to create the relevant on-air animations that are so popular in the television industry right now!
The Current TV logo also loses the lime green accent, although it gains much more. The new logo design is not color-dependent. While we usually advocate choosing a color palette as part of the logo design process, television stations are a unique situation. They must work well with a variety of programming. The simple black and white are flexible enough to avoid clashing, and it is eye-catching while creating a simple, recognizable image. Because the image is in motion, this is extremely important. Many TV stations incorporate a variety of colors to ensure that at least one of them match; avoiding color altogether is simpler and just as effective.
The old logo is also extremely square—in fact, it is constructed of the small shape, like pixels or building blocks. The new logo design uses bars above and below the lettering to create a rectangular shape and maintain the serious feeling. The implication is that the seriousness of the programming will not be changing despite the change in brand.