Oprah Comes into her OWN… Again

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What do you do if your visual identity falls flat? You simply get a new one. What do you do if that one falls flat as well? Same answer. Oprah Winfrey may be one of the queens of personal branding, but we are wondering how many brands her eponymous television channel can blow through before it even launches. This week we saw the introduction of the channel’s third logo design.

The first logo seemed fine enough. A cool and modern lime green was the main color. The name of the network was written in a business-like font, with the signature cursive ‘O’ from the television show in the background. We thought this logo was a good blend of the old and new brands, but then a new one was introduced.

The second logo design was as different from the first as you can get. A warm and youthful orange replaced the cool green, and bubbly thick letters were as different from the originals as you could get. The background O was removed and the only adornment was a horizontal gradient in color. This was a friendlier, more personable version of the first, and a considerably younger one. It was the Skipper to the first logo’s Barbie, but was it serious enough for a television network? Before we could even contemplate this question, a third logo design was released.

The third logo is related to the first two… kind of. We see a sans-serif font wedged into a serif one, to blend business with pleasure so to speak. The orange and green are both similar to those that we saw in the first two logos as well. The word ‘own’ is written in three dimensional letters that, if you look closely at each, appear to be seen from different perspectives. We aren’t sure whether this is due to sloppy logo design or if it was purposeful, but it gives the logo a slightly incongruent and unreal look. Underneath, the full name of the network is written in thin, unassuming letters that are blessedly simple considering the bold and complicated nature of the acronym. Orange, green, and purple are a popular color combination in both decorating and graphic design right now, but we wonder if they are a little too trendy to go the distance. On the other hand, this company seems to have no qualms about rebranding whenever they see fit.

Okay, Oprah is somewhat of a branding genius, so why are we questioning her? After all, she has the right to define, redefine, and re-redefine herself to her heart’s content. However, we would like to point out that Oprah is stepping into uncharted territory (for her) with the closing of her show and the opening of her network. No longer will she be a familiar, beloved character crying with celebrities and giving away cars. She is going to need a stronger, more powerful brand, one that doesn’t change as often as her waistline. We’re not thrilled with the new logo design, but we hope she sticks with it for continuity’s sake.