CT&D #58. For the Love of Logos

Describe a logo that you have seen and liked as well as one you don’t like. Why does one work as opposed to the other? What do you think the message is in the logo(s) (or what they are trying to say?)

In general, there are a lot of logos that I feel “work” because they are so recognizable to such an extent that there really is no deep thinking required as to how one logo simply works over the another, especially if an old logo has been used both ubiquitously and for a good amount of time spanning generations. One such example is the splat logo identifying the famous kids channel Nickelodeon. As such, let me talk about a logo that I like and a logo that I just don’t care for – the simple reason being that one just captures the creative gist of a company better than its successive logo.

The old logo above was used for 25 years (1984 to 2009) and aside from nostalgic reasons, this logo works better than its 2009 successor (shown below) because simply so, I am contrasting between “distinctive and exciting” graphics to “one-note and boring” text. With logos, there is (or used to be) a sense of meaning behind what a logo’s visuals meant, even in typeface. In this case, the splat logo mimics Nickelodeon’s most famous symbol: slime which was formerly synonymous with the company. Since slime was used in recreationally and comedically in association with Nick that of which provided zaniness and excitement to kids and adult viewers / participants alike, it symbolized the channel and by extension, the logo itself as a fun symbol of sorts.

However, which age and shifting cultural times, the second logo came into existence and replaced the famous and well-known splat logo. With this change, there is so much visual meaning lost. Even with text logos of today (which are being used more alongside initialism, notably for TV and print media), I for one can see the visual meanings and values in them if they at least were designed with creative typography in mind. Perhaps instead of “nickelodeon” being the only means for the revamped logo (even with the specific font they used to make the text appear smooth and rounded), they could manipulate (kern, warp, or stretch) the text in a manner that would be visually appealing to a viewer or in a way that could perhaps be a call back to previous logos that derived from the old 1984 logo (such as the Nick logo being a flag, where mimicking such form would require transforming the text like a wave akin to a flag waving). There needs to be some creativity here…

In addition, the 2009 logo is somewhat similar to the 1981 “Silver Ball” logo above but has a background (pinball) graphic accompanying the text; which is exactly what the current text logo is missing: a visual! Overall, the current logo’s message is somewhat lost as a text-based visual sans the orange font as it does signifies Nickelodeon’s color but its overall brand identity just doesn’t do it for me and is an example of how I really dislike branding in logos and advertising in general.

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