Launched this past March, CNBC Prime is a new programming block — like, say, Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim or Cinemax’s Max After Dark — of both documentary and reality original shows to air during primetime (8:00 to 11:00 pm). During the day and early evening, CNBC continues its programming focusing on business news and providing real time market coverage and financial information, that has attracted an affluent, male following primed for the content and look and feel of CNBC Prime. The logo and on-air package that provide a clear contrast between day and night were designed by New York, NY-based Gretel.
We engineered the look, feel, motion and voice to create a premium, masculine brand with an edge. Stark black and white photography and simple, monospaced type create a marked contrast to the busy, colorful, data-driven daypart. Language injects the design with a confident, cocky tone. In motion, the imagery shears into clean, graphic slices that ease from shot to shot with the precision of a Swiss watch. A crisp logo resolve caps off every promo and ID. The mark itself is simple, balanced and bold.
— Gretel case study
“In prime, we’re taking a more personal look at business and money,” said Ackerman. “That backdrop encompasses all the elements of great story. These are shows that speak to the American Dream. It’s about ambitions and second chances; failure and success.”
— CNBC press release
After watching the montage and the live-action library there is no remnant of a doubt who this programming is for: dudes, with an emphasis on rich dudes. As unappealing as that demographic might be nowadays, the branding of CNBC Prime is both unquestionably on target and expertly done. The whole mood is very James Bond meets Gordon Gecko but with a great, graphic edge in the monospaced typography and big headlines. At times the look is so slick and minimalist that it looks like all those fake redesigns you see on Behance of minimalist American Airlines or whatever where you think, “No client would ever buy that.” But here they have and it works like a charm. An expensive charm. The logo is the least integrated element of the project — it sort of looks like the CNBC lettering and it sort of tries to do its own thing but it sort of doesn’t do either — but it’s not really a bad logo and it blends into the on-air graphics without calling much attention to itself, not that it would have any luck trying what with all those fast cars and babes.