Based in Philadelphia, with approximately 100,000 employees worldwide, Comcast is the largest provider of cable, internet and digital phone in the United States with 23.6 million, 15.9 million, and 7.6 million customers respectively. To add to its media influence, this past December, Comcast became the majority owner of NBC Universal with a 51% stake in the company in partnership with GE, who owns the other 49%. Comcast also owns television networks like E! Entertainment, the Golf Channel and Sprouts. With a diversifying range of businesses, the parent company, Comcast Corporation announced last week that it would rebrand its consumer services — cable, internet, and digital phone — to XFINITY. All caps. The three services will now be called XFINITY TV, XFINITY Voice and XFINITY Internet, and will begin to be rolled out this week in eleven markets, with the name and identity appearing in advertising, uniforms, trucks and on the cable user interface.
Surprisingly, there was no press release with a rationalization for the name or any explanations of how the logo represents cutting edge technology and XFINITY’s commitment to its customers. Or whatever. The new name feels at the same time pompous and clichéd — as if there is no brighter horizon than the infinity of XFINITY but, really, nothing is as depressing as a badly placed “X,” a gesture better reserved for extreme games and products, for bad dot-com era start-ups and for strip-club dancers not named Destiny. It might sound more fun than “Comcast” but at least Comcast sounds like a real company with almost fifty years of experience.
The logo is nearly decent once you accept the name, although it falls prey to a number of clichés as well. First there is the lowercase approach which, if it weren’t for the obligation to write it in text as XFINITY, it wouldn’t be as obnoxious but having that extreme difference will only lead to confusion. Then there is the omission of the tittles, the dots of the “i,” that does create a cleaner wordmark but I believe lowercase “i”s are meant to live in harmony with their dots be it in this lifetime or in infinity. There is a nice gesture when the “f” and “t” join with the “x” and “y” and their crossbars are edged at the same angle as the diagonal characters. But this nice move is offset by too much space between the rest of the letters — “xf” and “ty” become tightly kerned, and the rest is too spacious. When you think about it, this identity could have been more xtremely designed, and it’s surprising that there was so much restraint shown, so let’s appreciate that, because there isn’t much else.