First aired in 1998, Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! (WWDTM) is a weekly, hour-long, quiz show on the radio produced by NPR (National Public Radio) and WBEZ Chicago, broadcast on more than 600 stations around the country. WWDTM’s hook is its whip smart humor and irreverent spin they put on the news and culture, led by fast-talking host Peter Sagal who puts three panelists through the ringer with various quizzes that test their knowledge and ability to detect fake news. WWDTM tapes in front of a live audience in Chicago, it goes on the road where cult followers attend tapings, hosts an annual live event at Chicago’s Millennium Park, and even has the Fathom Events treatment where it is simulcast in movie theaters across the U.S.. This week, the Peabody Award-winning show introduced a new logo designed by Boulder, CO-based Michael Casebolt.
Update: NPR confirms that the four designers who submitted logo concepts were all paid.
After taking in all of our feedback, Casebolt came up with a clear winner: the ‘newsclamation point’ icon. Well, that’s what we like to call it anyway. It cleverly represents the show at its core, while also being bold and unique enough to stand alone.
This project clearly breaks my main criteria for a review: it’s not big. It’s the identity for a radio show. Not the radio station. Not the parent company of the radio station. The identity for one hour’s worth of a show with relatively minimal mainstream appeal. But you know what? The process and the story — although I prefer to pretend I didn’t read this line, “We asked them each to develop a series of logo comps and, eventually, we selected one skilled designer,” here — and the result is far more spirited, for lack of a better word, than much of the big-company stuff we tend to show.
It’s not the most revolutionizing logo and it has its issues — when made small, the dummy copy on the icon gets all mushed, and, when made big, the rounded strokes generated by Adobe Illustrator where vector points meet or end are too obvious and not sanded off visually as they should be — but it has a concept behind it, and it’s a single color logo, and it’s flat, and it’s an exclamation point! I also like that this is a job anyone of us could get, not just an unattainable airline or mass consumer product. And it’s a good time for this redesign too, given the extinction rate of newspapers: had they waited another two or three years to do it no one would understand what kind of artifact the exclamation point is made out of.