Launched in 1989, RTL Nieuws is responsible for the news segments across some of the channels of the large Dutch television network RTL, focusing on morning, night, and weekend televised bulletins while its online platforms are busy 24-7. This month, RTL Nieuws introduced a completely revamped presence, from its broadcasting studio to its new logo and on-air graphics, designed in collaboration by Mark Porter Associates and Smörgåsbord Studio with assists from Universal Everything for opening titles, Commercial Type for a customized version of their own Graphik, and composer Martijn Schimmer for the mnemonic.
Designer Mark Porter: “In a world where most TV appearance still stuck in the eighties, we went looking for a fresh idea for RTL News. Television channels no longer have a monopoly on the news. We live in the age of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, where people can search for what is happening in the world, “Dylan Griffith continues.” We have created an environment where presenters and editors to communicate clearly and directly with the public. Typography, color and imagery all play an important role in telling the best possible news stories. The frame is not only the basis for the new design, but represents what RTL News every day doing: select news from the tsunami of information that is relevant to their audience.”
I feel naked with so few images on a Review but most of the material is in the video above, which you should watch if you want to follow along the rest of the words that I’m about to string together.
The previous logo followed the somewhat loose and strict format of other RTL channels — see the evidence (from this post from August of last year) — but it really seems like there is no rhyme or reason as to which channel gets the growing “rtl” logo and which gets to choose their own. Since RTL Nieuws isn’t a channel but a program within the channels I can see why it would want or need to be different, so let’s assume that was the right decision to begin with: the new logo is an interesting bit of typography with the “rtl” being as simple as possible and sure to tickle the fancy of anyone who knows who Wim Crouwel is. The accompanying “nieuws”, however, feels so heavy and clashing and the heavy serif never makes another appearance in the identity that I wonder why they didn’t just use Graphik instead in the logo. Also, my first reaction to the logo was that it looked too much like a The Guardian property, which makes sense as Mark Porter is the former creative director of that news enterprise. Having expressed some of that negativity, the “rtl” animation from the platform frames is quite amazing. To summarize: “rtl” good, “nieuws” bad.
On the air, the graphics are sharp and straightforward — perhaps too much of the latter. The choice of Graphik is the one thing keeping it from falling into boring Helvetica stuff, which is what it looks like at first glance. There are some other nice additions to the system, like the animated weather icons and the groovy cityscape animation from Universal Everything. Overall, it’s a very well thought-out system that translates nicely from TV broadcast to smartphone browsing.
Thanks to Sjoerd Kulsdom for the tip.