Hinted to as early as July of 2012 and officially announced this past December, Rupert Mudorch’s News Corporation is splitting into two separate businesses. The first, to remain named News Corporation will handle all the publishing properties — newspapers and magazines — like The Wall Street Journal and The New York Post, with the former’s managing editor, Robert Thompson, as CEO. The second, to be renamed 21st Century Fox will handle the entertainment properties — cable and television channels, filmed entertainment, and direct satellite broadcasting businesses — including the FOX network, 20th Century FOX, FX, among dozens of other channels with Rupert Murdoch as CEO. Absolutely every single property will retain its existing name and logo. The name, 21st Century Fox, will serve as the parent company only and the logo — announced this past Thursday via an e-mail to employees — will only be a business-to-business mark. It was designed by Pentagram partners Michael Gericke and Emily Oberman.
The name and symbol distill the elements of Fox’s familiar searchlights-and-monument logo into a dynamic new identity. The 21st Century Fox logo features a pair of sweeping searchlights that suggest entertainment, broadcasting and limitless possibilities within a circle shape inspired by a lens. Iconic and distinctive, the symbol is accompanied by a wordmark set in strong, stacked lettering that is derived from the typographic pedestal of the Twentieth Century Fox logo and Fox Broadcasting’s wordmark.
— Pentagram project page
“Today I am proud to unveil our new logo, which serves as a powerful symbol of the inspiration and high bar set by our company. Like our name, the logo reflects the rich creative heritage of Twentieth Century Fox and signals the promise of the 21st century and our restless drive toward the future.”
— E-mail from News Corp. Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch to employees
To clarify for a third time, the new logo does not replace the famous 20th Century Fox logo and movie opener — I’ll take bets now on how many people in the comments bitch about how that logo should not have been changed. Anyway, with that in mind, this new logo has a couple of roles to play or things to communicate: 1) Its association with all things “FOX” and 2) its role as an entertainment company. The first is achieved by modeling the typography after the FOX Network logo (shown in blue above) and to a certain degree on the lettering on the 20th Century Fox logo as well as by translating its moving spotlights into a static version that, in turn, help achieve the second aspect of entertainment: Creating an instant association with the famous logo and red carpet events and movie openings that enjoy the spectacle of moving spotlights.
So, the logo does its job. It just happens to do it in a rather underwhelming way. The typography feels far too informal — and Kabel-ish — to elicit the associations with the monument-like lettering of the studio it takes its name from and there is also something not quite finished or finessed about the spotlights in a circle, or maybe it’s just the large size of it against the typography. Perhaps we’ve grown so accustomed to the corporate-ness of News Corp. that this relatively playful logo is just not corporate enough.
Finally, for some levity and because there really aren’t that many opportunities to break this out, I leave you with one of the best renditions of the 20th Century Fox fanfare. Take it away, Mr. Wiggum.