Launched in 1985 (as VH-1 for “Video Hits One”), VH1 is a cable channel operated by MTV Networks and owned by Viacom with programming that includes music videos, exclusive events, live performances, music documentaries, and TV series. Like its sister channel, MTV, VH1 has mutated into a reality TV channel — i.e., Mob Wives, Basketball Wives, Hollywood Exes, Mama Drama, Rehab with Dr. Drew, etc. — where sometimes you might catch a music video or two. Over the weekend, and to start off the new year with a large rebrand, VH1 introduced a new logo and on-air look that signify what the channel has, reportedly, always been: “The Ultimate Mash Up”. No
design credit given or press release issued but you can follow the launch with the #plussed hash tag. The logo and on-air package have been designed by New York, NY-based Gretel.
All I can say is good effin’ riddance. The old logo is one of my most despised of all time and although in execution on-air it was more or less salvaged by clever animation, the underlying structure was always bunk. The new logo is… interesting. I like that it references the very first logo in its history both visually and by re-introducing the hyphen as a plus. When I first saw the logo I immediately got it that the “H” formed a plus but it poses a slight readability problem in that it reads as “VI + 1”. The logo and new on-air typography have that unpolished look that seems to be a new trend with letterforms that have harsh cuts and small rounded corners that just take the edge off the sans serif without going into rounded sans serif territory. The on-air looks promising and full of potential but I wonder how long the “flat” look will last and/or how many takes on plus signs the audience can endure. Overall, I can’t help but be pleased by the change and this cements VH1 as the Pepsi to MTV’s Coca-Cola where the former has gone through six logo changes while the latter remains relatively unchanged.