A couple of weeks ago I noted the new logo for NowThis News. There was no information about it and the post only showed the old and new logos. I didn’t even include an old and new sample video which, in retrospect I should have as, at least, the end frames provided another point of reference for an opinion. Still, I had not much else to go by. Luckily, New York, NY-based Work-Order raised their hand, claimed responsibility, and dropped a boatload of supporting images and animation behaviors to prove wrong my lukewarm assessment.
I originally called the logo “an improvement technically as the logo is cleaner, simpler, and arguably more useful” but also deemed it “a step backward in that it’s now more generic and less recognizable.” My opinion on the logo stays more or less the same in that it’s not the most exciting thing in the world but after seeing all the stuff you will see below I can’t NOT admit to be wrong that the new logo is stronger than the old monogram and that it will eventually become as easily recognizable. The new logo’s non-exciting-ness is what makes it work as part of a system and gives it more flexibility and adaptability than the old logo could have ever hoped for.
Taking a more discerning look at a sample old video shows that the essence of the identity of NowThis isn’t the logo but how the story is presented and the typography that hooks you into clicking it as you are perusing all the muted videos on Facebook. Recent videos have used a minty green color to highlight text and have a penchant for making words bigger to call attention which usually looks dopey and like a simple typographic exercise. Other than the logo at the end there wasn’t much NowThis-ness to the video… and speaking about the end frame animation of the old videos, they had this rapid-fire showing of alternate font and lock-up versions of the name leading up to the monogram, perhaps as a way to signal that NowThis can appeal to everyone or perhaps as a way to show non-selected logos from the original first round. Point being: there was no overarching identity story in place for the videos and that’s where this new identity gets interesting.
As it’s imperative to respond instantly to the news cycle, which put the focus on creating a comprehensive set of tools producers can deploy FAST (sometimes as quick as 10 minutes from breaking news to finished video). The toolkit positions itself right between making the source clearly Now This while not getting in the way of the story’s impact. The frame becomes the brand.
One of the biggest (yet simplest) changes is how the story text is handled: single size, all uppercase, always hinged on the bottom-left corner. This literally anchors all the videos and establishes a consistent hook. The rest of the typography that has to be included in the video — mainly footage and image credits or quotes or subtitles — all revolve nicely around it and are clearly identifiable as different elements. The coolest change, though, are the new transitions between the video and the introduction of a more purposeful editorial voice that, when necessary accompanies the viewer through the length of the clip.
Sorry, I do realize this grid of animated GIFs is a little seizure-esque but I wanted to show as many of the transitions and end frames available and this was the best way. It’s amazing how many exciting things can be done with the stroke of a logo that “someone” has called “not the most exciting thing in the world” (me). Because the videos are so short, the transitions and end frames barely last a second and gives them a high-energy feel that adds some graphic bursts to the videos. More importantly, they add a connecting thread to all these videos that are so disparate in the style of content they show (as the footage comes from all kind of sources) that they defy being branded — something that this system manages to do.
The frame of the logo extends to other applications and aims to become the defining element of the identity. Obviously, it works better in motion but, still, that business card’s chunky stroke is nothing to scoff at. Overall, this is a great system that gives NowThis a unified, bold, and consistent presentation style that has the difficult challenge of establishing it as a recurring and unique source of content in an online environment full of competition.