It doesn’t need much of an introduction but just to go through the motions: Established in 1943 as a radio station and first broadcast on TV in 1948, ABC (American Broadcasting Company) is one of the “Big Three” — NBC and CBS are the other two — television networks in the United States and is owned by Disney (since 1996). Some big primetime hits for ABC have included Lost, Grey’s Anatomy, Who Wants to be a Millionaire and plenty of other successes (and failures). Late this Spring, ABC introduced a revised logo and new on-air look designed by New York, NY-based Loyalkaspar. A comprehensive case study is available here.
When I see the old logo with all those strange gradients and reflections it feels like someone didn’t design it like that on purpose to serve as the main logo but that some series of unfortunate events led the logo to be like that after animation tests or some overzealous airbrusher went to town on it for a promo. Network TV logos are so overdecorated that it didn’t raise any eyebrows. But when compared to the new softer look — which is still drenched in far more gradients and shines that Mr. Rand ever expected — the old logo looks almost comical.
If we assume that gradients are a must for ABC, then this is one of the better executions we will see. There is some purpose to it and the color variants give it an extra boost in moodiness. My only complaint would be that the top left part of the logo seems to me made from a shinier and more reflective material than the bottom right section that is more matte. Going back to Paul Rand’s typography and proportions is a cute homage and makes a small difference, although nothing the larger populace will ever notice, but a pat on the back for the nod to history.
In application, with the use of the new ABC Modern typeface, which has an interesting bluntness to it, gives the identity some edge and makes it feel contemporary without having to try too hard. Overall, a smooth redesign that goes back to basics. Relatively.
Thanks to Corwin Thiessen for the tip.