Launched in 1989, RTL 4 is the most-watched television channel in the Netherlands with a combination of programming that includes drama series, talk shows, game shows, news and talent shows (that include global staples like Idols, X Factor, Holland’s Got Talent, and The Voice). Soap operas, news, late night, and American imports like CSI round out the programming. Owned by RTL Group (originally Radio Television Luxemburg), RTL 4 brethren to channels RTL 5, RTL 7, and RTL 8 in the Netherlands, that all shared a consistent identity from 2004 until 2012 when the other channels began introducing stand-alone identities and this month’s redesign of RTL 4 completes the transformation for all of them. The new logo and on-air look for RTL 4 were designed by Hilversum-based Fin Design.
I really liked the old system of logos. Simple, effective, and cohesive. When used small they looked like amplified signals leading up to the channel number. The evolution of the other three channels hasn’t yielded anything dramatically better — a gigantic 5, a generic 7, and a Hello Kitty-meets-HAL 8. The new RTL 4 is the most successful of the redesigns with an “rtl” treatment that more closely resembles the rhythm of the old one and is also the nicest of all the new “rtl” treatments. The new “4” — if you close your eyes and imagine it without the cheap gloss effect — is a decent interpretation of the number. Not the best for sure but not the worst. Sadly, no matter how hard you close your eyes, the “4” does have the cheap gloss effect and its lock-up relationship to the “rtl” wordmark is non-existent other than they appear together but there is no real harmony between them.
The logo comes alive nicely on screen, with a Transformers-y behavior that justifies the the stencil approach and allows for some interesting animation moments. Overall, it’s a decent evolution and hopefully in a year or two the channel will drop the gloss in favor of flat aesthetic that will be more flattering.
Thanks to Aron van Stek for the tip.