Launched in 1996, Animal Planet is a TV channel dedicated to, mostly, animals and is perhaps best known for giving us The Crocodile Hunter. Like all channels in the U.S. it went through (and is still going through) a reality programming phase. Today Animal Planet — which is available to 360 million homes in more than 205 countries and territories — defines itself as being “dedicated to creating high quality content with global appeal delivering on its mission to keep the childhood joy and wonder of animals alive by bringing people up close in every way” with content that “that explores the undeniable bonds forged between animals and humans, optimized across all screens around the world”. As the cornerstone of this new proposition is the latest show, Crikey! It’s the Irwins, blending family and animals with its launch later this month marking the start of a new identity for Animal Planet designed by New York, NY-based Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv.
“Animal Planet has been a much-loved brand around the world for more than 20 years and the time has never been more right to engage with mass audiences across every platform who are as passionate about animals as we are.” said Dinnage. “We are able to reach all generations through our content and storytelling - we are here to entertain and delight by bringing people up close to animals and nature. With recent successes we go from strength to strength as we position Animal Planet as a global brand leader.”
“Animal Planet required a mark to represent the global aspect of the brand, as an experience that translates across countries, regions and cultures and beyond linear: a platform agnostic approach,” said Pablo Pulido, Vice President, Marketing, Animal Planet. “CGH is known for developing iconic brand marks and I’m excited they delivered a truly global mark for Animal Planet.”
The historic Animal Planet logo—an elephant with the globe—retained a great deal of recognition and affection. Moreover, the core concept was appropriate, as an elephant is a majestic, exotic, and intelligent animal, wondrous enough to represent the entire animal kingdom. In this fresh and distinctive rendition, the new leaping elephant captures the joy and energy of the beloved Animal Planet brand.
I was surprised to be reminded that the previous logo was introduced in the seemingly ages-ago 2008. I never quite liked the old logo with the sideways “M” but I also have not watched Animal Planet since at least 2008 so I can’t complain much. The old-old logo (shown first in this post) wasn’t that great either and it was quite literal, showing an animal and a planet (ours) but it felt like it was trying less hard to stand out. The new logo returns to the elephant, tinted in blue (perhaps from the image of the globe), and leaping across the wordmark. It’s kind of charming to see an elephant leaping like a puppy and definitely moves the channel into more family-friendly territory and away from the more aggressive tone of the old logo. I like the new icon and the abstraction of the elephant but it somehow feels more like a retail brand than a TV brand, which may not be a bad thing as there is plenty of Animal Planet merchandise. The only execution part I question is the trunk, which seems awfully long — I understand it’s not a realistic replica of an elephant’s exact physical dimensions but if you were to straighten the trunk it would extend well beyond the elephant’s feet. Still, I get it.
The wordmark is fairly plain. I’m on the fence about whether it’s good or bad that it’s all in lowercase. My preference would be title case, but I can see how adding an uppercase “A” would add the only angled letterform in an otherwise round-y set of letters. My guess is the wordmark will eventually, slowly disappear and make the icon the main, perhaps sole, identifier.
As usual, the Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv applications don’t tell us much other than the logo can be placed on anything. There is no indication of how an overall identity or on-air graphics will look but I guess that will come in due time and most likely from Discovery’s in-house group. The promo above begins to hint at something with the icon used extra large and bleeding off the screen to frame content (check the :25 mark), which would be interesting in static applications as well with the tight curves of the icon looking almost like the image has been amicably clawed by a tiger. Overall, it’s an interesting corporate-like approach for a TV channel logo and I think it’s a very beneficial change of direction for Animal Planet.