(Est. 1847) “Tribune Publishing Company is an American newspaper and print media publishing company based in Chicago, Illinois. Among other publications, the company’s portfolio includes the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Orlando Sentinel, Sun-Sentinel [South Florida], The Baltimore Sun, The Morning Call [Allentown, Pennsylvania], Hartford Courant, and the San Diego Union-Tribune. It also publishes several local newspapers in these metropolitan regions, which are organized in subsidiary groups. It is the nation’s third-largest newspaper publisher (behind Gannett, and The McClatchy Company), with ten daily newspapers and commuter tabloids located throughout the United States.” (Wikipedia)
On June 2, 2016, the company announced that it would rebrand itself as “tronc”, short for “tribune online content’.”
“Tribune Publishing Co. (NYSE:TPUB) today announced that the Company will change its name to tronc, Inc., a content curation and monetization company focused on creating and distributing premium, verified content across all channels. tronc, or tribune online content, captures the essence of the Company’s mission. tronc pools the Company’s leading media brands and leverages innovative technology to deliver personalized and interactive experiences to its 60 million monthly users. The name change will become effective on June 20, 2016.” (Press release)
Images (opinion after)
The old logo wasn't great but it wasn't bad and, in general, the whole Tribune Publishing / Tribune Media / Tribune This and That ecosystem is visually confusing. But, really, we are not here to talk about whatever was before — perhaps not even the fact that this is a 169-year-old company acting like a 2013 tech bro who just got invited to be one of the first wearers of Google Glass — we are here to talk about possibly the biggest branding train wreck of the year.
Let's start with the name: tribune online content, all lowercase, portmanteau'd into tronc, all lowercase. Tribune Online Content, properly capitalized? Fine. tribune online content, all lowercase even after a period? Uncool-dad-trying-to-be-cool. tronc? Stupid. But I'll try to expand beyond that: the name sounds horrible, it's like an onomatopoeia for the sound your brain makes when it has run out of good ideas. The name does not convey "tribune" or "online" or "content"… it doesn't convey anything. At all. Even prescription drug names are more evocative. It's really hard to explain why the name is so bad but just thinking it, not even saying it out loud, is like nails on a chalkboard. If they have achieved anything of worth with the name is that it has given us a new punchline for years.
The logo… I'm either assuming or hoping that the circuit board design is only for teaser purposes and that it will eventually go away and only leave the wordmark with the trailing bits as the logo which would make it suck 100% less, which is a great improvement because right now it sucks 200%. It's really hard to understand why a company of this size with the history it has behind it would choose to be represented by such an amateur piece of typography that, even if we argued that it's all about personal tastes and that maybe this is not mine, has no conceptual or contextual appropriateness to the business, unless the business were Nickelodeon launching a new animated parody of Tron. Maybe on June 20, when this officially launches we will be surprised by the official rollout and implementation but, I doubt it. In the meantime, I'm all tronc'd out of things to say, so I'll stop.
Thanks to Ben Zigterman for the tip.