Launched in 1999 — although its origins, previous owners, names, and iterations go back to 1981 — the TV Guide Network (TVGN) was a cable channel that you could pop into at any time and see a rolling listing, hour by hour, of what was programmed for each channel for the next handful of hours. (One step above in excitement from watching paint dry). It was the real-time counterpart to the bi-weekly TV Guide publication. The channel’s screen was split into two, one area for the rolling guide and the other for ads, eventually custom shows. Since on-demand program guides on cable boxes are now a basic right of every owner, the raison d’être of TVGN was moot. In 2009, TVGN was acquired by Lionsgate and CBS Corporation who announced last September the channel would rebrand as Pop this January and forget all about that program-listing thing. Pop, as its name implies, is all about pop culture, with a programming that includes everything from re-runs of popular shows like 90210 to entertainment news shows to original scripted shows like the upcoming Schitt’s Creek (which looks as awesome as Eugene Levy’s eyebrows — that would make it really awesome in case I wasn’t clear). The new identity and on-air look has been designed in close collaboration with Pop’s network team by New York, NY- and Venice, CA-based loyalkaspar.
There is no point in talking about the old logo, since these are completely different channels now — I’ll just say the old one was pointy. The new logo is very much in your face, with the word “Pop” bursting out of its holding shape and, with its extra tight tracking, looking like its about to explode like an over-inflated balloon. I really like the tension created in the wordmark and, oddly enough, the smooshed letters look really good together. It would have been easy to design a symmetrical “pop” or “POP” logo — I know it wouldn’t be “symmetrical” but you know what I mean… palindromic — so the choice to go with an italic “Pop” configuration is somewhat unexpected. The logo works better as cut-out (as seen above) than a two-tone (as seen above above) or when it’s encased as in the footer of their website.
The Pop brand is built around flags, banners, and nonchalant language. The latter has probably reached its tipping point, where all channels want to talk to you like you talk with your buddies or gal pals or as if you were constantly on Twitter. It started with IFC and Comedy Central it seems, then IFC again, and now it’s all over the place. It’s enjoyable, but maybe it’s time to move on?
The on-air look is really fun and very well done. There is a great combination of typography that goes from a condensed italic to a chunky serif, providing some interesting contrasts. The banners and flags have cool and smooth animation behaviors that frame the content really well. The color palette is a restrained range of vibrant colors that don’t make your eyes bleed. Overall, it’s just very well done and appropriate for the name and content of the channel.