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TBS is Laughing Matter

New York Times, April 2004

“In cable, unless you stand for something, you’re doomed.” — Steven R. Koonin, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer in Atlanta for TBS and TNT

June 4, 2004, 4:28:30 p.m. (to be precise)

“The moment we at TBS have been waiting for is here. We will be the ‘home of funny.’” — Steven R. Koonin, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer in Atlanta for TBS and TNT

Developed by Publicis New York, TBS’ new branding is about being funny — very funny. (How about that use of .tv? Could it become more popular than the cornball .biz?). The new logo is meant to represent a smile that is best appreciated when the logo animates [upper-left corner], however, in its final “position” it is hardly smiling — more like a cut-up, half grapefruit. The typographic treatment is somewhat amateurish, with each letter seeming to come from different type families. And the low ascender-height is not very flattering.

(I would go as far as generalizing that this is what happens when agencies that predominantly do advertising — as is the case with Publicis — take on branding work, but that would be a blanket statement that some will be quick to refute.)

The on-air graphics are brightly-colored, fast-paced and currently take up a good 20% of your TVs’ physical space, giving life to an otherwise stale identity. TBS’ new identity is “fresher” than its past incarnations and should serve it well as it moves forward with its new mission to be funny. Having Seinfeld, Friends and Sex and the City on its roster should help the cause, but can it compete with side-splitting-funny Comedy Central? Or with heavier-branded channels like VH1, MTV, The Learning Channel or Bravo?

TBS’ quest for laughter is not far-fetched and with this new identity in place they are right on track: their logo* is quite the joke.

* Regardless of, and isolated from, its implementation

Thanks to Todd, JonSel and Adrian for the topic.

Maintained through our ADV @ UnderConsideration Program
ARCHIVE ID 1979 FILED UNDER Branding and Identity
PUBLISHED ON Jun.08.2004 BY Armin
Armin’s comment is:

> their logo* is quite the joke

I was thinking on the way home after having posted this.…I should admit that it's not that bad a logo. I have seen worst.

That's all, just wanted to get it off my chest.

On Jun.08.2004 at 07:58 PM
schmitty’s comment is:


I find that my first impression is usually correct.

I'm not in the position to critique such a well known agency since I am a design nobody, but shit-how much did they pay for this logo?

Doesn't seem like there is much effort or thought put into it.

On Jun.08.2004 at 09:28 PM
Patrick C’s comment is:

What's wrong with .tv and .biz?

On Jun.08.2004 at 10:09 PM
Armin’s comment is:

Nothing inherently wrong Patrick. However — and I say this acknowledging that it is too a generalization — most web sites ending in .biz are second or third rate. First rate meaning Nikes, Gaps, McDonalds, etc. Meaning that no company highly concerned with maintaining a high level of brand standards would use a .biz domain. Sure, McDonalds buys every single domain name but you don't see:

I'm lovin' it


I apologize in advance to all .biz and .tv domain owners.

On Jun.08.2004 at 10:23 PM
brad.’s comment is:

If I am not mistaken it was only a couple of years ago that TBS did a complete overhaul of their identity. I remember I was watching something on televison (summer 2002) and they made a big deal out of unveiling the new logo at midnight one night. Of course it gave me some distorted sense of pride to see design deemed important enough to 'unveil' to everyone sitting on their couch eating popcorn and watching some crappy TBS movie.

Anyway, it seems rather soon for them to be rebranding again... I guess that first try just didn't work out. Or maybe it was a stop gap solution for this new identity. This new one has it's problems, but I like it. It has a quirky kind of atmosphere to it... something that harkens back a little to the glory days of ABC and NBC.



On Jun.08.2004 at 11:00 PM
Jose Nieto’s comment is:

It's not that bad a logo. I have seen worst.

With the kind of budget TBS most likely had on this rebranding project, "it's not that bad" sounds to me like an abject failure. I'm guessing that they had the money to pay for the best talent in the market: nothing short of freaking great should have been acceptable. I mean, if you spent 100 grand on a sports car, you'd expect it to go really, really fast, right?

The main thing wrong with the new logo, in my view, is that it's obvious and boring. A comedy channel. A smile. Come on...

By way of comparison, people should check out Bob Gill's excellent new book, Graphic Design As a Second Language. Even when you disagree with the execution (some of his work looks dated) you have to appreciate the ideas behind the designs. His marks are obviously the work of an open and generous mind. Can't say the same about the new TBS logo.

On Jun.08.2004 at 11:24 PM
M Kingsley’s comment is:

Hum hum... hum... Recliner of Rage!


Hey, wait a second!

Logo as emoticom?

On Jun.09.2004 at 12:07 AM
Jeff G’s comment is:

.tv & .biz

Give 'em time. You can get some very tasty (& pricey) screw-cap wines these days.


Recliner o' Rage

For me, & I imagine a lot of other one-person shows & little studios, the "rage" comes from thinking about what kind of job I would do for TBS & what I charge for a logo compared with the graperuit & what Publicis charged for it.

Must remember that being skilled is only one part of the success equation. I know of plenty of designers that are not nearly as good as I am (fact, not opinion) & they seem to be making a lot more than me.

Best to cool the nerves & just get on with it, hopefully getting smarter all the time.

On Jun.09.2004 at 04:20 AM
Michael B.’s comment is:

When I saw the new TBS logo I thought it was rather good. It looks "big" as opposed to little and boutique-y. It's not particularly clever, but I don't think it needs to be. Instead it's attempt to be simple and universal. If Bill Golden were unveiling his masterpiece today, I wonder if the Recliner of Rage would be issuing critiques like, "An eye? For CBS Television, that's the best they can come up with? An eye?"

(On the other hand, if like Armin I get to add my own second opinion, it's not that good.)

On Jun.09.2004 at 04:55 AM
Colin’s comment is:

Am I the only person who thinks it's strangely similar to ABC's logo?

On Jun.09.2004 at 06:45 AM
justin m’s comment is:

I was watching TBS last night when I noticed the new logo. I was really surprised. When I said something about it, my girlfriend even commented.

I don't think it is that similar to ABC's logo. The typrfaces are obviously different. TBS' logo is also open and inviting when placed next to the black circle with white type.

Concerning the .tv domain, I see nothing wrong with a television channel using the TLD. In fact I think it makes a lot more since than .com

On Jun.09.2004 at 07:28 AM
Jose Nieto’s comment is:

Hum hum... hum... Recliner of Rage!

More like ennui....

On Jun.09.2004 at 08:04 AM
Gahlord Dewald’s comment is:

.tv .biz etc

yeah for a television station the .tv domain is great. And those poor damn Tuvaluvans could use a little dough. Think of it as social responsibility.

.biz... I dunno man. It's really gotta be a professionalism thing. Like you wear professional clothes and have a .com addy. Or you wear thug-life or squeaky shoes and get the biznesssss.

As for the logo itself... I give it a big "so what." But of course they probably had to jam it through a bunch of chuckle-head boards etc so we gotta throw some pity their way. Maybe it wasn't a problem in design, but rather in account management. Or maybe it's not a problem at all.


On Jun.09.2004 at 08:11 AM
marian’s comment is:

I dunno, kids. I mean what do you want? Once again, we're critiquing without know what went on between the designer and the client, but ...

I have seen way worse logos than this. It has no gradients, no swooshes, no complicated little parts. I don't find it hideous in any way. It's a logo. It would work centred, flush left, right ... work and compete well with any list of sponsor's logos at the bottom of a poster. It's identifiable. I have no problem with the type at all and it's a vast improvement over what they had before.

I wouldn't get up on a soapbox and proclaim this as any work of genius, but I do think it's defensible.

On Jun.09.2004 at 08:15 AM
marian’s comment is:

oh and .biz ... i can't help but sharing the prejudice against these barrel-scraping url suffixes. I know someone with a .biz address (and he's supposedly a web designer) -- I scoff, I tell ya, and roll my eyes, and chuckle derisively.

On Jun.09.2004 at 08:20 AM
Armin’s comment is:

> Am I the only person who thinks it's strangely similar to ABC's logo?

Colin, it is the "b" that looks so similar. However, the execution of TBS' "b" is terrible, look at the thicks and thins of it, there isn't enugh contrast to warrant them, it's like they used Hobo as inspiration. On the other hand, abc's execution is justifiably geometric and well balanced. It's a matter of attention to details.

As Marian and Michael (and me with my second opinion) have said, this is not "bad". It's an OK logo. It works. But it isn't that good. It's kind of mediocre… and that's not good. Nor that bad.

On Jun.09.2004 at 08:21 AM
marian’s comment is:

Am I the only person who thinks it's strangely similar to ABC's logo?

Actually, what would make this logo clever is if they were part of ABC, because yes it really looks like part of a family, there. Just ... the wrong family, so that is a major strike against it.

On Jun.09.2004 at 08:23 AM
Greg’s comment is:

Design snobbery aside, I kinda like it. I'm always impressed when a boring, nothing logo becomes something, and you gotta admit, this is something. It actually exhibits a bit of personality.

I mean, what can you expect from a tv station who's biggest hits are things that have already been successful on other stations?

On Jun.09.2004 at 08:31 AM
marian’s comment is:

Colin, it is the "b" that looks so similar

Well, yes, but when each logo has only 3 characters and one of them is a distictive b (albeit the tbs b, squished) of all the "b"s there are in the world, and further when both 3-character logos are based on a circle, or part thereof, and nothing else, with the 3 characters taking up the full width of that circle, I'd say that's basis for more than a passing resemblance.

On Jun.09.2004 at 08:32 AM
Darrel’s comment is:

What's wrong with .tv and .biz?

.tv is a country (Tuvalu). As others have pointed out, .tv is the one main revenu stream for the doomed island nation, so I suppose that's just good will.

I can't explain the tackiness of .biz, but to me, at least, it only makes sense on web sites that sell late night infomercial products.

But, to each their own... ;o)

On Jun.09.2004 at 08:33 AM
bryony’s comment is:

I have to agree with Michael B. and Marian, although I personally don’t like the logo--finding it rather general and poorly executed--it works and fulfills it’s purpose. It is also an improvement/upgrade from their previous identity and I am curious to see how they will use and implement it, since it has room to be playful and malleable.

On Jun.09.2004 at 08:36 AM
len’s comment is:

for those of a certain age...

remember about 10-15 years ago? when the big thing was to be "alternative?" like, you'd go and tell all your friends about how alternative you were, when they all knew you had bobby brown tapes in your closet? and the more you'd go and tell your friends about how alternative you were, the less anyone would believe you?

seems like "funny" might be the new "alternative." nice idea for a rebrand, but it's a bit ham-fisted in places. and i hate to tell them, the "funny quotes of the day" don't hold up quite so well when read as when delivered by actors.

i guess the logo's okay. (hardly high praise, indeed.) the animation goes too fast, tho. i had to refresh the website 3x before i got it.

On Jun.09.2004 at 08:36 AM
marian’s comment is:

Actually, the b is really starting to bother me, as it's the only character of the 3 that seems to be evidencing that variation in stroke weight.

But in thinking on this I'm kindof thinking this is in some ways the only way in which we can legitimately critique any logo.

Like without knowing or having been a part of the strategy and back-room shenanigans that go on in any logo development it's really irresponsible or recliner-of-ragey for us to critique the final outcome of any logo.* It is what it is--it became what it became.

BUT, as designers we can, with (i think) impunity, critique the details. Awkward fits, adjustments to type--these technical details are what we know and what we know could be changed--not only without affecting the presumed strategy, but probably without the client ever really knowing or caring that the adjustments were made.

* Having said this I reserve the right to indiscriminately shit all over any logo or design critiqued here in the future, and have fun while doing it.

sorry for hogging the thread.

On Jun.09.2004 at 08:46 AM
JonSel’s comment is:

I dunno, kids. I mean what do you want?

What do you expect, Marian, when you throw a nice juicy lamb chop to the wolves?

I actually don't think the logo is that bad. I agree the type is not well executed. The 't' is barely in existence compared to the widths of the 'b' and 's'. I haven't seen any of the on-air work, so I can't comment on that. But the logo is simple enough without being obvious that TBS should be able to build some strength and value into it over the years.

As for the "very funny" positioning, I guess it is as good as any. I don't think the concept of a "superstation" held much worth any longer. This was a more interesting idea when cable had 30 channels. Now that there are upwards of 200+, it's all about niche. I always regarded TBS as the place for sitcom reruns and Braves games. I wonder how long until the Braves change from being contenders to playing in a "very funny" style.

On Jun.09.2004 at 08:51 AM
Armin’s comment is:

> BUT, as designers we can, with (i think) impunity, critique the details.

Marian, not only can we, we should. It is irresponsible to critique the "strategy" or the research that led to the smile solution. There is too much involved in that to make an informed critique — not to mention that no firm or consultancy will divulge any details of these type of matters (trust me on this, I have certainly tried).

However, when it comes to the final execution that is publicly available and viewable we, as designers, have every single right to critique the execution. We do not need the designer of the "b" to come in and explain why it looks fucked up and how the client told him to fuck it up some more. It is what it is and it is up for scrutiny.

Food critics go in a restaurant, eat the food and write a review based on what they ate and on their knowledge about food. They do not need to find out if the chef is being told what to do by the owner. Those are behind the scenes problems that determine the final outcome, and that final outcome is what is being judged.

The manifestation — in the form of a logo — of branding design is not subjective, we do not need to know what the designer was feeling when he did the logo. We see a shape and can judge on its execution. Every designer likes to shun this type of critique becaue it is "subjective". Screw that. Design, in its execution, can and should be critiqued with disregard of the back-room shenanigans.

On Jun.09.2004 at 09:17 AM
Rob Bennett’s comment is:

The logo, like most of you said, isn't great but it worked for the client and it's better than what they had before. Personally, I'm not a big fan of it, for many of the same reasons mentioned here as well the 'smile' looks more like a bowl to me. And if you don't see the animation, how are you going to know it's a smile, and the big question...it works in animation/tv/web but will it work as well in print? The answer, most likely, is that the equity from the broadcast version will cover the print version.

I'm curious how their positioning will be interpreted in the news and sports areas. Should we expect Dennis Miller calling Braves and Falcons games since he was so uncermoniously dumped by Monday Night Football two years ago. Or will see the smile go upside down whenever an Atlanta team loses? And will they only produce news items that are funny? Okay, that's not about design but I had to ask. : ^ )

On Jun.09.2004 at 10:04 AM
kleid’s comment is:

isn't there a channel that already specializes in comedy?

On Jun.09.2004 at 10:27 AM
Jose Nieto’s comment is:

It is irresponsible to critique the "strategy" or the research that led to the smile solution.

Irresponsible? Unwise, perhaps. Poorly-informed, maybe. But we're not food critics -- i.e. our judgement will not be used by anyone to make any decisions --, so I think we should feel free to use the information that is available to speculate about how the logo design fits with the company's intent and strategy. Business writers do it all the time (see, for example, IdentityWorks), and I think it is ultimately the most interesting aspect of these branding discussions. The question is, in my view, does the logo work? I don't see how we can engage with that question without a bit of speculation on intent.

On Jun.09.2004 at 10:40 AM
Armin’s comment is:

Jose, yes, "irresponsible" wasn't the right word. Thanks for the correction.

On Jun.09.2004 at 10:44 AM
marian’s comment is:

"irresponsible" wasn't the right word.

Yeah, i used it too, and i hesitated ... looking for a better word, but decided not to sweat it. I agree. wrong word.

On Jun.09.2004 at 11:45 AM
ml’s comment is:

The intent for the TBS brand is clear. The position and promise have been simply stated by Steve Koonin.

"We will be the 'home of funny.'"

Does the new mark support the promise? Does it make you think and feel that this is a place for making laughter? For me the symbol is light-hearted and happy not funny.

On Jun.09.2004 at 01:28 PM
Fantasy Football’s comment is:

I know that their logo is not too great, but it's not that easy to come up with a cool logo.

On Jun.09.2004 at 03:44 PM
JonSel’s comment is:

I know that their logo is not too great, but it's not that easy to come up with a cool logo.

Well I suppose that explains it.

On Jun.09.2004 at 03:59 PM
billy baumann’s comment is:

I spotted this logo on the tube a couple of days ago and a few things did pop into mind:

1. I got that it was supposed to be smile or rather and open smile - like a laughing smile. it's not a great read but I picked it up. It bothered me that if there's a mouth I instantly tried to make eyes/nose/ears out of the "tbs" so now it's starting to look like cyclops to me.

2. The execution is poor as highlighted by other posters but the look/style that so closely resembles one of the major 3, classic logos, was obviously an attempt to classify themselves in the subconscience of the viewer in the same class as the Big 3. With their being over 300 cable stations they may have felt it would be good to align themselves with brands that have history and respect so as to borrow some of that respect.

3. I also think that the old logo was very Male focused, very masculine, very "NASCAR". So I think this logo is also and attempt (which can also be seen with their programming of Sex in the City), to appeal to a more female adience - or atleast not turn off any of the potential female viewers that they are certainly going after now.

All that said - I think I get what they were trying to do but I think they could have done it a bit better

On Jun.09.2004 at 04:30 PM
marian’s comment is:

Well I suppose that explains it

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha !

Thank you.

Speak Up: Home of Funny.

On Jun.09.2004 at 05:04 PM
Pat Gibson’s comment is:

I agree with Billy B's remark about TBS wanting to reach out more to female viewers. The new logo certainly does have more femininity than its past selves, and in that sense, one might consider the makeover semi-successful.

This doesn't, however, get me away from my primary concern upon looking at it: is this little logo/mark/thing going to topple over at some point? I find the bowl-bottom problemmatic because it makes the whole form seem unstable. Amplifying this is the type: the design of the letterforms do indeed feel half-hearted, but check out how off-balance they seem in themselves! The t and b on the left both have stronger verticality, while the bowl of the b and the s on the right feel on their own more balanced.

It's going to fall over, isn't it?

Regarding the client/designer duo, I agree with Armin V. about the right to critique whatever gets put out there, disregarding whatever power struggles may have gone on between the suits and black turtlenecks. I mean: it's not our problem, right? Though maybe a better way to look at it is like this: instead of dissecting the responsibility of the logo into the execs and the designers, isn't it both of theirs together to present their audience with quality? Maybe it is the fault of the client getting in the way. But really, in theory isn't that part of the commercial artist's job--to work with the client so that they don't end up looking stupid?

Easier said than done, of course. But it's still too easy to blame it all on the client--even if it was their fault.

Now lastly, I'd like to add a few comments about the colors, though; I don't think anyone has mentioned them above. Check out this.

Now, maybe I'm wrong, but does every color scheme really have to use complimentary colors like the teal and orange here? Isn't anyone else sick of this already? The teal and white on their own look fine to me, but then TBS brings in the orange, and the green (see here). I'm not going to offer a better suggestion, because there could be a hundred different choices of color to add to the teal that would work better. Couldn't They have done something with a little more sophistication besides checking out which jelly beans look good next to one another? Would that have killed them, or their audience? (I don't know--maybe it would have).

On Jun.09.2004 at 05:41 PM
Paul’s comment is:

Has anyone else noticed how the banner ads are handled on the TBS site? I actually really appreciate them running vertically along the right side like this: if you want to view them you can, but resizing your window makes them all go away. That's solid web design, IMO!

On Jun.09.2004 at 05:53 PM
Tan’s comment is:

Old logo: very trailer trash

New logo: somewhat trailer trash

...so not big loss or gain.

eh, it's not bad. I don't hate it. It's simple enough, but the type is very unrefined. Like a pretty smile with crooked teeth.

>home of funny

Funny as in "ha-ha" or funny as in "strange"?

And when did the word "funny" become a common noun? That tag is grammatical trailer trash too.

Saw the logo for the first time on a busboard next to SJP for Sex in the City. The logo was easily outmatched by SINC's more refined type treatment.

Just throw it in the box with VH1 and SpikeTV.

On Jun.09.2004 at 05:57 PM
Ricardo’s comment is:

I mean, what can you expect from a tv station who's biggest hits are things that have already been successful on other stations?

Not to mention that they've gone and edited and censored "Sex and the City" (just like they do with the movies they show). Where's the fun in that?

On Jun.09.2004 at 07:43 PM
Steve Mock’s comment is:

Please explain the meaning of "trailer trash".

On Jun.10.2004 at 07:17 AM
Chris’s comment is:

I must say that the new logo is a step in the right direction for tbs. I think the new identity allows them a hipper opportunity to play off of some of the cool stuff other networks are doing with motion graphics. I think the new look helps separate them from TNT as the station that isn't "the station for men who like movies."

Has anyone seen a print version of the logo?

On Jun.10.2004 at 09:27 AM
marian’s comment is:

Please explain the meaning of "trailer trash".

Trailer Park Boys

On Jun.10.2004 at 10:59 AM
Tan’s comment is:

>Please explain the meaning of "trailer trash".

: Non-urban; mass-produced; low-grade; down-home; visceral (as opposed to intellectual); slightly behind the times; unvarnished; WWF wrestling; NASCAR; Wal-Mart; Jeff Foxworthy humor; cars on cinder blocks; camouflage-patterned furniture and/or linens; etc.

Shall I go on?

On Jun.10.2004 at 12:15 PM
Brady’s comment is:

As consumers, it works. It animates well, capitalizing on the 'funny'.

Between the new VH1, the new UPS and the new TBS we have no overwhelmingly positive opinions about either. Which is fine and good but it begs the question:

As designers, what do we want?

Since some in that thread were bashing the new mark based on the previous mark - was the previous VH1 mark not just a VH inside a 1? Was it clear? Did it make you jump out of your seat? Did it carry, if not convey, a message?

Even Sean Adams said of his own work, "It wasn't the most clever mark on the planet." But, "The old logo did its job simply and clearly."

So, here we are with the new TBS mark. Which replaced a broadcast ID that had dropped SUPERSTATION more than a year ago.

(Best I could find.)

Barring typogrphic foibles - does the new ID not do it's job simply and clearly? What did the old mark do for the station?

Congratulations to TBS for focusing their product. TNT - drama. TBS - funny. I'm actually glad they are pushing funny rather than comedy. Comedy and funny are not synonyms and their definitions are remotely connected. Comedy, while reveling in the silly, is defined by even the slightest hint of sophistication and craft. Funny is just that - funny. It can be silly, odd and even tricky. It lease the field open for them.

I digress.

TBS had an identity problem. Sure they had syndicated comedies but they also had shows like House Rules, Dinner and a Movie (sometimes dramas), The Man Made Movie, and Movies for Guys Who Like Movies.

They took this challenge and really latched on to their niche and are effectively exploiting it.

While I like the ID and since the broadcast package is quite refreshing and technically sharp - I have huge problems with the execution on the web site. The sensibilities in the broadcast package could have easily carried over to the site.

The graphical comparisons to ABC are founded, but what does ABC's mark mean beyond it's classic familiarity? (Other than maybe a stain on entertainment?)

In contrast, strategically comparing the new TBS to Comedy Central is off-base. Comedy Central is packed with original programming, Chapelle's Show, The Daily Show, Tough Crowd, Insomniac and others; while TBS stepped fully into the syndication model and dropped their few offerings of original programming. Which makes me wonder - will TBS broadcast Braves games after this season? (Albeit the are quite funny right now.)

So, now knowing they went for FUNNY and gave us a simple, clear and discernible mark...

What do we want? What did we expect?

On Jun.10.2004 at 02:29 PM
seffis’s comment is:

Maybe it's just because I keep seeing it on those Sex and the City spots with pink, but when I saw the logo for the first time, my immediate association was Tab soda. Or some sort of new tampon brand.

On Jun.10.2004 at 03:11 PM
Steve Mock’s comment is:

What do we want?

It appears we want to critique logos. Good, bad or ugly... looks like it's the thread about the thing that matters up here.

Such is educational, I guess.

Might be a little better if we imagined a design student scratching his noggin and we explained what was going on from the mark.

"Here's a better way to do the B", for example. That's why we need rules. And principals. And certainty.

Otherwise it's just one to screw it in and 99 to stand around and say, "I could have done it better."

Maybe that's what we want: Stay in the lines, dammit!

And you trailer trashers... you just described my mother-in-law, so go easy!

On Jun.10.2004 at 03:45 PM
Greg’s comment is:

I think I have discovered the cure to all ills, the one sentence that can singlehandedly end any debate:

I know that the (blank) is not too great, but it's not that easy to come up with a cool (blank).

Seriously, think about it. Does it not negate the very purpose of disagreement?

So, every now and again, find me interjecting this into random discussions.

On Jun.10.2004 at 03:56 PM
Armin’s comment is:

> "Here's a better way to do the B", for example.

Steve, I'll see your ten and raise you twenty.

When you want funny you go straight to the source of typographic funny: VAG Rounded. (Modified of course, to fit this example). Below are some quick examples. The top one is the original, everything below are varying options. The one at the bottom is the most far-stretched with the "b" serving as the eye.

If I had 6-8 more hours to play with this I'd try to make all the curves perfect, but there are other things to tend to.

On Jun.10.2004 at 05:38 PM
Ricardo’s comment is:

Nice goin' Armin, I especially liked the last example.

On Jun.10.2004 at 06:16 PM
Patrick C’s comment is:

I like the last one too. But the bs is very prominent. Maybe this is a good thing for a "funny" station.

On Jun.10.2004 at 07:10 PM
Tan’s comment is:

Weird, but it's starting to look like a bowl of rice, with steam comin off the top. Like the logo for Top Ramen or a noodle vendor at the mall.

Fun explorations Armin (all better, btw) — but none seem to be any closer to a face laughing.

...if anything, it's starting to resemble...Evil Bert!

On Jun.10.2004 at 07:18 PM
Brady’s comment is:

> When you want funny you go straight to the source of typographic funny: VAG Rounded.

Interesting thing is they are using wither VAG or Helvetica Round (Difficult to tell since they go so quick - i'll pause the TiVo and lock it down.) for some of the supers and bumpers.

> Fun explorations Armin (all better, btw) — but none seem to be any closer to a face laughing.

Does it have to be that literal?

More to the point; wouldn't be mocking it as well if it were that literal?

On Jun.10.2004 at 11:02 PM
JonSel’s comment is:

Below are some quick examples.

I'm going to weigh in and say that none of these are much improved. Sorry, Armin! The real typographic issue is the horizontal weights between the three letters. The VAG 't' is better than the original, but still not wide enough. Some considerable re-working of the 't' and 'b' needs to be done to make them more equal.

Going more literal with the face doesn't add much, in my opinion. The last iteration actually feels like a kids channel and not something more for adults (or at least the all-important 18 - 49 demo).

I think I could live with the 'grapefruit' shape if the type were handled correctly. I liked Brady's comments regarding the ABC logo. What is it beyond 3 perfectly drawn letters in a circle? If TBS executes their humor strategy correctly, this mark will serve them well. Will it ever end up in the Logo Hall of Fame? Nah.

On Jun.11.2004 at 05:42 AM
tim’s comment is:

I don't know if this is a fresh obseration, but IMHO the geometric grapefruit smile shape, and the geometric shapes of the typography seem to recall a more distant era of design - as typified by the ABC logo.

Now a playful or "hip" design might have become dated more quickly, and perhaps the TBS suits and branding gurus wanted to evoke a timeless feeling. But looking at the lineup of shows touted on the website, (WARNING: GROSS OVERGENERALIZATION AHEAD) these are classics only in the perception of a particular demographic... and the jury's still out on their "timeless" status. I think TBS missed the mark here.

On Jun.11.2004 at 08:03 AM
Armin’s comment is:

> Some considerable re-working of the 't' and 'b' needs to be done to make them more equal.

Yeah, I'd need to get paid to explore a considerable re-working of the t and b.

> Going more literal with the face doesn't add much, in my opinion.

I don't think VAG is being literal. The rounded end-points are much more "enjoyable" than the original's abrupt ends. IMO.

> The last iteration actually feels like a kids channel and not something more for adults

The last one is nothing I'd show TBS if I were the designer, but since I'm not, what the hell…

On Jun.11.2004 at 08:18 AM
dsignfreek’s comment is:

I think the new TBS logo has some resemblance to the spanish channel logo Univision.

On Jun.11.2004 at 12:40 PM
Tim’s comment is:

I saw a commercial for TBS a few weeks ago and, having been cable/dish-deprived for the past few years, I thought "Hmm...TBS, that sounds familiar, yet it looks like a new channel".

Their new logo is clean and very simple, which I like, however it seems, to me, that it is too much of a departure from their previous two versions. I think dropping the "Superstation" may have a hand in that as well.

On Jun.14.2004 at 10:05 AM
melissa’s comment is:

It was interesting reading all the comments on the tbs logo. I am a designer myself and when I first saw the tbs logo I must say I was disappointed. I find the new logo to be clunky and very awkward. It didn't even occur to me that the bottom half is suppose to symbolize a smile. I am not saying that the old logo was so much better, but a logo should clean, simple and clearly state it's meaning. The new logo shows to be too heavy on my screen. i feel like it's about to fall off. I can see how the font can convey funny but it takes the right placement of the text to really work.

I will add one thing in defense of the designer, knowing how coworkers and clients can be(the ones involved in the decision making process) this logo may have been the least favorite choice of the designer and may have been highly praised by others who have no appropriate knowledge of design.

On Jun.14.2004 at 11:57 AM
MisterKen’s comment is:

They have done a wonderful job of designing a logo that looks just like the toilet bowl TBS really is!

Now THAT"s funny.

Hmmm...For your consideration.


On Jun.14.2004 at 12:14 PM
Kurt’s comment is:

So the consensus seems to be that the new logo is toothless.


On Jun.14.2004 at 12:57 PM
Tan’s comment is:

>Does it have to be that literal?

..of course not, but is the semi-circle supposed to be just a fun shape, without eliciting thoughts of a smile? I don't think so.

If yes, then why choose to be so ambiguously close to a smile in the first place?

I think it's just a mediocre execution. Nothing wrong, but nothing great.

Hasbro is a much more successful example.

On Jun.14.2004 at 03:19 PM
Jeremy Flint’s comment is:

I wonder if the motivation behind their rebranding efforts are in some way related to the fact that WGN in chicago recently started calling itself the Superstation as well.

I remember the last time they rebranded. That was also when they began starting shows at the top of the hour/half-hour instead of 5-minutes after.

On Jun.15.2004 at 08:37 AM
tim’s comment is:

melissa wrote this logo may have been the least favorite choice of the designer and may have been highly praised by others who have no appropriate knowledge of design.

One big lesson I took to heart from a design seminar i attended last year: The instructor, a book cover designer in NYC showed two ideas for the same book, as a way of illustrating the concept that there are many ways to solve a problem. I asked him which one he liked best, and he said, "I like them both. I never show a client work that I don't feel strongly about, because if the client chooses the lesser piece then I feel my best work is not out there."

melissa's post just reminded me of that.

On Jun.15.2004 at 03:38 PM
Rebecca’s comment is:

Does anybody know who designed the first two logos and what year they debuted. It would help me out alot!

On Oct.30.2004 at 12:18 PM
mark’s comment is:

Someone called it "trailer trash," but to me it looks more like iTrash. Digital afterbirth of the Macintosh revolution. The fallacy at work nowadays is that by hacking off serifs, using squishy gel effects, or grabbing your color cues from a tub of rainbow sherbet, you too can make your brand seem smart and user-friendly.

The TBS logo wants to tell my that I'm going to get something funky & fresh, but if I turn on the channel, I'm still going to see a rerun of Everybody Loves Raymond.

I applaud TBS's sensible decision to focus on "funny" (a term which professional comedians have been using as a noun for at least a few years, btw). However, I don't know how well the logo dovetails with that concept. I didn't see the "smile" until it was pointed out to me here. All I saw was a kind of gloss or update of the "Big 3" network marks — color corrected to blend in better with our contempo-future commercial iWorld.

What do I want? A little more of the dynamism we have seen in the other Turner network IDs. Why does their "funny" channel have the most serene logotype?

What do I expect? Unfortunately, I expect to see a lot more rebrands like this in the future. I am trusting lowercase, san serif type less and less these days. Bummer.

On Nov.01.2004 at 10:02 PM
Mark’s comment is:

The new logo doesn't bother me that much, I like it its tolerable.

(heh the logo looks funny itself it's smiling how can you not laugh at it! apprantly the smile is more noticable in the color blue.)

Just as long as it brings some original programs along, I mean Tbs programs not just reruns of old shows.

Please Tbs stay out of reality show business, those kinds of shows aren't "funny"

BTW Supersatation was TBS's original moniker back in the 70's when it was WTBS heres the proof


(heh heh check out the old Star Trek graphic)

They used to have their own type of local news too! :O

They were the superstation until WGN stole it!

Worse for some odd reason I get WGN (which is HQed in Chicago) here in CT, so they can etch it in my brain that WGN was the Superstation now.

Heh, its great to watch their out-of-state local news that has better graphics then my local news.

Much better is besides their news everthing else is reuns of old programs from at least the 1980s!

WGN the Rerun station :D

On Sep.29.2005 at 04:56 PM
Mark’s comment is:

Edit heres the link to see the proof that TBS was the Superstation since the 1970's (please copy and paste the link into the address bar please.) then when you arive select International under Channels then go to the United States of America then select TBS


On Sep.29.2005 at 05:02 PM
Mark’s comment is:

Argh! Edit:

"arive" is supposed to be "arrive"

I've got to stop making spelling mistakes.

On Sep.29.2005 at 05:05 PM
The Turdster’s comment is:

Wow, another shining example of why the world has been made worse by an agency project. Great work guys! Don't let me stand in the way of the self feeding process agencies use to give us more and more crap! You make the Turdster proud!

This thing also reeks of print people working in an area out of their league. Get with the times peeps.

And yes, the Turdster is a hater.

On May.14.2007 at 11:51 AM
The Turdster’s comment is:

Wow, another shining example of why the world has been made worse by an agency project. Great work guys! Don't let me stand in the way of the self feeding process agencies use to give us more and more crap! You make the Turdster proud!

This thing also reeks of print people working in an area out of their league. Get with the times peeps.

And yes, the Turdster is a hater.

On May.14.2007 at 11:53 AM
The Turdster’s comment is:

Wow, another shining example of why the world has been made worse by an agency project. Great work guys! Don't let me stand in the way of the self feeding process agencies use to give us more and more crap! You make the Turdster proud!

This thing also reeks of print people working in an area out of their league. Get with the times peeps.

And yes, the Turdster is a hater.

On May.14.2007 at 11:56 AM