01 Jul, 2009

MTV’s brand new look

Posted by: admin In: Creative Review


MTV launches a spanky new look as of today – as its international brand refresh rolls out across the company’s network of 64 channels, created by MTV’s creative directors from around the world in collaboration with UK-based studio Universal Everything

We use the word refresh rather than rebrand as the MTV logo is still recognisable – the new logo (above) is, in fact, the old logo – but in MTV’s new look, the logo remains black on a white ground – no colour, pattern or texture will ever adorn it – which is a change from MTV of old where the idents were based on the logo being played around with.

“Now the logo is sacred,” says Roberto Bagatti, Vice President of Creative for MTV Networks International and Creative Director of MTV’s World Design Studio in Milan, who oversaw the project.

So if the logo’s the same, what’s new? MTV Networks International now has a new flexible typographic navigation system for displaying onscreen information. The MTV logo remains in a fixed top left position onscreen at all times and acts as an anchor for the new system of information display – with the title of the current programme always appearing immediately to the right of the logo in a blue progress-bar so viewers can guage where they are in the current programme. To the right of this info is where viewers will occasionally see information in yellow text boxes: yellow denotes what’s coming up next on the channel. And to the right of this, appears what’s coming up later – always in a pink info box. The typeface used for this primary information is Pharma Bold Condensed by Swiss type foundry Optimo.

As well as the main programme info, more playful messages will appear in the lower third of the screen – and for this text, there is a collection of secondary brand typefaces to choose from, depending on the mood of the message. The eight secondary typefaces were selected for their expressive or emotion-inducing nature – and to add an element of fun to the onscreen identity of the channel.

The faces, shown above, are American Typewriter Light Italic, Balloon Bold, Bigcity Maxi, Cozzap Open, Flash ND, Futura SB Bold Italic, Sahara Bodoni and Signpainter House Brush. Here’s an example of how these will be used onscreen:

The first six new channel idents make it clear beyond doubt that MTV is sporting a slick new look – based on an idea of “pop x 1000%” which was, says Bagatti, “the rebrand project’s title and mantra.”

Regular CR blog readers may recall us writing about Universal Everything’s Advanced Beauty project in which UE’s Matt Pyke collaborated with his sound designer brother, Simon (Freeform), as well as a host of hand-picked film makers to create motion graphics pieces or “sound sculptures”. Well, the new MTV idents look and feel like an extension of this project – perhaps unsurprisingly as they’ve been created similarly – with Matt Pyke commissioning films from filmmakers he admires with his brother Simon working on the soundtrack for each ident. However, each of the MTV idents has exactly the same 2/2 time signature – a heartbeat-like rhythm to which the MTV logo always pulsates. Here are all six of the new idents so you can see how they look:

MTV International / Mad Drummer from Universal Everything on Vimeo.

MTV International / Sweetheart from Universal Everything on Vimeo.

Directed by Zeitguised. Creative direction: Universal Everything

MTV International / Mister Furry from Universal Everything on Vimeo.

Co-directed by Universal Everything and Realise Studio

MTV International / Chocolate Gold Sunset from Universal Everything on Vimeo.

Directed by Universal Everything

MTV International / Windkiss from Universal Everything on Vimeo.

Directed by Universal Everything

MTV International / Jewels and Oil from Universal Everything on Vimeo.

Co-directed by Universal Everything and Zhestkov

“We are huge fans of Universal Everything, says Bagatti of MTV’s choice of agency. They apply a fresh direction to each new project that goes beyond momentary trends in graphic design and they approach a brief with a different kind of attitude and a wide range of references spread across multiple disciplines – everything from architecture and contemporary art, to molecular cuisine and biology. We were also drawn towards the non-traditional broadcast side that Universal Everything applies. We knew that their interpretation of pop culture would fit with ours and visually, the rebrand would be spectacular without treading on clichés.”






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