Nickelodeon's New Logo: "Squint Your Eyes, and It's Basically an Orange Bar"

nickelodeon

Ding dong, the splat is dead. Starting this fall, all things Nickelodeon--that's Nick at Nite, Nicktoons, Nick Jr. (formerly Noggin), and TeenNick (formerly the N)--will switch to lower-case, balloon-type logos, marking the cabler's biggest makeover in 25 years.

According to Variety:

The decision to streamline the network identities came after [Nickelodeon execs] started putting all of the channels' logos on the same business card--and decided that it looked like a mess.

"We wanted to clean it up and allow Nick to be the stamp on all of these channels," said Cyma Zarghami, president of Nick and MTV Networks' Kids and Family Group.

That ultimately meant jettisoning the familiar Nickelodeon "splat."

"In asking ourselves if everything could live under the splat, we decided that the splat was dated," she said. "It just couldn't be done in a streamlined way."

Already, the switch is ruffling fan feathers. "This new 'rounded typeface' trend is spreading like the plague," sniffed a commentor on design blog idsgn. On Columbus Impressions, an 11-year-old was in mourning: "I like the splatter because it looks alive. The new logo is too boring and lacks detail."

But for a more informed take, I called Karin Hibma and Michael Cronan, the duo who branded TiVo and Amazon's Kindle. They both balked.

"Nickelodeon has essentially given up on shape," Cronan says. "Squint your eyes, and [the new logo] is basically an orange bar." Adds Hibma: "I don't know why they used a capital 'K' in the middle of all that lowercase type. Visually, it adds more weight to the round letters of 'odeon,' so your eye starts in the middle and reads to the right, then picks up from the beginning."

A better strategy, they say, would have been to pick a distinct, non-text-based shape--much like the splat--and apply it to every Nickelodeon brand, so younger viewers would instantly recognize what they're watching. "A new logo is supposed to excite you, inform you, and pique your curiosity," says Cronan, referencing Jack in the Box's recent makeover. "Nickelodeon shied away from the chance to do something great."

In other words: Whoever killed the splat deserves to get slimed.

[Via Variety, idsgn, Columbus Impressions]

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14 Comments

  • Julia Marshall

    I like the splat better though. More suited for the kids market. The new logo looks modern and much more sophisticated. It looks common, just like any other logo. Speaking of logo, I had my new logo done by Logo Design Station. I did not regret paying them to design my logo. The logo design that they created really give a good respond to my business. I received my first concepts in 24 hours time, and I'm so happy the design looks great. I couldn't make up my mind which was the right one because they're all great! The team do a good and professional job! Frankly speaking from my opinion, they are really professional in understanding customer needs. I'm fully satisfy with their designer's team work.

  • Julia Marshall

    I like the splat better though. More suited for the kids market. The new logo looks modern and much more sophisticated. It looks common, just like any other logo. Speaking of logo, I had my new logo done by Logo Design Station. I did not regret paying them to design my logo. The logo design that they created really give a good respond to my business. I received my first concepts in 24 hours time, and I'm so happy the design looks great. I couldn't make up my mind which was the right one because they're all great! The team do a good and professional job! Frankly speaking from my opinion, they are really professional in understanding customer needs. I'm fully satisfy with their designer's team work.

  • Terry Macdonald

    I like the splat better though. More suited for the kids market. The new logo looks modern and much more sophisticated. It looks common, just like any other logo. Speaking of logo, I had my new logo done by Logo Design Station. I did not regret paying them to design my logo. The logo design that they created really give a good respond to my business. I received my first concepts in 24 hours time, and I'm so happy the design looks great. I couldn't make up my mind which was the right one because they're all great! The team do a good and professional job! Frankly speaking from my opinion, they are really professional in understanding customer needs. I'm fully satisfy with their designer's team work.

  • andrew manocheo

    To Michael's previous comment, I can appreciate the goal of developing a logo with a distinct shape that can be identified from a distance. And even more so, the concept of jogging memory. Although, using the "squint" method to evaluate the mark seems a bit out dated and obtuse, especially with this brand.

    Nickelodeon is primarily viewed via LCD screens and hand-held devices. Their audience is within a very short distance of their visual target. Things such as "shelf pop" or recognition from a distance are probably not primary design constraints. A bold move away from their heritage may be necessary.

    I think the most relevant point to make is that the new brandmark lacks a distinct "voice" and any typographical element that makes it truly unique.

    Maybe we should consider the direction that Nickelodeon wants to take their brand in the current TV market? Maybe a splat doesn't track well with their aging viewer audience? Does Nick want to age with its audience? Or wake itself up for a new crew?

  • Simon Flummox

    Hmm...I wonder what K. Hibma and M. Cronan have to say about FC's logo.

    To me, the connected 'i' dot refers back to the splat. I would have hoped for a stronger reference, however.

  • Simon Flummox

    Hmm...I wonder what K. Hibma and M. Cronan have to say about FC's logo.

    To me, the connected 'i' dot refers back to the splat. I would have hoped for a stronger reference, however.

  • Simon Flummox

    Hmm...I wonder what K. Hibma and M. Cronan have to say about FC's logo.

    To me, the connected 'i' dot refers back to the splat. I would have hoped for a stronger reference, however.

  • Michael Cronan

    Squinting at things is an easy way to reduce the contrast when looking at and evaluating art to see how it might read from a distance or at a glance or in one of the hundred difficult locations a logo will find itself.

    And the reason it is useful to maintain a distinctive shape on a logotype or mark is that shape is one of the vectors that stimulate memory. By not having a distinctive shape, the designer limits the opportunity for recognition and memory. It is just the way the eye and mind relate.

  • andrew manocheo

    I'm surprised that the new brandmark is getting such a bad review in this article. People don't look at logos with their eyes squinted, so if it looks like an orange bar when you do, who cares? Also, the mention of the use of the "uppercase K" is peculiar also. They did the same with the old mark and didn't seem to have a problem, and what exactly does a lowercase K look like compared to the one they used? It can't be that different.

    I do agree that its lost some of it's signature "splattiness", but that was derived from the retired show "You Can't Do That On Television" where they used green slime.

    Overall, it seems like a nice clean mark and a nice update over something that was straight from the 80's when neon and aerobics were the rage.

  • Joy Levin

    It would be interesting to know whether Nickolodean conducted any market research when designing this logo, particularly as to whether it resonated with the key attributes that were important to the target audience.