For over 60 years, as certain as the rising of the sun that marks its logo, NBC’s Today show has risen along with America. So how do you go about redesigning the sunrise? That was the dilemma facing Los Angeles brand and design firm Ferroconcrete, who were tasked to update the iconic Today logo. But even a sunrise can be distilled into something brighter and more human.
Started in 2006 by Creative Director Yo Santosa, the Emmy-nominated designer behind the Desperate Housewives and 300 title sequences, Ferroconcrete won the Today account based on their work on campaigns for Pinkberry and TNT, and TBS. “Today wanted something that was more than just traditional branding,” Santosa tells Co. Design. “They felt their brand needed a personality as distinct as any of the show’s hosts, something that was personal, optimistic, emotional, and human.”
Although Today‘s team felt that the show needed a fresh look, a radical redesign of the logo was never on the table. “The Today audience considers the show a daily ritual, and familiarity is important to them,” says Santosa. Ferroconcrete decided the best approach was to distill the Today logo to its essence, while expanding the context in which the mark was used.
The previous version of the Today show logo contained an assortment of red, yellow, and orange hues, emphasizing the chromatic shift of a rising sun and the way light scatters through the atmosphere during the earliest hours of dawn. The new logo shows a cheerier sun that, while still evoking the morning sunrise, feels less like the break of dawn than a more fully developed sun signaling the start of another great day. It’s brighter, more optimistic: the sun seen after your first cup of coffee, not before you’ve rubbed the sleep from your eyes.
But that was only one part of the job. In addition, Ferroconcrete was asked to create a cohesive identity for Today’s many segments and franchises, such as Today’s Weather, Today’s Travel, Today’s Books, and so on. To do so, Ferroconcrete cooked up animated variations of the logo to mark certain segments, in which Today’s sunrise logo playfully transforms itself to unify the show’s many diverse categories, providing a cohesive branding system across all media platforms.
For example, Today’s Weather recasts the sunrise as an umbrella, where Today’s Travel gives the sunrise a handle, turning it into a suitcase. Today’s Family is seemingly drawn with a persimmon Crayola. As of right now, Ferroconcrete has designed 18 variations on the new Today logo, and the system is designed to be expandable to include any future franchises or topics that Today might choose to pursue.
“Ever since it debuted in January of 1952 hosted by Dave Garroway, Today has been known for the dozens of hosts who have all brought their unique personalities to the show,” says Santosa. With their systems of animated variations on the new logo, Ferroconcrete wanted to make the Today brand just as fun, lovable, and jovial as any of its hosts.
“Today is how millions of people greet the day, and what makes it special is the energy, charisma, and humanity that you can’t find anywhere else,” says Santosa. Thanks to Ferroconcrete, Today has a fresh look to match. Who says the sun rises the same way every day?