10 December 2007

[logo_design] Channel Surfing: The Channel 5's

1180. Inexorable in our progress, we march up the VHF dial.

Watch out, Channel 5's, its your turn now, whether you want it or not! Let's go...

Our first stop is KALB Channel 5, Alexandria LA, right smack in the center of the state.

Big, wide-bodied 5, slickly silver, with an arc suggesting a supporting disc. What's notable here is that while KALB is considered the NBC affiliate for that market, it carries CBS on a digital subchannel, thus the double-network marks.

I'm quite frankly starting to flinch every time I'm seeing the words NewsChannel, News Channel, or any combination (camel capped or no). But you can't fight fashion, it's said. True that is. Further into the wilds with gun and camera, then:

KCTV Channel 5, Kansas City–aptly chosen call, jauntily obliqued (but still-ready-for-action) 5, and the clever move of coloring the background along the lines of the character. Pretty nifty touch.

KENS, Channel 5, San Antonio, is KGW's sister station (both are Belo properties), and has a basic, no-nonsense treatment that doubtlessly lends itself well to lower-thirds:

KFSM is your news source for the Fort Smith Arkansas area. And with an authoritative presentation, it lets you know it means it. Sad that's it's a little bland (even with the 5 bleeding out the top of the blue square and those vivid colors:

KFVE, Honolulu, has the bro-awesomest combination of Hawai'i motif and 5 that I think could ever be–seriously. The foot of the K and the top of the bowl of the 5 line up so nicely it doesn't come out at first–and the K reminds me of the K in the old KING logo:

KGWN, Channel 5, Cheyenne–channeling news to cowboys with a fairly unexeciting but git'r'done logo:

And, speaking of KING TV, which we referred to just a logo and a half ago, Channel 5 in Seattle retains the classic look–and retains its status as one of the classics:

KING is one of the great northwest TV stations, synoymous with Dorothy Bullitt through most of the 2nd half of the 20th Century. Legend has it that she bought the KING call from a fishing boat, and leveraged the KING mark through a character called "King Mike", pictured here from a clip of a screenshot of KING's web page:

It's said that KGW, KING's Portland sister (when they were both owned by KING Broadcasting and Dorothy Bullitt) had a version of that mascot called "Pioneer Mike", which dressed in buckskin and a coonskin cap instead of ermine robes–but we're digressing here. On with the show.

The Wikipedia page for KHAS, Channel 5, Hastings NE, claims that KHAS is in a turf war with Omaha's WOWT for who will be the default station for the pivotal Lincoln market. This seems something like Salem and Molalla battling over who will be the provider for Silverton, but maybe that's just me. The dynamism doesn't much show in the logo, though, which is kinda boring:

Next we have KNME, Channel 5, public television in Albuquerque NM. Not much design here, (well, none really) but it does get props for incuding the channel number in the ID (which is rare for public tv):

But the winner in high design for a public television station is KNPB, channel 5, Reno, which is ineffably cool:

You have the local environment (the mountain skyline) and the 5 not only stylized but altered by taking out the stem stroke. The result is something that looks like clouds over the mountains and is just plain cool. The real cleverness comes in having just a few deft moves causing a lot of stuff to happen–which means you have a lot of stuff but you don't have a lot of stuff, which is logo heaven. Well done.

KOAA, Colorado Springs, broadcasts on both Channel 5 and Channel 30 because not all areas it serves gets signals on both channels due to the geography. The clever "5/30" stylization is carried about all segements of the station's website as well as into the titles of the programs (where the "five thirty news" takes on a whole new meaning. Overall, the logo has a lot of stuff going on (with two channel numbers, an NBC peacock, and the station's news tagline, and it's otherwise not a great logo, but it's a workable solution given all the parts that have to work together:

Moving out to my own back yard, the logo of KOBI (accentuating the NBC affiliation) trades on the main backbone for settlement in the upper Rogue Valley by casting the 5 into the Interstate 5 badge. Klamath Falls' KOTI channel 2 (KOBI's satellite station) uses the same logo, giving the image of an Interstate 2–which is geographically impossible, but hey, if Bud Shuster can bring I-99 to Pennsylvania...

KOCO, Channel 5, Oklahoma City, OK (hence the call), has a designed oversized 5 on a smaller blue circle, and an angle line that reminds us of KITv 5 Honolulu's approach (we see a design style common aspect there)...

KPHO Phoenix, which is an O&O, displays the Mandate decisively ... nothing much else to say here:

KPIX, the CBS O&O in San Francisco, displays a design detail that's worth noting. Pay special attention to the knife-like shape inside of the bowl of the 5:

That shape, which the down-pointing bevel, belies KPIX's history as one of the legedary stations of the Westinghouse Broadcasting's Group W Stations. Four stations (KDKA amongst them) were all owned by Westinghouse Corp, and formed a kind of mini-network. It was Group W that brought you such early-evening 70s and 80s fare as PM Magazine and the fondly-remembered The Mike Douglas Show. The typographic style of the Group W logo was imported into the designs of the logos of the Group W stations, particularly the unique shape of the negative spaces–which is where the inside of the 5 gets that particular point. Other than that, the Mandate reigns supreme.

KREX, Grand Junction Colorado, has an effective if uninspired logo:

The 5 is a bit squashed as the concession to design, the eye lives in fear of being crushed by it, and yes, theres a whole lotta News Channeling goin' on.

KRGV, Brownsville TX, lets the 5 rule its News Ch...ch...ch...aw, someone else say it...

Though we give due credit for use of color and the drama of the mottled red backing it up.

KSDK, Channel 5, Saint Louis, comes up with an unexpected design element: the clever use of gray and a part of the Gateway Arch:

The gray background has the additional effect of accentuating the saturated-red 5, giving it a relation to it and making it feel designed even though it's just simple typography. High design ... and high marks for this one.

KSL Channel 5, Salt Lake City, gives you 5 in a circle in a totally designed single piece that has a classic ring to it:

KSTP serves the cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul with a logo that successfully blends wavy curves and hard lines and edges, with the ABC button linking it all and nailing it down:

A bit of trivia from the Wikipedia page; the studios and offices are located dead on the common city limits line; if you walk down the center of the walk up to the front door, one foot's in Minneapolis, and the other is in Saint Paul. Nifty!

KSWB Channel 5, the CW station for San Diego, shows the typical "meh"-inspiring CW design scheme (no matter where you go, there you are, and it's all the same CW):

On the other end of this is KTLA's design. It's also a CW station, and shows it in the logo, but that swoop (which would be called swooshilicious anywhere else) and the totally-designed typeography stands in such refreshing contrast to the rest of the CW branding that it gets Best of Breed, CW division:


KVVU, Channel 5 Las Vegas, displays businesslike sobriety:

Actually, I've never much cared for the FOX logo, and that's not just because I feel that the network takes its audience as fools, but I just don't like the way the F and X and the O look like they come from different faces. It's irritating. Yes, I know it's a homage to the historic FOX logo, but I just don't like it. There. Said it. Feel better. BTW, no design at all to the 5. Moving on!

KXAS, channel 5, Dallas-Fort Worth, displays typical Texas pride with the Lone Star, with is cleverly done even if it's in the expected place:

Now here's a pleasantly surprise on a MyNetwork station–KYES, Channel 5, Anchorage, actually takes the MyNetworkTV logo over, replacing the network typography in the logo with the number 5, and expanding the frame:

It is not without its flaws: all that typography in the logo makes for some uncomfortably trapped space (particularly over the "my network". It would be improved if the fonts of the network name and the number, call sign, and city name were more harmonious. But this gets Best of Breed, MyNetworkTV.

Bangor ME's Channel 5, WABI, has a certain "New Englandness" about it: classic type forms, no shiny metal or overdesigned glyphs, and a 5 that wants to have just a little honest fun playing catch with the CBS eye there:

WCSC, Charleston, makes a rhyming connection that I'm surprised more haven't: Live 5 certainly has the desirable ring to it, and a muscular assertive 5 to support it all:

WCVB, Channel 5 Boston, does a neat design trick that results in an arrow inside the 5:

The ABC logo almost, but not quite, provides coverage you can count on.

You know who really rocks the 5 with the inside knocked out though? WCYB, serving the tri-city border area of Kingsport/Johnson City TN and Bristol TN/VA:

It's kind of risky the way the stem and the top stroke of the 5 have that area knocked out but the knockout lets out into the bowl of the 5. I'll bet this doesn't work for everyone; the upper half of the 5 almost has a different character than the bottom half, but it's interesting and memorable.

WDTV, 5, Charleston WV doesn't do anything groundbreaking with its logo, and it's channeling that news like a beeyotch, but it is interesting the way the CBS eye breaks the straight lines of the frame in the lower left:

It's a shame that it isn't Channel 40. Why that is is left as an excrcise to the reader.

Now, here's WEWS, Cleveland, demonstrating what the meaning of dynamic tension is via the off-center 5 connecting with the circle in an off-center way:

Oh, gosh, Martha. There's another TV station on our side. With all this media for us, who dare be against us? Anyway, the off-centeredness creates an impression of a shifting of the center of gravity of the object we see. It looks like it's about to roll off and go do something all news-channely.

Here's a two-channel constellation that demonstrates the power of uniform branding:

The same face for the calls, the same style of 3 and 5. WFRV is the main station in Green Bay WI, WJMN is the satellite station in Escanaba, MI (I'm glad I could include that; I just like saying "Escanaba"). The 5 and the 3 each, in and of themselves, have a subtly designed feeling to them.

WKRG, Channel 5 Mobile AL/Pensacola FL, has a 5 we've seen elsewhere, but gives it a gold hoop rather than a solid shape to back it up. Not high design, but not bad really–it's kind of unexpected (though the eye providing coverage you can count on certainly is not):

WLWT, Cincinnati, displays an obliqued 5 and a light blue square behind but doesn't do anything unexpected–but still generates interest but justifying the 5 a little up and a little right:

WMAQ, Chicago ... big golden 5, check ... big NBC peacock, check ... uncomfortable space under the peacock, check ... NBC O&O ... 'ey, you gotta problem with that?

WMC, channel 5, Memphis, has a free-willed 5, full of spirit, and a clever riverboat integrated in.

WNEM 5, Saginaw, MI ... this is just a nice logo. I smile when I look at this. Elegant, understated, lovely.

WYNW 5, New York City, the FOX flagship, displaying what we're coming to find is the FOX house style:

WOI, Channel 5, Des Moines IA, leaves me torn. The recapitulation of the circle in the ABC logo is cool, but the 5 just looks set there, and the stroke weight of the bowl actually looks thinker than the stem and top strokes of the 5. I enjoy it over all, but I don't like the way the 5 looks.

WPTV, Channel 5, West Palm Beach Florida, does the circle-5 trick that WEWS does–but then gives it rectangular roomates:

They don't seem comfortable together. I'd look for other roommates, dawg.

Burlington's WPTZ doesn't excite much:

WRAL, Raleigh NC, seems to want to hide its 5 away. This lo-res illo is possible through thier streaming video and screencap...

And here's a better version, but it's part of a charity drive logo:

The combination of the simple 5 and the serifed call sign won't win any awards, but it's not too bad. I liked it. It was irritating to try and find an example of it at WRAL.com.

Ohai, Washington DC's WTTG, can has FOX O&O? O yes. Kthxbai:

WTVF, Nashville, has a typographic solution, boldfacing NEWS and putting the 5 in a round-cornered square. It works interestingly but unspectacularly:

And are they busy...I thought channeling the news was enough but they're also leading your news and information around, and I'm thinking, hey, fella, dial that back a bit...

And, finally, WTVH, Utica/Rome NY, which obliques everything and puts it in a parallelogram, kind of effectively:

And thats it, and that's all for now...except, of course, for our musical number. See you in the sixes!

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Kevin Allman said...

A nice analysis, as always - but I have to stick up for my favorite 5: "Catch 5"!


One of the most insane news promos of all time: The Electric Company meets Peter Max meets Anchorman meets sideburns that probably violate the Geneva Convention.

Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

That was an amazing piece of film. Words utterly fail me.

Actually, I thought I was watching a Virginia Slims commercial or something like that.

I viewed some of the other WEWS captures from that era ... that YouTube channel had several ... they sure did have fun didn't they?

Ben said...

As stated previously, KSL 5 has used that blue 5 (that looks a lot like the one you spotlight above) since 1980 or so. It replaced a tacky and not particularly appreciated technicolor logo.

Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

@ Ben: I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge that. You did indeed point that out.

What ever the old logo looked like, it was so bad they didn't let it get out on the net anywhere. Twenty pages of Google image search and I'm still empty handed.

Maybe it was for the best, neh? B-)

Anonymous said...

Gotta vent...

I absolutely hate the KOBI/KOTI branding. Always have. I remember being very annoyed with it as a little kid, because (a) there is no Interstate 2 anywhere near here and (b) they used to use "Channel 5M" and "Channel 2K" which do not exist.

The funniest thing about that logo, though, is the brand confusion it causes. It used to be called Eyewitness News (I think). A whole lot of people I knew called it "The I-5 News" because of that logo...

Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

Though it would be kind of cool to find an Interstate 2. Now, that would be along the Mexican Border (or maybe south of I-4 in Florida, through the Everglades ... but hell, if Bud Shuster can have him an I-99 out of sequence in eastern Pennsylvania, we can have us and I-2 running through KFalls ... )

That branding, 5M/2K, looks like they were trying to be clever about the towns they were in - 5 in Medford and 2 in KFalls. The interstate-highway sign branding leaves me kind of cold too, at least because it's not really strong – most larger towns have an interstate running through them, it's not very distinctive or even very warm and personal.

The fact that people you knew called it The I-5 News just serves to prove that point. It's like "Oh, hey, you use an interstate highway shield because the freeway runs through your town ... I see what you did there ... "

The southwestern corner of Oregon is home to some of our state's most spectacular and lovely scenery. Certainly they could factor Crater Lake in there, or something like that.

Timothy Mischka said...

KPHO isn't owned by CBS; they just are in last place, so they don't brand effectively; they're actually owned by Meredith Corp., owners of Better Homes & Gardens, and owners of your local FOX/MyNet duop, KPTV and KPDX (who were traded to Meredith by Fox after they acquired Chris-Craft/United; they got Meredith's WOFL in Orlando, in exchange for KPTV (which had been UPN, they swapped with already Meredith-owned KPDX).