20 February 2008

[logo_design] Channel Surfing: It's Elevenses!

1380. Just about to come to the end of our VHF dial. We are on eleven, at the eleventh hour, the eleven o'clock report.

Our first stop is Columbia LA, KAQY. The 11 doesn't quite seem to go with the circle, but the gradient gives a warm feeling.

KARE Channel 11 is in the Twin Cities, and plays on the twinness as well as the falls (St. Anthony's):

Channel 11 Lubbock TX, KCBD, has a look that recalls the skyline of Dallas in the famous nighttime soap, and, refreshingly, no lone-star trope:

The last version of KCBY, Channel 11, Coos Bay Oregon's logo we have still was using the Fisher corporate look. The on-screen look has the new look that is being used by the other smaller-market Flag stations, as we've commented here before.

Channel 11 in Albuquerque NM is KCHF, but identifies as SBN, the "Son Broadcasting Network", a Christian broadcaster (you think?). The only complaint about this is that the light colors work very poorly on a the white background we found it on. They should have a version that provides for clear display on white backgrounds. Graphic designers usually will provide a version for use on light backgrounds, or will suggest that the logo never be used on a white background.

KELO, Channel 11, Sioux City IA, bills itself as KELO without the channel number. Usually I'd be disappointed by this, but the verve of the call-sign-based logo (and the naming of the broadcast area as "KELOLand") are all pretty charming indeed.

KELO's My Network TV DT2 subchannel is called "My U TV", an identity forwarded from the days when it was the local UPN station and identified simply as "U TV". The treatment of the U comes from the former U TV logo, and the circle holding the letters TV used to be the newer-look "upn" logo. This is a deft way of preserving public perception – the letter "U" could mean anything (and is friendly, sounding like the word "you") so it remains a good-enough fit, ID-wise. The direct insertion into the rectilinear My Network logo is kind of daring.

KFFX TV, Channel 11, FOX TV in the Tri-Cities market in Washington ... yep, FOX empire style:

KHOU, Houston – The spririt of Texas. By that we're guessing that the lone star is implied and need not be overly expressed. But the paralellogram respects the obliqued 11, so the design is actually quite solid.

KKCO Grand Junction Colorado: The boxes organize the content, but the elements dont really get along with each other:

KKTV, Colorado Springs, has a red parallelogram which also works with its numerals – but the "NEWS", while obliqued similarly, live in a right-rectangle, which distracts from the design unity.

The My Network DT subchannel adds the KK in cleverly, but the observant typographer will note that the "my" and "TV" are in Futura, whereas the "KK" might not be – might be Helvetica or something. However, the way they took advantage of the logo to work the call sign in gets bonus points:

KMSB, channel 11 Tucson – almost overcomes the FOX empire style with color, and well done there, but also has miniscules based on the majuscules ... and I've already moaned about how much I hate the O in the FOX. Kill them before they grow please, someone:

KMVT, Twin Falls ID, Channel 11. We picture Idaho to be the kind of place were NASCAR is big, and KMVT's logo would be right at home on the side of a stock car:

KNTV, San Francisco, is most likely an O&O:

KPLR, Channel 11, St Louis. The CW. Meh.

KRXI, FOX 11, Reno. Meh.

KSTW, Seattle, Channel 11. The CW. Meh.

They called him KTHV, but if you tallked to this Arkansawyer nicey like and became his friend, he let you call him what he lets his closed friends call him ... just THV.

He's today's THV. Which kinda sounds like a controlled substance, neh? Next time you're in Little Rock, maybe he'll sell you a little rock?

KTTV, FOX 11, Los Angeles. Meh, again (I expect a little more flash from Los Angeles, to be honest).

KTVA, Anchorage AK. Photoshop: Bevel and emboss, outer glow. See – graphic design isn't so hard ... (sigh)

KTVF Channel 11, Fairbanks, has structure and a bit of energy, a bit of northern lights action behind the 11, and unexpected interest in the way the "TVF" are smaller caps. Not a bad logo, really:

KTVL, channel 11, Medford. The completely-miniscule type that all the city names are in actually makes the meh-licious graphic presentation interesting.

KTVT, Fort Worth TX. The varying of the blue and white make for an intersting layered effect. The parallelogram containing all the obliqued type makes it a very strong design. And even though I've mocked the lone star before, it's used well here, aligning on one of the 1's and tying both of them together.

KTWU, Topeka KS, has a treatment I approve of on the number, at least because I'm fond of the way the old TV Guide represented the channel numbers in the listings, and this reminds my of it. I'd update that call-sign type though – it, in combination with the bevelled background, makes it look like part of a news set from 1975 or so.

If you have an interesting letter in your call sign it's a good thing to try to make it a centerpiece of the design – letters like Q and Z are good for this, as is the letter V in KVLY, Fargo, ND – a checkmark is a mark smart and organized people use to keep track of what's going on, so there's some positive baggage there too:

KYMA, Yuma's channel 11, has a solid though unexciting approach. What's interesting here is how the 11 lives comfortably in the right rectangle it's in. Notable is the stripe reading the common tagline "where news comes first"; it's exactly like the one KENV, Elko NV, uses.

WBAL, Baltimore, has broad-shouldered 1's – which kind of fit the impression of the city that I've gained over the years – strong, hardworking, impressive.

WBKB, Channel 11, is on the Upper Peninsula in Michigan. It's the third-smallest market in the nation (possibly the universe) and is the only broadcast station in its market. An old joke, according to Wikipedia, is that the station's call sign used to stand for We Barely Know Broadcasting, since the only talent they used to be able to attract are essentially entry-level people.

The design isn't terribly notable, except for the way they put the 11 in the middle of the eye, the only station we've seen so far that uses the network logo that way.

WHAS, Louisville, KY, doesn't have a real memorable logo, but it does make effective use of the strong shapes with a bright color.

WINK TV uses channel 11 in Fort Myers FL, and is also excused from having to use the channel number in their logo because they do such a good job of using type, and also the lettters WINK next to the CBS eye is just so cool

WJHL, channel 11, Johnson City TN, has a treatment we've seen before:

WLJT, channel 11, Jackson TN, is a PBS station. Some design is going on here; the designer used the strong vertical strokes and the way the L and the J reach out toward each other on their lower extremities to create structure. But since the glyphs were all kind of just slid up next to each other, the design feels half done:

FOX 11, WLUK, Green Bay, uses the FOX empire style, which is so tiresome we won't even make a joke about it any more, and what a missed opportunity too, with a call sign that could be read as "W-Luck":

WPIX is the New York City CW station. As seems typical for historically notable stations, the outlet keeps its call sign in. WPIX had a "circle 11" logo for a while which was rather famous, but past glory must be rolled over by current corporate uniformity. Sad, just sad.

WPXI, Pittsburgh, has a very interesting logo resulting from the combination of the 11 and the closing circle. it looks very sophisticated and cosmopolitan.

WTOC, Savannah GA, has a charming "small market" look about it:

WTOK, Meridian MS, does little tricks with the corner-ends on the 1's which give the design a sort of charming sophistication which belies its small-market location.

WTOL, Channel 11 Toledo, has a call sign which sounds like a bit of military hardware, and through little tricks (the 1 which sticks ever-so-slightly out of the red square, and the blue line that goes out only so far as the call-sign letters and matching their color) has good unity dispite the considerable air in there:

WTTW, Chicago, has a very very witty style to it; the symmetry of the letters is played on, the crossbars on the t's provide structure, the "tt" seems to recapitulate the 11, and the tops of the miniscules form the bottom of the line that the undersides of the tabs on the 11 for the top of. It has great internal structure and order.

WTVD, Durham NC, uses a strong though unremarkable presentation with burly, obliqued 11:

WVAH, Huntington WV, FOX Empire style, all together now, "Meh!"

And lastly this time, WXIA, Atlanta, uses "11 Alive", which is notable because it was pioneered by WPIX (CW 11 above). The blue colors separated while the overlapping 1 unifies, so there's energy in what would otherwise be a "locked down" design:

And that's it for this episode, peoples. 11 is a hard number to design to so, even though I snarked a bit, I must tip my hat to those designers who took these two stick-numbers and make a serious go of design on them. As usual curses to you, FOX and CW, for having one unintersting style.

And here's an artistic story about 11. Stockard Channing was hot as a nurse. Sadly, this was run on Sesame Street, so we're getting that "uh-oh" feeling. Ah, the way we were ...

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fringes said...

This is what I get for reading your blog in RSS. I missed the new header! Coming in from my reader to tell you I loved this post. Very well done!

Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

Thanks for saying. If you liked this one I've got a whole series of 'em up from the channel of 2. Just click on the label.

Yeah, I like my own work; my new header image still makes me smile. And Helvetica Neue baby!