05 June 2008

[logo_design] Channel Surfing: 12 O'Clock High


Well, children and people everywhere, it's been a while. In honor of our acquisition of our two Federally-subsidized digital conversion boxes, I realized it was time to seal the deal and get through the last two spots on your obsolescent VHF dial.

Here we go ... with number 12.

I always appreciate it when a PBS affiliate includes its number in its branding. and 12 is just a cool looking number ... it goes with everything. KBDI, Denver:

Channel 12, Beaumont TX, has the requisite accessories for Texas broadcasting: Red, White, Blue, and Star. The More. Local. News. part of the design looks like three buttons you have to choose one of. I mean, I know what you get when you press "News" and maybe "Local", but what do you get if you hit the "More" button? Do I want to know? Or is like a command-key and you use it to modify one of the other two? So many choices!

KCCW, Walker MN, rebroadcasts WCCO-Minneapolis' signal, which explains why a small-market station has such a sophisticated look (we've found that usually the opposite is true)

KCOY CBS 12 isn't all that coy ... they'll take you, anytime and anywhere ... but presumably only if you're somewhere around Santa Barbara CA. But I do enjoy the letterforms here. Yes, I am a letterform slut. Now, it can be told. Take me, KCOY, take me!

Oregon's other channel 12 is located in Medford, KDRV. It's a nice look. Probably won't win any awards, but very appropriate. Nice color palette too.

KEYC, Mankato MN, is The One To Watch. I love slogans like that. Nobody ever calls a radio station that. Very steely look to the serious logo. Note a very clever point, and that point is between the words one and two in the tagline, and it's repeated between the 1 and 2 in the logo. One, two, 1, 2, One 2 Watch, 1 two watch ...

KFVS, Cape Girardeau, MO, has a solid looking design there:

KUAM is the PBS station for Guam. Before it adopted its curent look, it had this funky cool look going on, looks rather hand crafted and parochial, but in the charming way:

Silas Lyons, editor of the Redding Searchlight-Record, had it that one of my blog entries back on 1st April was a subtle dig at Redding. I differ, but reasonable people can do this (actually I envy Redding for having a Calatrava-designed bridge, but we're digressing here). My dig toward KHSL 12's logo isn't so subtle: Blah. And would someone please fix the kerning between the R and the E in the word "redding"? It's kind of like a hot poker in the eye. I cry a little and die a little inside whenever I see things like that.

Joplin MO's Channel 12 has Action 12 News, which is very serious. The logo is executed rather cleverly, with the bevelling giving it a bit of a sophisticated feel, and note the way the word NEWS is executed in four different weights in the red stripe. I enjoy that. It's kind of hokey, but I enjoy it.

I've heard of the following station somewhere, I just don't know ...

Seriously though, when KPTV went from being Oregon's 12 to FOX 12 Oregon, I was actually happy. Not because it had gone from being one of the most remarkable independents in the country to being a FOX station, but because it looked very much like they were going to strip it of every vestage of local flavor and color. The styling of the digits and the inclusion of the word Oregon in the logo is a very welcome nod to the history KPTV has with Portland, and most importantly, it's not the yawn-a-licious FOX empire style.

Now, KPNX makes what might have been a rather boring logo interesting by abstracting in the western border of the state of Arizona, a state whose outline has always been visually interesting to me.

KSAT in San Antonio TX deserves credit for having a logo that connotes action without having to use the word ACTION as a crutch somwhere. The little fast-forward double-arrow reinforces the notion with admirable cleverness.

KSLA TV doesn't have a particularly groundbreaking logo, but the treatment of the 12 is effective. Making the logo a solid object and skewing it from the POV of the viewer makes for dynamic interest.

KTRV, Boise's channel 12, also makes the uninteresting FOX empire style interesting. I enjoy the lighting effect and the gradient treatment on the notional surface of the logo.

And there's a nifty version that nods to the history of the station, which is also cool because everything is not centered and it still works.

I think we've visited this little network before. In collecting these logos, I've found that this is a common treatment across the intermountain west.

KVOS is a station in Bellingham WA that serves both that city and Vancouver BC as well. The interesting thing about this is that it's cool even though it doesn't include the numeral 12. The positive-negative space is a zoomed-in part of the K. Very nifty.

KWCH Wichita has that nifty bowshock that stands in for actual design work. I swear, by now I've seen it so much ... do they get that design at KMart or WalMart or 7-Eleven or what? What a yawner in branding.

KXII is one of two stations in the nation that uses the roman numeral to create its call-sign, which is cool. Serving the mythical land of Texoma, it has THE MOST, as the Star-treky font declares. And First News! So assertive!

KXMB, channel 12 in Bismarck/Mandan ND, is part of the KXnet, a handful of stations that serve the state of North Dakota in a "micronetwork", which we've found is a common approach where the distances are wide and the population low.

WBNG, Binghampton NY, has a effectively-done logo which adapts well to screen bugs and lower-third display. I enjoy the way the 12 is reversed-out space.

WBOY is located in central West Virginia, and keeps it simple and sophisticated, and is also lower-third optimized:

WCTI serves northeastern North Carolina, and even though the POV design is kind of uninspired, I like it. It does create dynamic energy in the logo, which is an important job in News logos ... always on the go, always ready to cover it, whatever it is.

WDEF in Chattanooga may be DEF, but the bowshock is strictly YAWN. The gradient does class it up a bit.

Wilmington DE's public station, WHYY has one of the coolest callsigns available, and no mistake. Even though they don't use the channel number in the logo, they do an incredibly cool thing with the last letter. I'll let the design speak for itself:

Erie PA's WICU doesn't have the most exciting logo in the world, but a little shadowed gradient does make it interesting. And I do enjoy it when the call sign and channel make it into the logo.

Let's get the joke about the tagline out of the way; WISN, Milwaukee, WI. One of America's leading ABC stations. Someday, it hopes to be two of them. Now that I've gotten that off my chest, I really enjoy this logo. The abstracted 12 canted within the square is actually kind of daring, and it looks good. Cutting off parts of forms like that attracts your mind's interest; whether you know it or not, your brain works to complete the parts that were cut off. You can't help it. That's why designs like this are engaging. Tilting it creates tension and energy.

But they do have what they have the "straight" version.

Which is still pretty cool because that abstract version of the 12 rocks my world.

WJRT, Flint MI, keeps it simple and sophistcated?

WJTV Jackson MS: sew the shock, reap the bowshock ... but hey, it's a Media General company! That counts for something somwhere. Somehow.

I'm required by law to make this joke.

Baby, if you've ever wondered/Wondered, whatever became of me/I'm living on the air in Cincinnati/Cincinnati's WKRC.

Actually, I think I made that joke before. Nevermind.

But it is a well-working logo. and if you go to local12.com and mouse over that button, it will depress and light up. Niftycoolwebsitetime!

WPEC West Palm Beach: not a bad effort despite being kind of trope-y. The difference is angling the 12 up ever-so-slightly. This is what I mean by a little design going a long way. Sometimes it takes just one little move to make something ordinary into something interesting.

Channel 12, WPRI Providence RI, proudly serving Quahog, is a well-done logo. Why I can't stop seeing it as one of those little turtles in the Mario game? I don't know. But it is well done.

WRDW, Augusta GA, makes their logo interesting by extending the white stripe beyond the 12 on the right. The colors are chosen very well – the warm red contrasting with the cool every-where else.

The 12.2 subchannel – MyNetwork – isn't all that groundbreaking, but I like the way they executed it.

WSFA, Mongtomery Alabama:

WJTX TV is another provider in one of America's insular (that means island, folks) territories. The playful unself-consciousness of the design is a real winner, and reflects the easy island lifestyle of the US Virgin Islands. They even have a lizard as the station mascot ... very playful for a PBS station.

The difference in this logo is the subtle way in which the 1 is baseline shifted up a little, which makes it unexpectedly interesting. WTLV, Jacksonville FL:

WWBT, Richmond VA ... meh. Does its job. No design going on though.

WXII, channel 12 in central North Carolina does the same thing as WTLV does but backs it up with a red square.

And, last for this go around, WYES in New Orleans LA. This picture I really wanted to share; it's on the WYES Wikipedia page, and WYES doesn't really use this as a logo, but the dim lines you see across it? Those are high-water marks from the Hurricane Katrina disaster. Never forget, people!

For the video to play us out, here's a reporter at WXII in North Carolina, having a close-encounter of the redneck kind. Hope she got paid hazard pay for that! So, until next time ...

Give Us some sugar!


stan said...

This comment is not spam like the above comment.

I've really been enjoying these TV logo posts, Sam. Sorry I haven't made that comment until now.

A few years ago, make that ten, I used to collect business cards. I was actually kind of nerdy about it, keeping them organized in little boxes, joining a business card collector's club, etc. One of the types of cards I was hoping to trade for and collect was that of TV/radio stations and newspapers/magazines. Since I am not collecting cards anymore (an unfavorable portrait of my hobby in a certain Jonathan Nicholas column in '99 helped me see the light), these posts have given me a chance to sort of retroactively "collect" these logos vicariously.

All that to say, thanks for the research and the commentary. I'll bet it was fun!

stan said...

Oh, I forgot to mention, that Arizona logo for KPNX looks awkward against the black background; it looks like it started as a GIF or PNG with a transparency.

Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...


thanks for the thumbs ups. I've been having fun with this ... it includes two of my favorite things in the world; tv, and logos. It's extra cool if this does something for you too, and a satisfies a need that I didn't know anyone had. Spreading the goodness by sharing, that's what blog is all about.

The comment spam is gone, and curses to whomever leaves such stuff.

It would be nifty to get business cards on the stations. I might try that next.

I got the KPNX logo fixed. That was just me bein' lazy. Thanks, friend.

stan said...

Whoops, I should have also pointed out the same for WJTX and WWBT, though WJTX isn't as jaggy.

I promise, I'm not nitpicky! Just helpin' a brother out.