15 September 2014

[logo] KINK's New Logo: The KINKtrix, Reloaded

This was actually pointed out to me more than a couple of weeks back, by Ben. And, by way of explanation, if not exculpation, whenever I tried to write about it, I found myself having to restate my words over the first few paragraphs.

Or, as, the say on FB, It's Complicated. 

KINK, Portland's legendary FM station at 101.9 on your dials, goes back a hell of a long way; 1968, an eternity in broadcasting, and an infinity in todays furiously format-flipping radio landscape. I don't think I'm unsafe in saying that Portland's radio landscape has gotten a lot more dreary since the the late 1990s, but fortunately we still have outlets such as KINK who, even if music has diverged and become richer in tone and substance, still approach it the same way … literately, with thoughtfulness and style and an awareness developed over nearly 50 years of taking the music they play seriously.

I was impressed by how seriously when I discovered that KINK is using the TuneGenie online service to provide its Listen Live function. This is more than just a simple stream. Each song is listed at the time it played, and gives links to online clips, the lyrics, and even to iTunes purchase links. Song you just heard caught your ear? Go ahead and buy it right now.

It's pretty nifty. This screenshot (from http://kink.tunegenie.com) gives you an idea (you might have to go through the main website at http://kink.fm to get there tho):

Classic Bowie, The Verve, and three or four bands I never heard of. All of that fits in with the new tagline … but I get ahead of myself.

My history with listening to KINK goes back to the mid-80s. It was the days where apartments in NW Portland were still affordable on the minimum wage; 1-room with a kitchenette on NW Flanders between 21st and 22nd with a shared bathroom in a very clean and well-maintained old mansion were $150/month. The meagre choices of jobs I would ere be offered was well on its way toward evolving me into the night owl I seem to have become, and KINK was the only station I ever listened to. I knew the late-night velvet that was Lights Out, which was nice because that was just enough jazz for my day. Steve Winwood ruled the airwaves and his songs won my heart. And there was else and other.

The 1970s.
The KINK format and approach has remained consistent and so, up until recently, has the logo. The original logo, legend has it, had block caps and a mountain and a bird, but that didn't seem to sit with the image the organization had for itself, so it's said, so in the early 70s, the wordmark that would serve in various versions for the next 40-odd years was created: the minuscule 'kink', in handwritten script. Relaxed, informal, yet erudite and smart, it neatly embodied the KINK vibe.

In those days, of course, radios didn't do any of this nancy-poncy decimal point frequencies. Sure, it's always been at 101.9 on the FM dial, but our Dads and Moms tuned to "KINK, FM One-Oh-Two", and they liked it.

The 1990s-2000s
Times changed but, as I said, the logo … not much. By the first decade of the 2000s the kinky script had moved out of the old square pad and into a newer and more modern oval with a yellow background. But the True-to-the-music spirit of the old logo was still there in its casual script, and the tagline was still True To The Music, even though the glyphs underlying the design boasted of its precise frequency and its web address as another place to tap into that KINKy goodness.

Scarcely a year ago the logo evolved again, as I wrote about in this blog here: http://zehnkatzen.blogspot.com/2013/11/logo-kink-fm-true-to-logo.html. And here's what I wrote at the time:
Today's KINK is much the same as the 1980s version. But they've ventured more into live acts and similar promotions. The new logo, which boasts the terrestrial frequency as well as the legendary tagline, encourages you to think of KINK the way a lot of stations do these days - frequency-name, so it's going with the fashion in a fashion, but in some ways you gotta change with the times, even if your content stays timeless … as the script logo, which I've always enjoyed, does.
This was the then-new version of the logo:

Circa 2013, November
… which I was a little mixed on but I did enjoy the fact that they remained true to the logo.

Well, if you've seen any of the commercials they've been running on TV latterly, you'll know that the look is all-new and rather cool. And this is it (screen-capture from the website … no high-def available, unfortunately) …

My feelings are decidedly mixed about this. And they revolve around two poles. The first one being: I didn't think the old look was old, or dated, or needed to be particularly fixed in any way. But that's why I maundered prolix about what KINK has meant to me; you don't get to know someone for that long without learning the contours of their face. I grew up an inveterate radio-listener. A favorite radio station for me was part of my daily survival kit; you go to a favorite stream to get just the right kind of water – well, your mind is the same thing. You go to a favorite station to hear the music you want to hear, and KINK's eclectic, unafraid mix of what's new and what's classic is just the right soundtrack for late lights over a drawing board, noodling around in sketchbooks or writing in one's diary … or just grooving on the late-night air.

The second one is … this logo is pretty good, actually. There's been a trend in making inspired type choices carry the design water, and this sticks that landing pretty well. A note I enjoy is the way the callsign is in minuscule … the tagline, Discover Music (which is always delivered with a strategic, pregnant pause in the TV commercials between the two words) is in mixed-case. The strictly lower-case display of the call-letters, though, recalls the older 'handwritten' logo in a subtle thematic way. 

So, the logo works and works well. Kudos there. 

But to, all of a sudden, find that my old friend is gone and won't be coming back? I has teh sad there, folks. Sorry, I can't lie about my feelings here. 

So, good on KINK for coming up with a good, solid logo, easy on the eye, in fashion and current with the type. I do sincerely think it's well-done.

But, if you really must know, KINK's left its script signature on my heart, and that's exactly the way it'll stay there. 

No comments: