And while I’m having a rant about ITV executive decisions …
In general, I hate rebranding initiatives. They’re usually a completely pointless exercise and a waste of a considerable time and money, and no one’s really very happy with the result. Such things should be entered into only if there’s a clear and immediate purpose and reason for them, not just as a vanity project or to ‘freshen things up’, which is the most commonly given reason for such things.
For example, the UK’s independent TV network ITV last undertook a major brand redesign a little over ten years ago, and back then it was necessary because the company had spread out from one terrestrial channel to a line-up of five digital channels and multiple separate businesses; these had to be brought under one brand, while still giving each of them their own distinctive brand colour to go with their ident number (and the main channel ITV went to being called ITV1 as part of the roll-out.) The end result was bright, clean and professional – not the warmest and most loveable thing in the world, nor the most memorable, but it did the job that it needed to and still to this day looked pleasingly modern and up-to-date.
That brand is now history, and as of 6am on Monday, January 14 the new brand and logos went live across the network. ITV1 is now back to being ITV (which means it’s now a problem what to call the company itself so that it doesn’t get confused with its flagship channel), the colours of the different channels are now no longer fixed and instead morph ‘chameleon-like’ to suit its surroundings, while the new basic logotype itself looks instantly dated by using a sort of geometrical ‘child’s fat cursive’ that’s the sort of thing a young kid might draw with chunky crayons and then colour in at random. Presumably it’s meant to position ITV as warm and approachable – your loveable pal on the TV – but to me it infantalises the brand and by extension the consumers of that brand (you and I) and seems to imply that we need to be addressed as if we’re rather simple children at that.
In fairness, I’ll say that the new logo doesn’t look as bad in its on-screen use as it does on paper – give it a segment of film to run over and have the colours move through it in a soft wave and it can actually look quite passable. Unfortunately what all that says is, “it’s fine as long as there’s enough happening to distract you from actually seeing and looking at it.” That’s not good.
You can argue, “Oh, it’ll grow on you” but actually I find I very rarely shift my opinion on a logo once established. Remember the London 2012 logo? Well, I absolutely hated that as a total mess when it was unveiled; my reaction was so visceral that it actually left me horrified and thinking, “If the Games are of this quality then it’s going to be a total disaster.” Even now, seven years later after a wildly successful Olympics that gave us all (myself included) a huge boost in national pride, I still regard it as a total atrocity that I’ve ruthlessly edited out of my highlight memories of the Games themselves. Even the longevity of the brand and positive associations it now has can’t shift my loathing of it.
Apparently this new ITV redesign comes with a “multi-million pound” price tag for its development and most of all its complicated roll-out across so many different channels. I have to ask, is it really worth it? In a difficult climate for businesses across the country, is it really the thing to spend a lot of money on? Next time ITV start bleating about falling revenues and having to cut back about spending on actual programmes, they’d better now do it photographed against that new logo of theirs or else they won’t find much sympathy here.