By now, you’ve probably noticed that Comedy Central has unveiled a brand new logo…that is, if you are as obsessed with Tosh.0 and Its Always Sunny In Philadelphia as we are. The twenty year-old network publicized their fresh, and very different, logo (designed by the talented New York based group, thelab) in December of 2010.
First reactions were, of course, negative, as most corporate rebrands are. Many complained about its lack of character and its ties to the copyright symbol – two qualities that actually seem to be making it stronger. The new mark is, simply put, a “C” nested inside a backwards C. Even Comedy Central jokes about its likeness to the copyright symbol on their Twitter page by saying “The only difference between our logo and the copyright symbol? The gap.” Accompanying the mark is a logotype set in a bold sans serif typeface. The words play off the mark, flipping the word Central upside down and backwards. Sure, the copyright symbol has been around since the beginning of intellectual property rights, but this allows for Comedy Central to be clever with its use – and they are doing just that. In their promotional video, as well as icons of characters from shows, they have placed the “CC” icon exactly as the copyright icon would be used. Armin Vit from Brand New puts it perfectly, “While the copyright symbol demarcates as ’hands off,’ Comedy Central’s logo demarcates as ‘this is funny shit.’”
Opinions on the mark’s so called “lack of character” and “boring” characteristics are to be expected from the typical television audience, who are constantly flooded with shiny surfaces and drop shadows. The strength in the new mark is its simplicity – not dullness – and its memorability. The humor in it may be a bit dry, but the backwards “C” and flipped “Central” provide just enough absurdity to give the mark relevance. Chances are, the next time you see the “CC” logo on the street, you won’t think of how boring it is, but you’ll remember the last time you laughed while watching the network.
In their promo commercial, Comedy Central is using the mark with energy and wit, which gives it all the life it needs. Accompanying this cleverness, the new branding has utilized an elegant italic serif typeface to present paragraphs of copy. They use it playfully, not giving the viewer enough time to read what is actually written. In my opinion, this is smart marketing, driving the end user to find the video, pause it, and read what is actually written, which in turn drives the brand strength even further.
All in all, it seems thelab has hit a home run for ComedyCentral with the new branding. They have developed a mark that stands apart from the crowd, yet subtly embodies ComedyCentral perfectly. Who said being funny can’t be sophisticated?
By: Neil Ryan, Designer