VH1

rotodesign's picture

Not that their old logo (left) was so great, but does anybody get what they were going for with this redesign? A crate with a leaf sticking out?
VH1 old and new

hrant's picture

You can't be serious.

hhp

rotodesign's picture

Okay, let me phrase it differently, and with a lot more words. "VH1" originally stood for "Video Hits 1," but nobody remembers that. The old logo emphasized the "1," which ties into the slogan "Music First" -- probably an attempt to differentiate VH1 from sister station MTV, who were showing fewer videos and more non-music programming. The new logo emphasizes the Vh, with the backwards 1 disappearing into the h. Maybe there's something obvious I'm missing (wouldn't be the first time), but what does this new logo represent?

Dan Weaver's picture

I didn't see it as a leaf, I saw it as a piece of the V folding over on its self. I'm sorry but it looks just plain bad. Hard to read and why a box. Was that for thinking inside the box?

cerulean's picture

Considering that the only reason to watch VH1 is for the rare source of '80s nostalgia, Mike's original design is exactly what they need now.

As for the new logo, count me among the dumbfounded. What the hell is it? Why is the one backwards? Did they actually pay for that train wreck?

cerulean's picture

Okay, waaait a minute... I think I see...
vtM, Vh1
Tenuous, but better than no explanation at all.

Grant Hutchinson's picture

More discussion on the VH1 logo took place over at Speak Up back in September.

http://www.underconsideration.com/speakup_v2/archives/001579.html

hrant's picture

But small doses help build up your immune system. :-)

hhp

armin's picture

Oh toughen up Pemberton : P

cerulean's picture

Well, now I've read the designer's explanation, such as it is, in the Speak Up thread. So, it's just... deliberately nonsensical, meant to look "unfinished" by doing a number of meaningless and unattractive things.

I wanted to give them more credit than that. I saw how the shapes in "h1" were smooshed together to make a sort of T, and how the V extended off the side of the block, and said to myself, "At least someone was trying to do something even if they may have failed. I can respect that."

Instead it's the free verse philosophy. "There's no right or wrong way to do anything, so if I create something at random and you think it's ugly, that's a fault in you, not it." Bleah.

Dan Weaver's picture

Kevin they say if you put a bunch of monkeys in a room with typewriters eventually you will get a novel. I think VH1 should have tried that approach (give the monkeys crayons and paper) to designing their logo, I bet it would have been better.

rotodesign's picture

I have no problem with non-representational logos, and perhaps if the VH1 logo were just the type treatment I wou'dve bought that argument. My issue is it looks like it's trying to symbolize something, but is really meaningless. Why a box? Why a leaf? Why is the type crammed onto one side with a big empty panel to the right? The designer's explanation can be summed up as "why not?"

Sure, music and pop-culture industry logotypes have to change with the times, but to build something clunky and not worry about it because it's just going to get changed again anyway seems pretty lazy to me, and would tend to reinforce the notion that VH1 stands for nothing and will more than likely change directions when the next trend rolls along. Maybe that's the truth, but it's hardly the thing you want to emphasize in your corporate identity.

mazzei's picture

Joe,
First, thanks for the invite. I understand everyone is referring to the

hrant's picture

> it

mazzei's picture

To me spineful is when your looking the person in the eye. And I think being sincere is also about making "contact." Again, just my 2cents No need to change the icon...

hawk's picture

great job, Nancy.

beejay's picture

1) Here is a color version uploaded to one of the
Russia-based logo sites.
I don't know if these are the colors actually being used.

2) How it looks (roughly)
without the box and without the obliquing.


mazzei's picture

Just want to say, I'm am FOR

cerulean's picture

Glad to hear it, as I was getting the impression someone expected me to be ashamed of myself. It is in fact possible to give something careful consideration and still come to a negative conclusion. I examined it, looked for possible motives for the choices made, and read the justifications expounding that the design is existentially appropriate to something or other, but what I see is still the picture I would put next to "arbitrary" in a dictionary. Some seem to be arguing that that is the message VH1 should want associated with itself (most notably the assertion that begging to be replaced with another design as soon as possible is one of its inherent strengths), in which case, great job. But I am skeptical.

hrant's picture

> why not "own" a different attribute like playfulness

Because that stuff isn't "memorable", like a good logo should be?
The brown of UPS for example is memorable, because it's a tangible thing - heck, it's a physical wavelength! But I don't see any "atmosphere" successfully being associated with a company.

Is this a form of rebellion, perhaps? I could believe that there's a malaise with the formulaic way of making things so typical of the West, but I'm not sure that such "design exploration" can serve as more than a temporary venting mechanism. It seems parallel to the grunge font hooliganism of the 90s.

hhp

beejay's picture

I may be wrong, but I *think* that some third-party hooligan
designer digitized a crude copy and posted it at logo.nino.ru.

The gray version at the top doesn't appear to have the weird leaf join.


Nancy could probably tell us how the uploaded version
compares to her version. And maybe it would be a good
idea for VH1 to upload the correct version ... maybe?

rotodesign's picture

The version at the top is a screen grab from the VH1 web site. I cropped out the background, but it's otherwise unaltered.

beejay's picture

just for the record, wasn't referring to you Patrick
as the third-party hooligan. :-)

When I referred to the 'uploaded' version, I meant the vector .eps
uploaded to logos.nino.ru or whatever it is.

rotodesign's picture

Gotcha, just trying to stay out of trouble.

ebensorkin's picture

There is alot of graphic design being done now that isn't interested in craft - just effect.

The thing is I don't think it is wrong per se. If it works it works. I don't 'like' the vh1 logo but it is interesting & flexible & a bit irritating which makes me look at it- perfect for them.

Another thing is that creating a classic logo that will stand the test of time may not be needed by every client or suit their purposes in fact. VH1 could be gone in 2 years - probably not - but you never know. So why make something classic & sturdy when a something flimsy & fun will do?

Chris Rugen's picture

Wow, this is why I like Typophile. Feedback like Nancy's. Very cool.

I'm not a fan of the logo, but with context (colors, the use of the cube, etc.) and explanation (Nancy's), it makes more sense to me.

I won't get into my opinions, as this thread's a bit stale now, but I did want to give some props to the Typophile boards. Rock on.

nicolaj's picture

Some times I wonder! Is it really possible to say if a logo is good or bad - just by looking at it? Of cause everybody can, on a individual aestetic level, say if it nicely done, if the colours fit the goal etc. BUT if the logo is good or bad? Mayby in a year og two you can start "messure" the effect of the new logo and then mayby you can start tarking about good or bad.

I know this is kind of of topic, but all the different opinions and the lack of my own made me wonder.

Am I wrong?

Nicolaj

nicolaj's picture

hm?

Nicolaj

Jem's picture

Well said 'interested observer'

I my humble opinion, the logo is poorly resolved. The perspective is incorrect, the mix of the 2D box, overlapping letters/number and flat leaf! is visually over complex and too small within the overall logo. (Look at the logo really small and you will see what I mean)

Colours are nice though.

hdschellnack's picture

Sorry, but I still don't like it. While the old one had a boldness, claiming to be the No. 1 music channel even though it was perceived as MTV's li'l sister, this new logo just isn't memorable, isn't modern, isn't unique and, worse, doesn't tell me anything at all about the channel. The same holds true for the original MTV-logo, sure, but that at least has the power of nostalgia and a certain (s)punky flair that I dig. The redesign for VH1 cold just as well be for some health-care organisation or some wellness product. Frankly, I'd rather have seen VH-1 all done in Helvetica and be done with it :-D.
Nancy, great to see you defend your work and if it really was picked from 25 designs, all the more power to you and your work. But, alas... a pitch with TWENTYFIVE new logos, in my opinion, is a grave mistake in itself. I'm completely against pitches these days, and maybe that is the problem with the logo.

shirly's picture

Does anybody which comapany created the new logo?

parker's picture

in house design

otomboy's picture

This got me wondering how most other well known logos have been chosen. How do they get the nod of approval from the typical target audience of design unsavy higher-ups (usually CEOs, partners and probably their family members)? How did logos like Lucent, NASA (worm), bp, etc. make the committee say "aha!"?

I think was just circumstance that Nancy was employed at the time that VH1 was taking submissions for a new logo, the same time other firms were submitting. And the comets aligned and that select group of decision makers selected Nancy's because it hit a vein with most of them; not necessarily everyone in the world, but the only decisions that mattered were that of the committees. Which is also the reason why we have logo's like Verizon, UPS, Gateway... no one knows the reasons except for the people that decided.

Personally I like the logo for reasons only my gut knows. I like it for the abstract symbol that it is, I like the vibrant colors, I like that it doesn't scream out "We're a music channel!" Overall, I like the new brand of VH1 in general. If I were on that committee, I can imagine the amount generic, corporate, overly-thought out, expertly crafted, letterspaced submissions and seeing Nancy's and feel a bit of freshness because of it's purely "I put these elements together because it instinctively felt right".

Dan Weaver's picture

Killer, a saying my mother use to say to me: (as a joke) (I think she got it from The New Yorker (a cartoon)). "Its all a matter of taste and your taste stinks." Remember, it was a committee that designed a horse and created the camel.

otomboy's picture

My mom also had a saying she used to say to me:(being serious)(I think it's from confucius(a wise man)"To practice five things under all circumstances constitutes perfect virtue; these five are gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and kindness." Thanks for taking the time to point out that I have no taste.

ebensorkin's picture

There is also the very true cliche that 'there is no accounting for taste'. Also 'One man's food is another man's poison' & so on.

If Dan or Micheal have taste or not is hardly important in some ways.

The more pressing question for me is - is the VH1 logo 'working' with it's target demographic. Is suspect it is.

ebensorkin's picture

The lucent logo worked well when it was introduced too. LOTS of people bought the stock.

Dan Weaver's picture

Eben, the logevity of the new mark proves all us nay sayers were wrong. It works for VH1, so hurray for the mark. I'm not a VH1 viewer and my taste probably reflects that.

hrant's picture

Remember: it's been empirically proven that the memorability of a piece of music is directly proportional to how annoying people find it. Ergo: graphic designers need to design less for each other. That said, I think the VH1 logo is horridly ugly. If I were a viewer, it would cause me to view less of it. But I know I'm not normal.

hhp

ebensorkin's picture

> the logevity of the new mark proves all us nay sayers were wrong

I wouldn't go that far, but I think that might be one measure to consider using if you are evealuating the 'success' mark. Being outside a given logo's demographic or target group is a hazard/benefit we all share in. ;-)

> I know I’m not normal.

Not average - certainly.

I agree that good graphic design often challenges the user/viewer a little, and if it is accepted it is stronger for the encounter and displaces previously accepted culture.

Also - people like a little pain. Coke & Fizzy water hurts the tougue & mouth a little. Hot foods do too. But we like the stimulation. Design need be no different as far as I can see. It's a matter of proportion.

hrant's picture

> people like a little pain.

Indeed. I wish the West wasn't so afraid of facing up to this.

hhp

Nick Shinn's picture

I like it a lot, especially the typography, the way the leaf and the flipped 1 are melded into the V and h, and all stuck together with kind of keyline mortar (like the Avant Garde logo). It's clever the way it pokes fun at all those logos that are just some type in a square (oops sorry BJ). Yes, it's very clever, very fun.

ebensorkin's picture

> It’s clever the way it pokes fun at all those logos that are just some type in a square

It is clever. & it does suggest fun.

What I like about it is the fact that it's design seems to have incorporate almost to know that it is just one in a succession of logos and unlike the others it is okay with it's temporary status. That comfort with transience seems cool. It's one of the things in aughtie (2000+) design which I found distintctive. VH1 isn't my favorite example but is is probably the most ubiquitous example.

Dan Weaver's picture

Indeed. I wish the West wasn’t so afraid of facing up to this.

Well, Bush is making us face up to pain. I feel for the casualities reported every day from Iraq.

Joe Pemberton's picture

This topic has come up on other boards. Forgive me if I repeat what I've said elsewhere.)

Why hang on to the old logo? Sure, nothing was wrong with it, but nothing was great about it either. It was stagnant, symmetrical and vanilla. That's why I appreciate their need to move on.

I'm not sure what to think of the new logo. The leaf, the hacked h and flipped 1 feel fresh. But overall it seems kind of slapped together. The stroke weights of the V h and 1 don't fit and Helvetica just seems tired here...

But the net takeaway is a needed change in that it lets the VH1 mark grow up.

The broadcast work is rock solid. The whole play on pop culture is fun and the original scoring is great. Finally, to beat the MTV comparison to death -- you can tell they're not deifying the logo like MTV did. See the VH1 reel at WeWorkForThem.

(WWFT did not design the logo. It was done in-house at VH1 by Nancy Mazzei.)

anonymous's picture

I was also sorry to see this new logo, however I was sorry to see the old logo which was the second logo. I may be biased as I was the letterer for the ORIGINAL logo which I think is still the best of the three.
I don't mind my work being replaced. i have enough logos on the market that one or two are inconsequential but it would be nice if I could say "Gee, that's nice!"
If this is a V peeling the rendering is off, and if it's a leaf hten it needs to be clearer. But we shouldn't have to guess. And I wont even discuss the relative weights of the 1 and the "h".

Joe Pemberton's picture

What difference does it make if it's a V folding on itself or a leaf or just an abstract organic shape? Should a logo always be a literal representation? I don't think so. I'm not necessarily going to defend this logo to the death, but I don't think it should be dismissed because we don't immediately get it.

And Kevin, you don't really think they have MTV envy do you? I can't imagine them sitting in a conference room saying, "what can we do to evoke the MTV logo?" At least I want to give them more credit than that.

That said, I think the execution is lacking. (As I've said before in this thread.)

Mike, your original logo may have worked well at the time, just like the second logo worked for them through the last decade. I see this third logo as simply more of the same. Not stylistically the same but it's an adequate logo that will serve them well for a time but need to be replaced or evolved sooner than later.

Couldn't we argue that identities for these kind of ephemeral brands (fashion, music, extreme sports, etc.) need to change more often to stay relevant or interesting? (Food thought, not necessarily words to design by.)

I think this is why this particular logo redesign is interesting. Because it's not for an airline or a telecom or something that needs to convey stability, longevity, timelessness, etc. It almost demands to be redone regularly.

Re: Speak Up
True, Grant. That's where you can see my earlier comments in context. As much as I like some of the dialogue at Speak Up, the acidic tones (attitude) over there are hard to take in large doses.

anonymous's picture

Joseph,
I'm not so sure. A successful mark could last maybe 20 or 30 years. Think about CBS, NBC, IBM, Nike (which I didn't do) and A&E, The History Channel, Sears, W magazine (which I did). And if you DO change it, make it better or equivalent like TNT (also my orig.) whose update I have no trouble with.
Mike

Miss Tiffany's picture

VH1 and MTV cannot be compared ... really ... I mean, think about it. It is almost ... not quite ... like comparing haute couture to street fashion. Most of the haute couture fashion houses that are still in business have reinvented themselves through their clothes, but not their "logos". But, most street cred fashion changes so often. Think about the hangtags that so many different designers did for Express, these are meant to serve a purpose, fast fashion (not unlike fast food) and then disappear.

Miss Tiffany's picture

My illness isn't helping me write at all. I wasn't saying that VH1 is to street as MTV is to haute couture. Not at all. I was thinking generally or abstractly. Hmmph!

Joe Pemberton's picture

It's easy to just dismiss something as "just plain bad" or "you can't be serious" (legitimate gut reactions, I suppose). But, it takes more thought to consider something and develop an informed opinion -- whether you agree or not.

I'm glad this thread and others have a variety of opinions and different perspectives. We need more careful consideration, not just blunt 'sincerity.' (This isn't an either / or... careful consideration requires sincerity.)

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