BTV rebranding: Good? Bad? Worse?

metaspace's picture

Hello, my fellow typophiles.

I would like to invite you guys to have your say on a new rebranding.

A couple of days, I happened to stumble upon the rebranding news about Beijing Television, the capital city television station in China. Shown below is the new logo:

When I saw the English wordmark at first sight, it seems sort of bad to me, though much better than it used to be just before the redesign, shown as follows (the old wordmark is OK, but too banal.):

Talking about the new logo, personally, I think the little serif is not a good typeface choice. The typeface seems to be slightly modified Copperlate Gothic Std. And even worse, there is a customized, homemade ligature between T and V. It bonds TV together, but disconnects B from the whole wordmark.

Here is what the BTV says about its new logo in a press release:

"...the new logo consists of acronym of Beijing Television as major design elements. Clear, minimalistic, it conveys a more modern and international look. In color palette are red color of the forbidden city wall and white of Han white jades. The two colors are solemn, modern and international, blend seamlessly with the television station." Really, blurbs.

And the new logo looks like this at BTV's website:

Well, what do you think this new logo (especially the typography)? If it needs a third rebranding, what typefaces would you like to pick? :)


James Zhou

hashimpm's picture

BTV Type looks more like Friz Quadrata, the rest being Copperplate Gothic as you rightly pointed out. Comment: Yuck!

But then Chinese design in English has always been quite bad, you cannot expect better.

metaspace's picture


The logo typeface is indeed Friz Quadrata.:) Gotham fits well, but I'm afraid it's sort of overused.

And I agreed with you. English typography in China is really bad and even disastrous. For most of them Chinese designers, what they know only are Arial or Times New Roman. When it comes to corporate design (graphic marks aside, mostly involving juxtaposition or mashup of Chinese and English typefaces. It’s bilingual as the say), designers usually take whatever available at their hands, never giving typography a second thought. In most cases, they use free fonts circulated on the web. Or better, Adobe Font Folio is a choice. But whatever they use in typography, the finished works end up as ugly ducks due to a fundamental paucity of typographic knowledge. English typography in China is like an isolated world where designers just use what they like, without caring about what goes on with current typography. (A reasonable excuse is that they balk at English, they need translation)

A brutal fact is: Chinese designers, regardless of veteran or newbie, love doing what is called typefaces transformation or distortion (NOT modifying merely glyphs). It’s so popular that every designer like to show his/her tricks for the “magical” transformation. But what they do to typefaces seems typographic tortures to me. Quite sadly and embarrassingly, they also boast their works on graphic design forums.

Unlike type foundries here in the US, Germany, France and other countries, Chinese type foundries have been wilting and get submerged by the massive overflows of fonts available on the web. Basically, China has a long history of calligraphy, but it lacks a good culture of typography (By and large, type foundries is just after pure profits, not the pure typography, to some extent, the typography is contaminated with commercial profitability). Everyone can be type designs, then where does the font value lies in? Even ridiculously, a famous Chinese type foundry successfully digitized a director’s handwritten scripts. The new “characteristic” typeface was named after the director and became a smash hit on the web. By the way, this director knows nothing about neither typography nor calligraphy, she just have a pair of beautiful hands which impart good-looking scripts. There is an old news: Akira Kobayashi was once invited to be as a judge at the Chinese Type Design Contest (I really appreciate Akira's works) . When I read the news, part of me was lost...

Finally, I don't know when Chinese type designers can wake up to the real type design and typography and learn about it.

eliason's picture

I think the boxed logo is perfectly fine, and immensely better than the triangular one you show. The joining of TV makes sense to me, since the abbreviation stands for Beijing TeleVision.

I do, however, join in the hate of the Copperplate tagline.

metaspace's picture

DTL Argo Black and Gill Sans Std Bold seem nice for the wordmark. No kerning.

Any good alternatives?

metaspace's picture


Thanks for sharing your thoughts.:) The smallcap Copperplate words are really like a typographic error. I also like boxed or framed logo, say, National Geographic and Design within Reach. It make parts of a logo as a whole. By the way, the words in Copperplate are not real tagline or slogan, it's just another redundant short description, pretty lacklustre.

blank's picture

It looks fine to me. Sure it’s fine in a 2002 kind of way, but given the cultural issues it could have been much worse.

The real flaw is the color: saturated reds pixelate in most digital video compression schemes. But a different color might get the designers imprisoned so I guess it’s understandable.

metaspace's picture


Nice remarks. BTV launched the new logo on New Year's Day. And the public marketing campaigns already wrapped up. So far, I still don't know which studio did that job (Probably a local branding agency made it). For most Chinese designers, any decent typeface is OK since they know quite little about it. BTV doesn't care if the typeface is way too 2002.
As for the color, red is a national color in China. People love it because read is about passion, luck, joy and happiness. So no wonder red is there. I'm still worried what the logo looks like on screen.

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