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The New Nickelodeon Logo: Fixing The Unbroken

by on July 18, 2009

Old Nick Logo - from Fred/Alan ArchiveNickelodeon has apparently decided to change their logo. Out is the orange splat and Bazooka font. In is a new, retro style of lettering that evokes the original “pinball” logo, keeping the signature orange color. In an instant, 25 years of history is out the window. This is really a terrible idea; perhaps not as major as changing the CBS eye but fairly close.

The Nick logo – designed by Tom Corey and Scott Nash for Fred Siebert and Alan Goodman – is genius because it isn’t really a logo in the natural sense. It’s essentially the inverse of the MTV logo. The MTV logo kept the same basic structure and layout but could be textured an unlimited number of ways and applied almost anywhere. The Nick logo remains orange with white text – but the actual logo itself could take any shape, any form, any structure. It didn’t matter what form the logo took, just as long as it was orange and featured the channel name written in Bazooka font.

The now-legendary idents that Fred/Alan rolled out are a natural extension of this concept. Every application kept the same type and clashing orange color, but the Nick logo could be anything, could do anything. It was a blimp, a lightbulb, a banner, a splat, an animal. It could be scribbled onto the screen by a kid or worn on the shirts of marching hippos. It could be in the water, on the kitchen table, in outer space, or a volcano. Nick was anything, could be anything. The channel was dynamic; flexible; even fun. New Nick Logo

The Nickelodeon logo certainly wasn’t broken, but the network seems to have completely lost any sense of how to use the Nickelodeon logo in recent years. Instead of being any shape or form, most of the time it’s reduced to being some variation of an orange splat. The orange splat was one of the more popular versions of the logo – but reducing an infinite number of applications to just that completely misses the point.

Moreover, it’s endemic of the parent company just not getting it when it comes to the branding of its iconic networks (this started with the recent rebranding of vhr—I mean, vh1). MTV launched a major rebranding of its international channels this week. While the new look features tons of abstract imagery, the MTV logo now always features the same color and treatment. Apparently the logo is now “sacred”. Considering that logo was designed from the outset to NOT be sacred, it’s clear someone is missing the point.

The new Nickelodeon logo looks decent, well-designed, with a welcome nod to the past in the font choice. It looks slickly designed, and that may be the biggest problem with the new logo. The 1984 logo was not slickly designed, and both it and MTV’s packaging were designed to be the very antithesis of slick and corporate. Something has been lost.

Now, this precludes the fact that the new look isn’t even on the air as of yet. Merchandising, DVDs, and promotions are beginning to feature the new design, but the main Nick network is still using the orange splat. It’s believed that the big change is scheduled to coincide with the renaming of Nick’s digital sister networks, Noggin and The N, to Nick Jr. and TeenNick respectively (both names have been dropped from the parent network in preparation).

This seems to smack of Nickelodeon changing its look just to change. However, the classic Nickelodeon logo certainly isn’t broken – it’s lasted for 25 years – so there’s no real need to “fix” it.

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