Add ABC to the list of brands that have ditched their 3D identities and returned to a traditional flat graphic logo. (Think Pizza Hut, Subway and Burger King, all of which recently reverted to simple logos that are a bit more minimalist and avoid extra flourishes or textures.)
The network worked with branding agency Trollbäck to come up with the refresh, which launched on-air during the “Bachelorette” finale Aug. 9. ABC is rolling out the design across its various divisions, including online, and is also working with its affiliates to transition their logos to include the updated ABC look.
“We felt it was time to evolve the overall look of the network to make it more vibrant, modern and fresh,” says Shannon Ryan, president, content marketing, Hulu and Disney General Entertainment (which includes ABC). Ryan calls it “a new, bold and elevated look that visually represents our strategy and our diverse slate of programming. … We think we landed in a great place.”
The change might not be immediately obvious to the average consumer, as the new ABC logo maintains the same basic style crafted by designer Paul Rand in 1962. But after giving the ABC ball several glossy remakes over the years, including various reflections and glows, it’s now back to simplicity. Most noticeable is probably the slight shrinkage of the lowercase “a-b-c” letters inside the logo. The circles located inside those three letters are now the basis for the network’s new ID animation system.
Ryan says the revised logo is also more flexible graphically, which is particularly important in this digital age, where certain embellishments don’t translate as well on small screens. The new look is meant to be more legible when shrunk to fit streamer program menus or social media apps.
Here’s how designer Stephen Kelleher describes the changes on his website:
“Increasingly there became a need to address consistency issues as well as the technical limitations of the logo. These twin considerations of equity retention and the need for functional improvement became the basis for the first significant update to the ABC masterbrand logo since Paul Rand’s original 1962 design.
Equity Retention – We honored the legacy of Rand’s design, subtly simplifying and strengthening the iconic letterforms. By reinforcing the essence of the original, our robust redrawing is still instantly recognizable as ABC whilst also allowing us to establish a perfectly uniform 3-circle motif as the basis for a larger brand system.
Functional Improvement – By getting rid of all stylistic renderings we immediately optimize cross-platform attribution. Increasing the space between the lettermark and globe container improves overall integrity at smaller scales whilst also allowing both fill and outline versions to coexist within the same footprint. This reduces consistency issues and improves brand recognition.
In totality this evolution pays respect to ABC’s roots whilst establishing a more versatile and flexible future-proofed system.”
Meanwhile, after embracing yellow two decades ago during its “TV Is Good” era, ABC has used red, white and black as its color palette for the past 18 years, and that will continue — but it will also be modernized with gradients and a slew of secondary color palettes. And for the font nerds out there, Ryan confirms that ABC will now use Heldane and GT America, which she deems “timeless, unique and bold, as well as very versatile.”
ABC has also changed its network intro (the one that appears at the start of most programs) for the first time in several years, ending the era of the sung “whoaaaaaa” into the four-note mnemonic, and returning to just the four notes. (Scroll down if you want to hear it one more time.)
Here’s a brief trip down ABC logo memory lane:
And farewell, “whoooa” opener:
Here’s the new mnemonic: