Last Friday NBCUniversal debuted its new logo statement to the world. This rebrand, to those not following the story, is the direct result of a majority buyout by Comcast. Notably absent from the new logo are the familiar peacock and globe iconography. The new solution, composed solely of purple typography, is one way NBCUniversal is signaling a new chapter in their history.
When it was established in 1994, NBCUniversal was, predictably, the result of a merger between NBC and Universal. They chose to represent themselves through a conventional combination of their two respective brands. The previous NBCUniversal logo featured small caps type divided by a peacock and surrounded by a globe. The typeface, Copperplate Gothic, was lifted directly off of the spinning Universal globe. The removal of these recognizable icons from the new logo is creating quite a stir within the design community and beyond. The peacock has long been a recognizable and much loved symbol for NBC.
Today NBCUniversal acts as an umbrella brand for a large variety of entities. Presently, it owns a total of 41 companies, only 14 of which are associated with the NBC and Universal brands. Thus, it is logical for the corporate entity to be brand neutral and to not play favorites with the legacy properties.
There are additional changes to the brand, as well. The name was updated to NBCUniversal, Inc., formerly NBC [space] Universal, a change described by the new CEO Steve Burke as representing “individual businesses working together.” Less successful is the type choice. The new treatment is a miss-match of a contemporary sans serif with sharp Copperplate-like serifs glued on. It is understandable that they would want some continuity from the previous brand, but this compromise seems more awkward than it’s worth. The wording is now set in title case, a change likely made to improve legibility of the new space-less name. Still, the coupling of NBCU as a visual acronym seems destined to dilute the power that NBC once had in the mark. This might be their intention, thought it’s hard to know.
The overall result is visually unremarkable. What remains to be seen – as is the case with all new identities when they first debut on the blogosphere – is whether this logo is a part of a more extensive brand visualization and experience. Was NBCUniversal right to distance itself from its entities by removing the peacock? Will this make it easier for them to acquire new media properties? Has NBCUniversal lost some of its cachet?
What are your thoughts?