The logo: it’s important for the large corporation and the small downtown shop. It’s really important for TV! The logo is the primary identification for a television station, but many times in the LPTV world, it is the most overlooked piece of marketing. Let’s talk about why you need a logo, getting a logo on a budget, and some important considerations to keep in mind when choosing a logo.
The logo is your station’s face in the community. Your company identity is expressed through your logo. Traditionally, the logo has been a stylized version of the channel number. Today, that is still a good identity path, especially with the opportunity to keep your virtual number when you must move in frequency.
Your station needs a professional logo. Too many times we see a logo that is outdated and poorly designed. Professional design costs money. I understand, right now, we are all strapped for funds and the rebuild needs every dime. But wait, there is a positive side to investing in your station’s identity now. Looking good means more eyeballs. More eyeballs mean more advertising dollars. More dollars mean . . . you get the idea.
So how do we get a good design on the cheap? One of my favorite ways is by contest. Set up a contest in the community inviting ad agencies and graphic designers to bring logo ideas to you. The winner turns over a logo package, copyright and style sheet. They get in trade an advertising package they can use for themselves or with one of their clients. They also get the satisfaction of seeing their work on TV every day!
A second, and cheap, alternative is one of the many logo services out there that will give you multiple design ideas. You simply choose and pay for the idea you select. Those services can cost anywhere from $250 to $1200 for a finished design. Be sure to acquire the Illustrator and/or Photoshop layered artwork, and especially the copyright from your chosen designer.
Now that we know there are affordable options for a logo on any budget, let’s talk about the basics of the logo. Should it have my channel number? Call letters? City or network? All are important things to consider but what if you are in a repack or sharing scenario where you won’t be able to keep your channel number? Although your call letters or network name should be prominent, channel number is still the main identity element in your branding. If the viewer doesn’t have your channel number, they can’t find you! The channel number was so important, that in the early sixties, ABC Television had the idea of acquiring Channel 7 across the country. A design originally produced for Channel 7 in San Diego was soon copyrighted and rolled out for all ABC stations, and today the ABC O&O’s still use a form of the original Circle Number for their stations.
Another word on copyrights – don’t just pull a stylized station number graphic off Google. Some graphic designers and networks take their image very serious and will pursue legal means to make you stop using their design!
Want to update/create a logo but Need an idea? Searching the web is still a good resource for inspiration since there are no new ideas, just better use of an idea! Here’s a great resource of some of the top number logos from a viewers survey. http://www.newscaststudio.com/category/design-by-numbers/
Here’s a list of things to consider about updating or creating your logo.
- As you go through the evaluation process, think about the different uses of your logo. Does it look good on a shirt? A business card? Letterhead? Website?
- Think about the tones. How does it look in color and in black and white?
- Do you have horizontal and a vertical design of your logo so you’re ready for any eventuality? If not, it may be time to update.
- Are you affiliated with a Network? Many networks have style guides that dictate the use of the station logo in conjunction with their network. Even many diginets have begun producing style sheets to help consistently brand the network programming.
- And most importantly, be sure it will translate well on screen. In the old days, colors in broadcast made a huge difference. (Remember chroma buzz?) It’s still important today as higher definition and new technology develops.
Consider your area also. Bright colors and busy logos are a hallmark of many European and Asian channels. That would be very 70’s here in the states! Today’s eyes like softer hues and more whitespace, but that doesn’t mean get rid of the red logo, just take your market tone into consideration!
Overall, BE CONSISTENT. Yes, I’m shouting, because it’s that important. Choose a logo style and stick with it. Don’t stretch or change the fonts from use on the air and then on your new golf shirts. This is your brand. You want people, even if they just see a glance of the logo, to think positively of your station, your programming, your advertisers, YOU.