Today’s broadcast world is very complex. Broadcast design in the United States used to compliment that notion with fancy supers full of lens flares and over-the- shoulder 3D elements appearing on many local news stations (thanks in part to the advancements in on-air technology that enabled such flashy CG work).
Europe, where some of the industry’s leading design companies are based, is very different. There, on-air design has taken a much more refined and minimalist approach. That same clean look is now transitioning to the US with broadcast affiliates rolling out enhanced environments and recent redesigns that feature increasingly more simplistic information-driven layouts. The graphics associated with such designs utilize more areas of solid color coupled with clean, easy to read typefaces for an aesthetically pleasing, yet simple look and feel. Why? Society has changed.
People today are immersed in information wherever they go. The attention span has shrunk. Multitasking is becoming a common way of life for smart phone and tablet owners. As a result, there is a new level of expectation in the minds of television executives that viewers need to be given the opportunity to quickly grab small bits of information during programming. Keeping the on-air broadcast design more refined with a clean, simple layout for text and graphics, combined with a complimentary color pallet enables viewers to do just that.
One of the major trends of the last decade in graphic design has been the transformation of logos to a more minimalist (and square) direction thanks to the rise of social media and boxes representing brands or profiles. Look at some older logos and compare them with their newer versions after rebranding efforts.
What does the new design say for the brand? Do you think it’s successful? Was there the need for change? Perhaps there are more practical reasons behind the new adaptation.
Of course technological advancements may also inspire change. The ability for television stations to now very easily create a bug icon downstream could be grounds for a team to re-examine the program’s on air image and logo (and because that element is small, it must be kept simple to be iconic and effective). The web has proved to be influential, too, with its use of favicons & place holders for logos on the many social media sites. One thing, however, is evident, square and clean is the new elegant.