• Transform magazine
  • August 22, 2017

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Peer perspectives: IndiaTimes

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With colourful new photography, a library of brand icons and a fresh wordmark and typeface, IndiaTimes is reinventing itself for a younger generation. The news site is owned by Times Internet – the owner of the Times of India – but exists as a kind of Buzzfeed-meets-Vox for the younger set. The hip new approach has definite eye-pleasing appeal and energy for the news organisation. Stephen Lynch examines if the brand stacks up in a global setting. Does its reflexive, vibrant visual identity miss the mark?

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Project: IndiaTimes rebrand by Animal

Reviewer: Stephen Lynch, creative director, Aesop Agency

I get IT. But I don’t really like IT: The brand has run a real risk here by ditching IndiaTimes for the generic shorthand IT monogram. The website is still at indiatimes.com, and unlike ft.com’s relationship to the Financial Times, it.com directs you to an unrelated digital customer services website which begs the question, how ownable is IT as a brand name? Afterall, ‘it’ is a ubiquitous word.

The new identity moves the brand towards a youthful audience but there’s nothing here that I haven’t seen in digital TV channel idents or other entertainment news outlets before.

Mixed metaphors: Unfortunately, the mixed imagery is more confusing than it is informative. We are presented with unappetising parsley with an aperture into noodles and vegetables combined with jigsaw pieces. I fear they have confused the brief of being cool with being random.

Visually, the juxtaposed images feel cluttered and don’t immediately pop, leaving the mark indistinguishable at times. The photography is unappealing, and the illustration unsophisticated, in particular the three-dimensional ITs which look hastily created and don’t feel premium enough for a contemporary entertainment brand.

Going for a new generation: It is successful in its youthful feel, but bright and flashy doesn’t equate to cool. It’s definitely a case of more teenager, less young adult. It feels under-developed – almost unfinished in places – and some executions could do with some polishing. With regard to the mark itself, it’s reminiscent of London 2012’s Olympic logo but ultimately lacks that identity’s fresh and bold appeal. The negative space between the I and the T looks like it should be significant in some way and distracts to the point where I was looking for something hidden, like FedEx’s iconic arrow.

Wrapping IT up: Overall this identity is trying way too hard to be too many things at once and not succeeding at any of them. I would like to have seen fewer executions done better, with more appealing photography, more relevant imagery, and more finessed illustration.

IT clearly sits at the infotainment end of the news spectrum. However, at a time when ‘fake news’ is prolific and internet users are bored of endless clickbait headlines, this rebrand has jeopardises the brand’s credibility in the pursuit of being cool and at a time when credibility has never been more important.