• Transform magazine
  • February 21, 2020

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PBS streamlines on-air assets for brand consistency, clarity

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Public broadcasting has made an impact on the US entertainment and media landscape since 1969. In time for its 50th anniversary, the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) has unveiled a rebrand with new on-air assets and a streamlined brand architecture.

The rebrand itself was carried out by Lippincott, which softened the iconic logo and introducing a signature blue across the brand. Bespoke typeface PBS Sans helps clarify the architecture and allows for use across motion graphics, print and digital, making it a flexible brand asset. “From broadcast to every major streaming platform, we’ve created one connected experience that spans PBS locally and nationally,” says PBS’s chief digital & marketing officer Ira Rubenstein.

To complement the new brand, Los Angeles-based Nathaniel Howe Studios (NHS) developed new on-screen graphics and idents to bring the visual identity to life. The result is what PBS calls an elegant, easy-to-use solution.

The studio used the PBS logo as the framework for the visual system. This ensured consistency across the nation as the brand is applied locally. Because the new visual identity is designed without gradients or volume, it responds well to motion, meaning only a light touch was required to bring the brand to life on the screen.

“From ‘Masterpiece’ to ‘Nature’ to ‘Frontline,’ the diverse slate of programming on PBS presented us with a breadth of footage to work with, so we made a concerted effort to let the content shine first,” says Nathaniel Howe, NHS’ founder and creative director. “The design and animation play a supporting role, framing the content and delivering all the key information effortlessly within the new ‘digital-first’ brand architecture.”

To support the roll-out of the new on-air system, NHS worked with broadcasters across the country to deliver tutorials and on-boarding support ensuring the cohesive system would be implemented accurately. The standardisation will allow for more efficient workflows and elegantly indicate PBS’ offering in a crowded media landscape, according to Howe.