Bonus Content: Firm’s new logo looks like waste of public funds!
In 1984 Bob Michals weighs in on the new PBS logo.
Bob Michals, Palm Beach Post, Monday, April 16th, 1984–Having spent a couple of years with advertising agencies myself, I know all the arguments about the importance of a striking corporate logo, but it seems to me the Public Broadcasting Service has got to have something better to do with our money than pay for the modification of a symbol I, for one, thought was perfectly adequate to begin with.
In fact, in some ways the old symbol — which spelled out PBS — was actually vastly superior because the ideal corporate logo can stand alone without any additional text and still be readily identifiable by the public. The new logo simply consists of a silhouetted face that the design firm Chermayeff and Geismar Associates claims symbolically represents "everyone”.
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The only question I have is how they managed to keep a straight face when they unveiled their work before 300 public television executives attending Public Television's recent 1984 Annual Meeting and asked for the check. And as if the final product wasn't embarrassing enough, Chermayeff and Geismar can't even take total credit for this breathtaking new design. because all they really did was take the existing design used for the "P" in PBS and turn it around to face the other way.
And for this they earned $35,000? PBS officials apparently thought it was a bargain, though, because they claim the new symbol can work for PBS, and at the same time be something that member stations can comfortably adapt for use in establishing their own identities. Graphic designer Ivan Chermayeff proudly describes the new logo as "a refinement of the familiar PBS profile that does away with the 'BS" which almost no one seemed to know the meaning of anyway.
It's interesting to note that among its past accomplishments, Chermayeff and Geismar take credit for creating the logos of CBS Cable and Cable Health Network — both of which have since passed on to that great TV graveyard in the sky nice going PBS!
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