Design expert pans Three rebrand: 'looks like a party pill'
A leading New Zealand brand designer has panned television channel Three's rebrand as looking "like a logo for a party pill".
Jonathan Sagar is executive creative director of brand development agency Voice, and in his 40 years in the design industry has worked with major clients including Vodafone, KPMG, Farmers and O-I Glass.
He thought the new Three logo was not a bad piece of design - but it wasn't the right look for the TV station's brand, and ran the risk of alienating some segments of the channel's viewership.
"It's all too happy, too playful, too funky, too trendy ... It looks like a logo for a party pill or something," he said.
The new look, which replaces the TV3 brand the channel has used for the past 15 years, uses a + symbol for the "T" and an = symbol for the first "E" in the word "three". A video explaining the brand change explains the symbols are used because "You + Us = Three".
Sagar said part of the logo's problem was that it used those symbols in a ways that people weren't familiar with - as letters rather than part of an equation. They were supposed to be used as stand-ins for whole words rather than individual letters.
"You're mixing up mathematical symbols that have very strong meanings with letters, and it could work if it was really clever, but I don't think it's clever," he said.
"It's not particularly well-executed. The 'T' doesn't look like a 'T', the weights of the equals symbol don't match the "E", the whole thing looks like it's crooked."
He said the new logo might appeal to savvy young people, but for older viewers it could be confusing and alienating.
"You have to learn how to say it. Now that's okay for Sonos, or Fitbit or something that's really cool like that, but for a TV station with a wide audience, you're pushing sh** uphill, basically. My mother watches Three, and she's going to be going, 'How do I say that?'"
"Our job as visual communicators is to simplify life and connect to consumers. There's nothing wrong with disruption, but it has to be appropriate, and personally I don't think it's appropriate."
Another leader in the design field, Colenso and Hutcheson, Knowles Marinkovich (HKM) co-founder Michael Hutcheson, said on Wednesday that his "gut instinct" was a positive one.
"Remember when Bank of New South Wales announced they were changing their name to Westpac? People thought it was ridiculous - now it's part of our lexicon," he said.
Some social media users have not been impressed, however.
Many have suggested the rebranding was "trying too hard", with one Stuff commenter suggesting the rebranding was like "lipstick on a pig."