THE ART OF THE TV LOGO

Here’s a three minute video containing about twenty or so TV production company logos from the 1960s and ’70s (with a little bit of 50’s and 80s spillover). The intended effect of logo watching tends toward the nostalgic–they really do bring your television watching of the past back to you. But while watching this reel I found myself gradually growing more interested and more appreciative of the craft of logo-making. Consider this: the logos of major movie studios remained relatively similar over the years, with modest updates. But TV logos seemed to cycle through more incarnations, perhaps because the prevailing wisdom with TV has always been that more change, more variety and more new material is the key to keeping an audience interested. That this philosophy might extend to production companies logos isn’t necessarily far-fetched. Also, TV shows were produced by production companies for the networks or for syndication. So there were many more logos since there were many more production companies.

Who made these logos? How many versions were tried and tested before the final one was approved? Who wrote the themes and orchestrated them? Was there a script for them? I’m serious–was there a little outline prepared describing the look, feel and intention of what they were trying to achieve? I have no answers to these questions but I’d love to research it in a little more depth than this morning allows. Let yourself zone out over the three minutes of material presented here and take note of the animation and its marriage to the music. Catch the vibe that the company wanted to send to you, either inviting you in and welcoming you at the beginning of a show, or marking the end with a strong exclamation point. By the way, I’m not sure why this is labeled ‘Scary Logos’–perhaps the Youtube poster is referring to the prevailing style of the mid-century in-your-face orchestrations which occasionally featured horns blaring dissonant chords.

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