DixonBaxi has partnered with Warner Bros. Discovery to create a brand identity for its new streaming service Max, with a logo that nods to its “HBO legacy” and a new bespoke typeface called Max Sans.
The two core brands that joined to make Max are previous streaming service HBO Max and Discovery+. Bringing together entertainment brands HBO, Warner Bros., Discovery, DC and Wizarding World, the content available through the service is “diverse” and offers up a “range of stories and characters” to its audience, says DixonBaxi design director Karun Agimal.
The new identity seeks to capture this variety while also appealing to a wider audience. This was the thinking behind removing HBO from the name, according to Agimal, and will also help to “preserve and protect the HBO brand”, he says.
In a bid to retain some of HBO’s brand equity, DixonBaxi devised a logo that combines the bullseye from HBO and the curves of the Warner Bros. shield. Agimal describes the logo as “modern and timeless”, adding that it was designed to be “instantly recognisable” whether on billboards or apps and “serve as a clear indication of the brand’s purpose and dedication to exceptional storytelling”.
DixonBaxi sought to balance “presence and confidence” with “warmth and approachability” through the logo, says Agimal. He explains how this was achieved using lowercase letterforms with “each character meticulously crafted for unity”.
The Max logo mnemonic intro comprises a “bold singular move” before pulling back through the logo, signifying how “the whole experience is contained within Max”, says Agimal.
The sonic identity was developed in partnership with Zelig and features “three anticipatory beats, a sense of vast potential, and an optimistic finish”, according to Agimal.
“Subtle sounds like audience whispers, a clapperboard, and a director’s cue are heard, followed by three heartbeats representing the brand’s name, hinting at the human connection in every story”, he says.
The studio also designed the Max Original logo and updated the HBO Original logos to be part of the new design system.
Evolved from the bullseye in the logo, the brand’s central graphic device – named The Spotlight – will serve as a unifying asset and appear across all touchpoints, from billboards and social media to trailers and the digital experience. Agimal says it is “intentionally discreet and paired back”, allowing the shows to take centre stage.
Max’s bespoke typeface Max Sans was designed alongside F37 type foundry. The letterforms feature “geometric forms and elegant curves” similar to the logo and come in a variety of weights, “adapting from genre to genre”, says Agimal. He adds that accessibility and approachability were key considerations when designing the typeface, which “stretches from premium and cinematic to loud and expressive”.
Since purple was strongly associated with HBO Max, DixonBaxi opted to use blue as Max’s primary hue “to signal a change to a broader catalogue” says Agimal.
Blue as also chosen for its ability to “resonate across genders and age groups”, he explains, adding that it also reflects the Warner Bros. blue from “Hollywood’s golden era”. Accent colours aim to add energy to the brand and draw attention to certain elements in digital marketing.
Max is due to launch across the US on 23 May.