American nature TV channel Animal Planet has been rebranded with a blue elephant logo, in a bid to create a “strong, distinctive and joyful mark” that also pays homage to the history of the brand.
The rebrand has been completed by New York-based design consultancy Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv and was revealed by studio partner Sagi Haviv at the Adobe Max conference in Los Angeles on 15 October.
Animal Planet is a paid-for channel that was first aired 22 years ago in 1996 and is owned by American media company Discovery. It shows a range of educational and reality nature programmes and is available to watch throughout the US and 70 other countries across the world, including Canada, India and Japan.
The new logo features a minimal, blue silhouette of an elephant, which appears “almost as a swoosh”, Haviv tells Design Week, with the channel name set in a black, bold sans-serif typeface underneath, all in lowercase.
Although the main application of the logo is blue, it also appears in white and black depending on what imagery, text or communications it is used against. The logotype also changes colour.
“It’s a silhouette, so it doesn’t rely on colour,” says Haviv. “It has a lot of motion and a distinctive shape to it, so even if you see it very tiny or from far away, it still registers. There is a graphic quality to it beyond the fact that the subject matter is appropriate.”
The logo is a reinterpretation of a former, more complex logo held by Animal Planet, which featured an elephant cut-out alongside a more realistic image of a globe, with the logotype set underneath these two icons. The primary colour palette was green and white.
Speaking at the Adobe Max conference, Haviv says that Animal Planet had originally asked the design studio to avoid the colour blue and the elephant icon, due to them being common identifiers of environmental charities and channels – but were convinced when the studio was able to evoke a “feeling” in them with its graphic interpretation.
“We ended up with a blue elephant!” he says. “We showed them options and when they saw this one, it captured a feeling for them. Often, we say that a logo can have an attitude, but an emotion is very difficult [to get from] a simple mark.
“[Animal Planet] needed an icon that was strong, bold and distinctive. But how do you do that and still have an energy or joy about it?
“We came up with this non-existent concept of a leaping elephant,” he says. “One of the heaviest mammals on Earth, leaping – it’s an irrational image. It really spoke to [the client] and connected with a feeling, through combining something we’d never see [in real life] with an animal we associate with and remember. It’s the new and old coming together.”
The new branding is intended to work across all of Animal Planet’s brand touchpoints, including merchandise and signage at events, as it has extended from being “not only a [TV] channel” to a “whole lifestyle brand” in recent years, says Haviv.
The new Animal Planet branding is currently rolling out across print and digital advertising and marketing materials such as posters, merchandise such as clothing and rucksacks, interiors and signage at events, online platforms, and broadcast.