As part of Marketing Tribune’s DesignPanel, last month Claire Parker (Executive Creative Director in our New York and Amsterdam Studios) judged a new identity created by SuperRebel for Dutch radio station 100%NL. Along with Claire, the identity was also reviewed and judged by Tom Dorresteijn (Managing Director of Studio Dumbar) Stefan Pangratz (Design Director at VBAT) and Design and Communication Strategist Roel Stavorinus. Originally published in Dutch, we’ve translated the article for you below…
Claire Parker, Executive Creative Director, Design Bridge:
It just feels like someone remembered Napster and couldn’t get past that idea of a cat with headphones. Napster was a strong and recognisable identity, one with attitude and very much differentiated at the time it launched, embodying some of the rebellious nature of the brand. Despite now being a ‘Big Cat’, 100%NL doesn’t deliver more – in fact, it leaves me feeling less. I would respect it more, had the crafting of the identity elevated the idea, embodying it with some personality. Unfortunately it now looks more like ING’s in-house easy listening channel – sorry but this lion is not set to be king of the airwaves for me.
Tom Dorresteijn, Managing Director of Studio Dumbar, part of Dept:
The brand may not be very creative, but it is strong. The addition of the symbol is an enrichment; it gives 100% NL character and personality. The design is well aligned with the target and target group. The identity is clear and unpretentious.
Stefan Pangratz, Design Director, VBAT: Since radio stations have grown into multimedia platforms, the importance of visual identity as a link between activities has increased. When we see two purple-green dots nowadays, we immediately know that it comes from 538, whether it is about an event, concert or other activity. The strong brand makes them media independent and can move much more freely. I think the 100% NL “refresh” was used for the same purpose, but there is still much room for more individuality and personality in identity. Orange as a colour is obvious, but is hardly distinctive in the Netherlands, unless you use it in a stronger way – with (for example) black as a counterpart. Furthermore, there is a lot of potential in the use of the lion’s head, but it turned out to be a bit too simple for me.
Roel Stavorinus, design and communications strategist:
With the new programming and more focus on the online channels (social media, website, digital radio stations and app) 100% NL wants to transform media brands. I understand that. The media landscape is changing, your positioning is changing and I understand that you are adjusting your visual identity accordingly. But when I look back at 100% NL expressions in the past, I do not understand the problem. The name is clear. The colour orange, the typography, the design of the word mark, the design language with the oblique orange surfaces – it’s all clear and recognizable. Elements that you can use if you want to position yourself wider than radio. And then you come up with the addition of a logo in the form of a lion with headphones. Why? Which analysis leads to a solution in the form of this logo? A logo that underlines that it is about radio rather than supporting it in a positioning as a media brand. And then, it’s not even a very well designed logo. It is faint and when you see it small, there’s nothing left. This is certainly not the ‘strong and recognizable logo’ that people were looking for. In fact, I don’t believe the visual identity has improved at all.