Tuesday, 6 October 2009

A new leaf... and a new logo

...Well, after yesterday's v-log, and 5 on the 5th entry, I'm determined to get back in the saddle with regular blogs!

Today's topic is something of a departure for The Widow's World - namely, the new Doctor Who logo! Now, I'm not a natural fan of DW, but have been drawn into the fringes of it's Universe by some very good friends. I am, however, very interested in branding and logos.

Doctor Who is a brand that has been around for over 40 years. As such, it forms part of the backdrop of British life. Few other television programmes have this kind of heritage. News at Ten has had many different looks over the years, but while different logos and presenters may evoke memories of different television ages, a news programme is never going to induce an emotional response. Many people do respond emotionally to Coronation Street, but the look and feel of that has changed little over the decades, at least from a branding point of view.

The nearest equivalent to Doctor Who, in television terms, is probably Top of the Pops, although that is no longer broadcast - at least as far as being a regular programme is concerned. Few other shows have evolved and changed over the decades in the way these have. It is said you never forget your first Doctor, just as for many people, TOTP is bound up with memories of the rosta of Radio 1 DJs and kids telly stars who presented it when they were young.

Both shows have iconic theme tunes and logos which have changed with time - reflecting changing times, styles, Doctors or, of course, producers.

The logo and and the stars are bound up together in the identity of the show. Together they tell the story of its evolution, and provide a marker for each new generation. Those kids who have been fans of the recent series' with Ecclestone and Tennant will reminisce about the current logo in 30 years time, just as those adults who grew up with Tom Baker feel an attachment to the show's branding from that time.

So, what of the new logo? Well, there actually appears to be two! Firstly, the two words arranged one on top of each other, so that taken together they are in the form of a square. For the fans who remember some of the earlier logos, this is, in part, a return to the past. It ties in with a natural nostalgia and sense of ownership along with acknowledging the heritage and history of the Brand. It's a bold look which makes a break with the recent look which the show has had since its re-launch.

The second logo is the letters DW, arranged to resemble the Tardis. This shorthand version gives a new fresh feel to the show, particularly compared with the previous logo, and has obviously been designed to be very marketing and licensing friendly. This time next year, the shops will be full of merchandise bearing this logo!

Both will elicit a response - often strong and emotive - not just amongst the fans but amongst the general public. Just as the re-branding of BT with the pan logo or replacing the Bisto kids with a family can create countless column inches, so too does the arrival of a new look along with a new Doctor. So while I may not be the biggest fan, the show is so iconic, and it's place in the national psyche is so strong, that it is impossible to ignore.

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