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  • Tv is (not) dead (yet) : episode 5

    Tv is (not) dead (yet) : episode 5

    Today’s world is fluid. So, as designers, we have to be agile thinkers and capable of not only understanding who our clients are, but also the complex and hybrid industries that they work in if we want to be able to deliver the best creative solutions.

    In this 5 part series which runs through till Friday, we will examine the main pressures that are shaping the European television market and show how our profession – design – is essential in order to survive in today’s rapidly changing TV world.

    We are Gédéon. A creative agency and production company that designs visual identities and creates on air, digital and print communication tools for TV channels as well as for many other types of brands.

    Brand design

    A big difference today is that the TV viewer is no longer captive; they have as many ways to avoid ads as they to watch content. As a result, there are new ways of executing promo.

    For example, Instagram stories and Snapchat have inspired a new promo format on Netflix’s mobile apps.

    Made for short-consumption on phones, these promos are in a vertical format. They are designed to be viewed quickly in the palm of someone’s hand. The use of subtitles means they can be understood without being heard, and a heavy focus on program logos creates a strong imprint of the program in your mind, so you remember it later on.

    Here, the focus on foregrounding the content identity not only suits the short time-span of the format, but also, due to the short attention span of today’s social media users!

    At other times, however, you need your branding to take centre stage…

    Stamping your brand onto your original content is an opportunity to reinforce brand awareness on your platform.

    Let’s take a look at how Netflix handles the branding of their content catalogue…

    The treatment of the logo is essential for Netflix. In the header, the logo is reduced to the letter N, whereas on artwork for their in-house productions, it’s displayed in its entirety.

    This flexibility shows that Netflix prioritizes ownership of the content rather than explicitly branding the platform. Their intention is to come across as a creator and production studio, not just a streaming window. The strongest logos are malleable, that can be adapted to different uses.

    Your creative team, with the help of designers, must therefore conceive logos and identities that work in very small formats, and that can serve multiple purposes.

    TV Brands must also resolve the gap that often exists between the identity of the channel and that of their replay service. Coherence is essential from the beginning if you want to build a powerful, multi-platform brand.

    But the question of brand coherence is particularly crucial now when many channels are aligning to create joint platforms.

    How do you manage your individual identities when all your content is offered side by side?

    The treatment of the bug logo in this situation becomes important.

    Will the bug represent the broadcaster who owns the show? Or will it represent the joint platform?

    Whatever you decide to do, the user needs to be able to link the shows they love to an identifiable brand.

    Being able to make a connection between a hit show and a channel is especially important when it comes to your promo visuals on other platforms.

    To illustrate this, have a look to some examples of the artwork for the trailers of Netflix and Amazon Prime shows, on YouTube. You will see that each brand adopts a strong graphic code so that their identity is what speaks first; it’s both immediate and recognisable, whether they have produced the content themselves or not.

    Of course there is much more to discuss, and we could go on for hours showing you how design shapes the entire user experience.

    But here are some final thoughts we would like you to take away with you…

    Today’s market is certainly very complex. And It’s changing all the time. It’s unlikely that we will see the complete disappearance of TV channels altogether, but more a reshuffling of the card deck. 

    TV still has a future – and an exciting one for sure – but traditional broadcasters need to find and secure their position in this new world, just as the digital disruptors have done.

    So when it comes to defining a channel’s strategy – whether it is in terms of content, design, communications, technological development –  you have to adopt a multi perspective approach, with one key question in mind : “What’s going to encourage audiences to watch my platform over another one?”

    We think there are 3 important things to remember when answering this :

    Focus on your specificity as a brand.

    Understand what makes you unique, then maximise and enhance this difference to its best potential- whether this is through your content, your functionality, your communications, or your design.

    Identify your audience and continue to serve them.

    Don’t fall into the trap of continuing to write briefs that aim to “speak to everyone”, or shut others out by focussing on “reaching younger audiences”.  – Have more trust in design agencies to help you write a good brief and to ask the key questions that need to be answered right from the start.

    Think beyond the traditional TV mindset.

    As an industry, we need to get out of our creative silos, draw ideas from different media and disciplines, and surround ourselves with people who have different expertise. This type of thinking should run through the core of your projects, as soon as you write a brief.

    At Gédéon, we love working from a UX and UI perspective. We don’t think about broadcast design and digital design separately, but rather as integral pieces of the same puzzle. We believe that it’s about having a broad-minded, multifaceted approach in order to find the best creative solutions.

    Thank you for reading our series.

    We are Gédéon. A creative agency and production company which designs visual identities and creates on air, digital and print communication tools for TV channels as well as for many other types of brands.

    Check out our website for more examples of design strategies that fit today’s digital world.

    Emmanuelle Lacaze, President of Gédéon