Transform Magazine: Smithsonian Eyes Gen X With Rebrand

Broadcast design buffs take note: This week, Transform Magazine is featuring Trollbäck+Company’s latest brand refresh for Smithsonian Channel, featuring a minimal, fact-first approach to nonfiction television that’s now live, on-air across the country.

As design journalist Louise Clissold reports:

US paid TV network Smithsonian Channel has undergone a brand refresh, courtesy of design and branding agency Trollbäck+Company.

Following recent international growth and a rapidly changing landscape for broadcast brands, Smithsonian wanted to reinvigorate and grow its connection with audiences, particularly the Gen X demographic, and position the brand as an approachable, smart, culturally relevant entertainment platform.

Smithsonian, which specialises in producing high-quality non-fiction programming inspired by the Smithsonian Institution’s museums, research facilities and magazines, is part of ViacomCBS, following the latter’s recent merger.

It appointed Trollbäck+Company to deliver a creative strategy and visual identity that would reflect and elevate brand’s ongoing commitment to contemporary non-fiction content, in an era of on-air edutainment that is often lacking in facts.

Alex Moulton, chief creative officer at Trollback+Company, says, “Broadly speaking, this is a generation that loves learning and are at a place now in their lives where they are seeking out new, valuable perspectives. For them, Smithsonian Channel presents a rich source of insight, boundless knowledge and an opportunity to connect to more authentic stories about our world.”

The new on-air design is aimed at dialling up the energy and pace of Smithsonian’s content without losing the integrity and vision of the institution. Each brand component, from the updated logo to the new, strong colour palette, is guided by the goal of communicating the brand’s tagline, ‘It’s Brighter Here,’ at every opportunity.

John Leone, creative director at Smithsonian Channel, says, “This refreshes Smithsonian Channel’s branding, creating a more modern and dynamic feel while building excitement around our programming. With Trollback we’ve created a bold new look that features an active design, bright vibrant colours, big typography and a powerful identity.”

The Smithsonian Channel refresh is live now, with an international rollout on the way.

For more information about our strategy and design work with Smithsonian Channel, check back at our work page, where we’ll be rolling out a case study later this week. You can also follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn for more timely updates.