TTT: A Critique

ttt.png

Having been tagged in a couple posts, I’m taking a break from vacation to join the dialogue on the newly released logo for TTT.

Disclaimer: The thoughts written below are purely my opinion as a graphic designer, based on a 4 year B.F.A. in Graphic Design education and a following 6 years of graphic design experience. 

http://www.looptt.com/content/new-positive-ttt-launched

So firstly, why the logo change?

I’m going to speculate that they maybe no longer owned the rights to the original design, or they wanted to part from the past and start a new chapter of TTT, look and all. I am also going to speculate that someone wanted the logo to be all caps since it is written TTT but the old logo was in lowercase. (Pure speculation). Lots of corporate clients have told me that lowercase means childish and is not taken seriously. *kanye shrug* I’m assuming that they wanted to be modern and bring TTT to the 21st century using design. In Trinidad, modern usually means metallic, shiny, flashy.

Now a logo is only as good as its client’s creative brief and taste. I say this because as a designer, I have created logos I did not personally like, because it was what the client requested. Was it still basic, good design that solved the problems? Not always. But the client was happy.

Who is the client for this logo? The government or the people watching the channel? What would’ve been the process for creating this? And did a lot of thought go into it? Looking at this finished product, I can justify every design decision made, I can see why someone thought something made sense. But let’s explore why this logo does not work.

Screen Shot 2018-08-31 at 4.59.14 PM.png

Legibility: 3 T’s

A capital T is a pretty basic shape, 2 lines, so simple, almost too simple to mess up one would think. A capital T works because the top line is split directly in the middle by a vertical line. In this logo, this is not the case. The designer has almost created a new letter similar to an upside down L and let’s speculate why. Because of the simplicity of the capital T and the suspicion that the brief was that the logo had to use the capital T, they probably thought it too simple and tried to make the design unique. Too unique, now it’s unrecognisable as a letter from the alphabet.

Application

People think that logos for TV stations can be multicoloured because they don’t have to worry about print since it’s primary use is digital display on videos. Right? Wrong. A logo for a TV station has to be the most legible thing ever. It has to go on the corner of a screen and no matter the size of that screen be recognisable and legible. It also has to go on top of content, heck, moving imagery! And it sure as hell has to be printed: uniforms, stationery, signage, merchandise, vehicles, equipment stickers, this logo has to be reproduced on multiple digital and print applications and be legible and recognisable. It is clearly evident in these 2 examples (stolen from comments in Facebook posts) that this logo is struggling to be legible on these 2 applications.

Design

This logo uses a couple design styles that were created for things that TTT does not represent. The use of a gradient was originally created to represent movement. During Industrialisation, it was used in relation to cars and trains. This style is applied today mainly in things related to sports or technology because of that reason. And while one can argue that a tv station is a technological thing, that’s not usually the aspect of it one would want to highlight, unless its content was also purely technological in nature. Outlines are another design style used to improve legibility. Back in the day when you couldn’t put a stroke on something with the click of a button, this was used by painters to make something pop, or more legible on a difficult colour. Say the Wall was light yellow and the brand colour was a mustard and you had to use it to paint that sign, you’d have to paint a white or black stroke around it so it would become easy to read. While a TV channel can definitely have similar problems with their logo being on content and a stroke might make sense, these strokes used are the same colour as the rest of the artwork and they are so thin, that they add to the clarity problem rather than help fix it. We also live in a time where instead of adding a stroke, we now have the option of making the logo one flat colour like white when it is used on multi-colour backgrounds so it maintains its legibility. How would this logo look as a flat one colour? And more importantly why has it not been applied this way on the applications above?

 

The play button or triangle

I can justify as a designer that the triangle is the perfect shape to represent Trinidad because our country was named after the Trinity hills, 3 hills, and the triangle is a 3 sided shape, blah blah blah. But this specific triangle and its use here is clearly a representation of a play button meant to nod to the fact that TTT will have an online presence. But it is still also airing on channels 9, 13 and 20 and one does not have to click a play button to watch TV. It is too limiting especially in light of the fact that TTT is also meant to be heavy in the producing content aspect of things. It doesn’t make total sense and the decision sends this logo back to the 90’s circa the introduction of disc-mans.

 


 

I’m not sure what the conditions were for this designer, what their experience level is and who made the final decision on this logo. I am sure no one set out to be intentionally WRONG. But I am certain that this logo does not work.  This logo is proof that you need to hire the right person for the job, and stop hiring someone because they are the cheapest but hire someone because they are the most qualified for the job. This logo represents how this country does not respect its creative sector and by extension represents the channel perfectly because the quality of the video content is still not up to par with how it should be. And maybe this designer was really hella smart and created a logo that accurately represented its outdated station. One can hope.

“Let TTT be a gold standard in quality broadcasting. We are not competing with other stations. We are into production and what we produce should find its way into those other channels.

The State broadcaster has a role of building a reputation as a bastion for correct information.”

-Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley

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2 Replies to “TTT: A Critique”

    1. Ayrid, I appreciate this blog post. I’ve worked on the client side as well as on the agency side for many years in T&T.
      Both sides have not done a good job of defining and upholding responsibilities and accountabilities of engagement.
      The problem is not unique to T&T, but based on my North American experience, we seem to be particularly bad in this regard.
      I believe that our core challenge on the creative side is that overall we have not been able to show if our work works. We generally don’t do case studies or invest in consumer testing. Clients woefully under invest in brand image tracking and some do not even know it’s a thing.
      So everyone (and I mean everyone) gets to have a say.
      We have trained clients to be creatives and unless we start doing things differently we will continue to have hybrid creative that create less than stellar outcomes.
      The ad agency sector must put our hand up and own this situation. Clients must also acknowledge their share of culpability.

      Are we prepared to walk away when the client becomes Copywriter and or Creative Director? Not as far as I have seen and done.

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