Branding and creative agency Juniper Jones has completed the new on-air identity in concert with the creative team at Spike. The entertainment cable network unveiled its new look – and tagline “Spike: The Ones To Watch” – at its annual upfront presentation on March 3rd, the same day it went live on-air.
Spike brought in Juniper Jones to help create a contemporary on-air look that would reflect its position as one of the world’s leading creators of boundary-pushing programming and content across all media platforms; and holistically express the attitude of the Spike brand and its relationship with viewers.
“As Spike evolves from a male network to a general entertainment brand, it’s important that the network maintains a unique point of view,” says Terry Minogue, Spike’s Senior Vice President of Brand Marketing and Creative. “Working with Juniper Jones, Spike was able to bring that edge to life through a distinct multi-platform design and animation system that allows our content to shine.”
“Spike wanted their new on-air identity to authentically resonate with its audience by speaking ‘with’ them rather than ‘at’ them,” says Juniper Jones Founder/Creative Director Kevin Robinson. “It also needed to feel equally at home on TVs and digital devices, so we took a platform-agnostic approach to all of our designs.”
Juniper Jones embraced the network design mandate, which called for clean, digitally-conscious designs. As a result, translating the graphics to all of the various digital platforms was equally crucial. According to Robinson, digital figured into how they created and structured every asset for broadcast – from aesthetic choices, such as color palettes and fonts to the animation style, which mimics the haptic and tactile gestures of online media.
The inherent challenge was creating a unified on-air look that reinforced the Spike brand and its broad range of 24-7 programming. To promote such content and tentpole network events as prominently and efficiently as possible, Juniper Jonesfocused heavily on lower thirds; and throughout the entire package, they designed on-air graphics in such a way that put show footage and photography center stage.
Aside from a clean, structured look, the longevity of the Spike brand was equally integral to designing the on-air package.
“We wanted to ensure that the brand didn’t stagnate after six months, so we designed flexible on-air toolkits with a vast palette of options,” explains Juniper Jones Creative Director Kelli Miller. “By introducing a range of sophisticated accent colors in a restrained black-and-white palette – with a handful of carefully curated display fonts – we were able to expand the design options nearly endlessly.”
This creative solution required Juniper Jones’ technical savvy, including coding as much of the package as possible on the backend for Spike’s in-house broadcast design team to deploy the assets with ease.
“With the number of color and font options, and many other variables from which to choose, our package required some coding,” says Robinson, who is also CEO of sister tech company Glif. “We believe that user-experience and functionality is integral to good design, so After Effects toolkits were created to function at the highest level for Spike. They are like scaled-down, next-level programs in and of themselves.”
Juniper Jones also collaborated with Brooklyn-based branding and design agency bluemarlin, which created Spike’s visual branding identity. This included an updated logo that Juniper Jones brought to life on-air with swift and sleek movement. A dynamic manifestation of Spike’s new positionas anetwork, the diagonal edge of the brand mark creates seamless transitions, opening and closing to introduce programming.
“Spike knows who they are, and where they want to go,” concludes Robinson. “We were ecstatic to be a part of guiding their journey as a multi-platform brand with much more mature and sophisticated content on the horizon. Everyone we worked with at Spike, from the creative and advertising to the design teams, were all extremely collaborative, open and insightful along the process.”