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PBS and WKAR Unveil New Look on Eve of PBS 50th Anniversary

PBS Logo and WKAR Logo

Refresh of Iconic Logo Modernizes Brand to Better Connect with Viewers in the Digital Age

PBS announced this week an update to its iconic brand, including a refreshed logo, bold color palette, custom typeface and illustration style. The new identity will roll out throughout 2020 as PBS celebrates its 50th anniversary. With the new PBS look, WKAR Public Media at Michigan State University has also made updates to its logo.

“PBS has connected with hundreds of millions of Americans through the stories that matter to our lives,” said Ira Rubenstein, Chief Digital & Marketing Officer, PBS. “Our new look and feel better represent how we are doing that in today’s digital age, while also preserving the most iconic aspects of this beloved brand. From broadcast to every major streaming platform, from your screens to your communities, we’ve created one connected experience that spans PBS locally and nationally.”

Along with the refreshed look for PBS, WKAR Public Media has updated the WKAR logo to coordinate better with the new PBS logo and with updates made earlier this year to the logo of NPR, public broadcasting's other national partner. The new WKAR logo is set in a clean, bold font, and draws its green from the official Michigan State University color palette. Overlapping letters represent the WKAR mission to connect people to powerful ideas.

Audiences will see an exciting new look and feel that spans broadcast, mobile, and digital, making it easier to identify and rediscover the PBS content they know and love across platforms. The new logo is an evolution of its iconic symbol, reflective of the diverse perspectives PBS offers through its content. It is paired with “PBS” rendered in a custom type that’s more modern, prominent, and designed to be highly legible as it migrates across platforms. The new brand identity also features a new, vibrant signature color, PBS Blue, designed to convey a sense of trust and integrity.

PBS worked with Lippincott, a global creative consultancy, to elevate the enduring strength of the brand and how it shines a light on the new and familiar to inspire, entertain, and inform. The robust two-year process factored in the diverse considerations of PBS’ audiences, member stations, and partners to ensure a consistent and connected user experience across all platforms hosting PBS content.

“We believe PBS represents the best of what media is capable of, and this brand refresh demonstrates that,” said Connie Birdsall, global creative director at Lippincott. “We built the new visual identity to be flexible and modern for a brand that sits at the center of both broadcast and digital media, providing memorable visual brand cues that highlight PBS programming and unify local and national communities, who all share a love of PBS.”

An evolution of the PBS brand can be viewed here. Over the next year, nearly 70 percent of local PBS member stations, including WKAR, will also be adopting the new brand identity, helping to provide a consistent viewer experience.

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