Co.Design

The New York Times Logo Gets A Clever Revamp

A few subtle design tweaks fast-forward the newspaper's 150-year-old logo to the digital media age.

The New York Times logo is an institution in itself. Often tweaked but never changed, the logo is a design classic—it's so rarely changed that when it dropped the period from the end of the old "New York Times." logo back in the 1960s, the newspaper supposedly lost about 1,000 subscribers.

Lesson learned. You don't change a classic, at least not overtly. But you can tweak it. To launch the Times' new video hub, branding consultancy Work-Order slyly changed the "T" in the Times Old English font to incorporate a digital play button.

Old logo (left), new logo (right)

In the new Times video logo, the rectangle and diamond in the Old English "T" lose their Gothic connectors, and the diamond metamorphoses into a triangle. It's incredibly subtle, but this small change alone is enough to suggest that the Times, with its rich history, is digitally focused and forward-thinking.

As an animated opener, the new Times video mark is also accompanied by a new audio logo. Contemporary classical musician Nico Muhly composed the audio logo, which riffs off the Mac's famous C Major boot-up chime. Following the opener is a "bloop" sound that accompanies a quick flash of the triangle on-screen, as if someone just pressed the play button.

Old logo animation.
New logo animation and mnemonic.

"The animation and sound together represent two parts—the gravitas (large, warm, reassuring heritage) of the Gothic "T" shape and the expediency (small, quick, sharp, nimbleness) of the play button. It is the harmonic blending of old and new media," Work-Order says.

This tweaked logo will appear on all 14 channels in the new video hub, which includes News and Politics, International, Opinion, Times Documentaries, Business, Technology, Culture, Style, Health, Food, Travel, Sports, Real Estate and Science. See it here

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