SAT.1 is to German viewer what apple pie is to American eaters, serving up tasty general entertainment that is warm, comforting and uncomplicated. Founded in 1984, it is the oldest privately held television channel in Germany, and its multicolored striped ball logo is one of the country’s most recognized symbols.
The ball has figured prominently in SAT.1 branding for more than 30 years and endured several iterations, including a years-long experiment starting in 2004 that saw it drained of its vibrant colors until only a rather ominous red-and-white scheme remained.
In 2011, however, SAT.1 put the colors back into its logo with a channel rebrand built around the tagline “Color Your Life.” Suddenly, the mark was bursting again with a rainbow-esque eight-hue scheme wedged amidst its globular white framing. And now, in October of 2016, five years after that radical reinvention, the logo and its brand have evolved one more time, with a recently launched package across on-air and digital that ushers SAT.1’s ongoing color evolution into its most vibrant era yet.
“We opened the paint pot,” said André Otto, senior art director and head of design at SAT.1.
Designed by Creative Solutions, the in-house agency for SAT.1’s parent company ProSiebenSat.1, the latest rebrand actually trims the logo’s signature color slats from eight to seven, but injects them with so much luster and depth, and throws them together across the package with such renewed vigor, that they feel fresh and original again.
Perhaps mirroring an increasingly diverse media landscape, the white connector slats have been thinned, letting the re-energized seven-part color wheel rule the day. The goal, Otto said, was to “un-cage the colors from the inner ball to show them on the surface. That was the first step to a colorful package containing seven color schemes now instead of three.”
Those schemes set the ball against an array of richly hued backgrounds, lower thirds and other elements that draw the logo in while simultaneously offsetting it. Meanwhile, a semicircle connector device facilitates transitions in and out of the logo.
On-air, the SAT.1 navigation system is also as fluid as its ever been, moving seamlessly between graphics and content.
“The old elements on air were dominated by the logo ball placed in the exact middle of the screen,” Otto said. “That wasn’t easy all the time. Now, we use a system of layers that opens and closes pictures or connects elements together.”
With so many eye-catching colors dominating the frames, it was important to deliver requisite programming information in lettering that would pop against any backdrop. Otto said his team “found our new font very late” in the game, finally settling on Ridley Grotesk, a modern sans-serif that only just came out in March of this year. Sturdy and strong whether in black or white, the font has “nice, light weights too,” Otto said, and “does a very good job displaying information onscreen or designing headlines in ads, etc.”
Not surprisingly, the new SAT.1 was carefully orchestrated to live across a mobile app and website, as well as all relevant digital platforms. What is surprising is that this was “in fact the first time that we didn’t create toolkits for Avid only,” Otto said. “We also designed templates for Facebook posts, tweets” and other online projections of the brand. In these non-linear realms, the new logo and its wheel of colors feel especially rich, cutting through the clutter to somehow compel and soothe at the same time.
“The goal is just to have a recognizable corporate identity everywhere,” Otto said.
Matthias von Wyschetzki
Joachim Manuel Weber