The HLN Logo

By | Saturday, July 23, 2011 1 comment
When I'm on the treadmill at the gym, I'm stuck staring at a handful of televisions tuned to one of five stations, with CNN being the least horrible among them. And periodically, they run ads for shows on their sister network HLN. If you're not familiar with HLN, it's basically a gossip channel and they make no bones about being a gossip channel. Not my thing, but if they're able to make money doing that, fine.

What strikes me, though, is their logo...
It's a ligatured version of the letters HLN ensconced in a stylized word balloon. Makes complete sense, given the channel's focus.

What strikes me as odd, though, is that they never seem to actually make use of the word balloon logo in that way. The tail always appears on the left, and they seem to go out of their way to have it not pointing anywhere where it might be construed to be coming from a person on screen. Here's a screen grab from one of their promos to show you what I mean...
More interestingly, they don't ignore the logo's design. In fact, many of their pieces are like the one above in that they use a fairly rigid grid structure based on the square parameters of the logo. But they make a point to not take advantage of the logo's lineage.

I can kind of see where they're coming from. I suspect the original designers think of the logo as being sacrosanct, and feel it shouldn't be trivialized by making it look like part of a comic. Or maybe they don't want to trivialize the hosts by making it look like they're speaking the logo? Either way, I think that type of thinking is pretentious bullshit, personally, but I tend to design from a more practical perspective.

Here's what I can't explain, though: the HLN home page...
Comic book style word balloons coming directly from several of their hosts. You know, if you're going to do that, you have ZERO right to hold that logo in some sort of "higher" esteem. Besides, the curved edges on the rectangular shapes with wide borders completely contradicts the style established in the logo. The style that's used so heavily in all of their broadcasts. You want to break the design standards, do it intelligently and with some rationale beyond just "to be different."

Anyway, a quick look at the HLN logo, clearly based on the iconic word balloon of comic books.
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Matt K said...

1) TV-exposure at the gym. Right there with you, brother.

2) I remember when "HLN" was "Headline News." (But then, I remember when "MTV" was... and when "A&E" was... etc., etc.)

3) I find that pretty much ALL the cable news seems near-interchangeable with the overtly-acknowledged gossip/entertainment shows, channels, etc. It's pretty terrible.