Hundreds of movies, 6 original comedies, 3 colors, 2 typefaces, and one singing couch.
IFC is a comedy network with sharp original series like Portlandia and Comedy Bang! Bang! and an expansive library of movies. They occupy a unique niche in the comedy spectrum and draw a loyal audience of followers on and off-air. Part of the impetus for the rebrand was to make a clear break from the brand’s legacy as the Independent Film Channel and raise some awareness about their new, expanded slate.
We started with a thorough brand audit. We met with everyone: Marketing, On-Air, Off-Air, Digital, Social, Scheduling, Research, Programming… everyone. Each team knew their brand; even if it was on an intangible, emotional, instinctual level. There was a clear sense in every department of what felt like IFC and what didn’t. Our challenge was codifying that nebulous IFC-ness into brand tenets, guidelines and language.
Thinking of IFC as a venue became a through-line: billing talent, promoting the acts, curating the movie selection and being careful never to steal the spotlight from the headliners. This core idea informed all aspects of the design, from the logo to the endpage layouts, even the typography. Honing the ‘Slightly Off’ brand voice led to re-thinking the use of language on the network as a whole; from title cards to promo structures.
A stamp system for organizing and branding content, insider language, top 5 lists, meme-like IDs; slicing our content through different filters keeps our promotion sticky, unconventional, Slightly Off. A crisp, clear graphic language lets the voice shine through. Hundreds of movies, 6 Original comedies, 3 colors, 2 typefaces, and one singing couch: IFC.
Sharpening the ‘Slightly Off’ IFC voice was our first challenge. Specifically, imbuing the brand with a personality that didn’t compete with the content. Eventually we boiled it down to 3 key tenets: We’re Direct, We’re Big Fans, and We’re Connected.
One big takeaway from our brand audit was the traction that the digital and social teams were pulling. The IFC Blog, Facebook pages and twitter feeds were a hit with fans. The way content was parceled out in bite-sized chunks; lists, memes, quotes, it all felt fresh. It informed everything from the new voice to how we structured promos and IDs.
Slightly Off means we always look for the unexpected take. We speak plainly and call out things that don’t necessarily need calling out. We’re constantly listing, sorting, naming, quoting. We know TV isn’t just on TV anymore, we make promos out of Tweets, point viewers to Netflix and tip them off to comedians they might like…even if they’re not on our air.
Two typefaces, two sizes, two roles. The Hero delivers the message: quotes, titles, punchlines… the important stuff. The Sidekick backs him up with color commentary, set-ups, context.
Still Slightly Off, with a little more depth, dimension, weight. A reflection of the growth of IFC itself, the new logo was inspired by thinking of IFC as a production company or venue.
IFC has an extensive, eclectic and constantly rotating catalog of movies. Add to that a growing slate of original comedies and there’s a quite a variety of content on the air. We designed and implemented a stamp system as a way to help categorize and pull all this material under the IFC brand.
The stamps can be utilitarian, for example ReWatch helps brand encore airings of Portlandia. They also reflect the brand personality; only IFC would consider both The Big Lebowski and Point Break to be Classics.
Promos & Idents
Informed by our digitally savvy, in-the-know brand voice, we provided several promo and ID ‘recipes’ for IFC. Slicing, sorting and re-mixing content was a persistent theme. Top 5 Lists, Air Quotes, _____ in 10 seconds. They all reflect a blog-like approach to promoting content, and in a way that easily translates cross-platform.
Unifying IFC’s digital and social platforms along with clearly stamping any digital content that may live outside the IFC ecosystem was key. Popping IFC titles off the Netflix, iTunes and Hulu shelves and making sure the content itself was clearly branded was a priority.
Building a brand that could translate across any platform and maintain the same visual impact was key. The clarity and simplicity of the design system scales across any medium, and lets the IFC voice shine through.