Trollbäck+Company has delivered a fresh brand evolution for TBS, elevating the network from one of TV's top comedy brands to a genre-fluid, taste-driven entertainment destination.
As part of a larger WarnerMedia strategy to reimagine its portfolio for the modern entertainment landscape, the need to delineate between comedy (TBS) and drama (TNT) made little sense in a world where comedies can be dramatic, dramas can be comedic, and audiences embrace the full spectrum of stories in between. With TBS, WarnerMedia saw an opportunity to stay true to the brand's successful, voice-driven comedy roots while broadening its focus to unexpected entertainment of all kinds - from a strong mix of premium scripted and unscripted originals to sports and top-tier acquisitions reflective of the brand's intelligent, unconventional aesthetic.
To make this evolution happen, TBS partnered with Trollbäck+Company to first help them define their new brand, then to create a design system to express that identity visually in a way that felt fresh, exciting, and relevant.
"This was more than just a redesign or a refresh of on-air toolkits," commented Bo Bishop, Executive Director of Creative Strategy at Trollbäck+Company, who collaborated closely with key stakeholders across WarnerMedia to define the new strategic vision for the brand. "This was a true philosophical and creative evolution. It involved thinking about the brand holistically and working with stakeholders to define what TBS already does so well - and then using that foundation to reimagine what it can do next. We didn't just create a new visual approach, we established a new brand character."
With this brand evolution, TBS wanted to leave behind any perceptions of being a traditional broadcaster. They sought to evoke a premium energy, while still feeling uniquely TBS - quirky, original, unexpected. The redesign would also need to prioritize flexibility; the brand must be simultaneously capable of owning and supporting content, as well as dialing up the new TBS brand expression to stand on its own.
To this end, Trollbäck+Company developed an identity that is singular, elastic, and mood-driven, leaning into the visual elements that make TBS truly unique, centered on its ownable hex-shaped logo. This brand shape is easily recognizable, so designers at Trollbäck began by building a flexible and emotional visual system from this logical starting point.
The new TBS identity uses motion to unlock the logo shape as a tool for expression and a symbol of attribution. Trollbäck+Company established different ways the shape could be utilized depending on the mood and tone of programming. From there, they defined a system of light and patterns to turn the shape into a symbol that stands for TBS itself.
"By liberating TBS's hex shape, we turned it from a static box into an elastic and expressive element that is treated differently depending on the platform and tone of the content," Design Director Nadia Husain explained.
Alongside reimagining the TBS logo as an elastic motion language, Trollbäck+Company also developed a new color palette and type system that is fresh and ownable. Uniquely, the new TBS color palette uses gradients instead of single colors. "It's designed to express mood and tone of content rather than identify a rigid genre," Husain added. "The gradients also have fun names: Warm Gold, Electric Blue, and Sunny Violet. Because everything about the brand should be a bit fun and unexpected."
Further complementing the expressive color palette are two interdependent typefaces: a serif for voice-driven brand expression and a sans serif to deliver information. These typefaces allow the brand to further flex across mood and tone while remaining clean, dynamic, and surprising.
By activating the iconic logo and invigorating the visual foundation with an attribution strategy that makes sense for TBS's current and future content, the branding studio delivered an identity that goes way beyond a short-term solution. "The brands that endure are the ones that balance consistency and elasticity," concluded Alex Moulton, Trollbäck+Company's Chief Creative Officer. "We wanted to establish something that could sustain the brand for years to come. And this evolution for our partners at TBS is exactly that."