Ex Astral, scientia

Astral Media, the company that has interests in cable channels, advertising, radio and a bunch of other stuff, has changed its logo.

Before: Astral Media

After: Astral

Logo changes are a fact of life, as companies realize that they’ve gotten old and boring and need some hip new way to stay in touch with people, like adding colours and going all-lowercase. They find a designer who whips out the Pantone booklet and gets to work on something abstract that will eventually get shot down by a committee until, 12 months later, a mediocre logo that doesn’t mean anything and therefore doesn’t offend anyone gets tacit support from the corporation and is released to the public.

Astral’s new logo replaces a stylized “A” with … another stylized “A” (but lowercase). According to the press release, the new logo “represents the company’s diverse assets, decentralized yet disciplined business model and the knowledge, passion and imagination its employees bring to the marketplace.”

I think it represents the fact that the only thing a logo maker can think of when it comes to Astral is that it starts with the letter “A”. But then, most corporate logos are just stylized letters anyway, although most aren’t quite so phallic.

My favourite part of the release comes right after that quote:

The vibrant colour palette and creative shape of the new logo are designed to convey human warmth and emotion, within a defined and responsive structure that is grounded and resilient.

Astral is prepared to show human emotion, but only within a defined structure. If it wasn’t obvious how big and corporate Astral Media has gotten, this should make it clear that it has nothing to do with the logo.

This video of an old white guy emotionlessly reading a statement filled with marketingese should accentuate that point.

Remember, these are the guys who own CHOM and Virgin Radio in Montreal.

Alain Bergeron: Out the door already

The redesign was apparently the work of this guy, VP and Chief Marketing Officer Alain Bergeron. Astral announced shortly after the new logo that Bergeron was leaving the company (supposedly he stuck around just long enough to launch the new brand identity).

The change has gotten some ink … err, pixels, in the mediawatchosphere, like this piece form Trente. But there has also been some criticism, one calling it “a weird mess”people on Twitter expressing even worse criticisms, and one even putting money behind a contest to design a new logo. It’s gotten so bad we’re starting to see a backlash backlash, serious analysis of the larger issue and parody on the radio.

Astral Media (now just “Astral”) is a private company and it can burn whatever cash it wants, even while it fires a bunch of front-line people and cuts hours of local programming at its radio stations to replace it with cheap syndicated crap.

But Astral has little brand recognition among the public. And there’s nothing wrong with that. People don’t go to the grocery store and buy Astral cereal. They don’t subscribe to Astral cable. They don’t turn on the TV or radio and switch it to the Astral channel. They go to Canal Vie, and VRAK.TV, and CHOM and Rock Détente. Astral’s properties have their own branding, why should the parent company care what anyone thinks of its logo?

Maybe I’m missing something, but my gut tells me if Astral thinks this change will do anything more than force them to throw away a bunch of old business cards and letterhead (and signs), they’re dreaming in Technicolor.

9 thoughts on “Ex Astral, scientia

  1. Elsa

    I don’t like Astral’s new logo at all, why couldn’t of they kept the old one, this supposedly new hip logo really doesn’t say anything to me at all…plus whats up with lower case, are they trying to appeal to a younger audience.

  2. Vahan

    I just like how, anytime something is rebranded to look new and hip, you know, to make you stop thinking of the boring brand they used to be, they need to throw in the zinger, we are still the company, or product you have known and trusted in the past, blah, blah, blah. It is like someone coming out of plastic surgery with a whole new nose, cheeks, botoxed to the hilt and implants, but they still want to tell you hey I am the person you didn’t want to take to the prom, I may now look ravishing on the outside, but inside, I am still the emotionally scared freak you all pointed and laughed at in high school.

  3. Shawn

    I know a little bit about logo design, and I think this just dreadful. The “a” is so fragmented by interior squiggly lines and sections so as to leave no cohesive whole. It looks flat and worst of all, disorganized. Maybe the latter is what they were going for. Logos are supposed to impart some key impression about the organization. What I get from this is totally effing dysfunctional. Mission accomplished, Astral. P.S.: Harold Greenberg would NEVER have okayed this, imo. He was the brains behind that family and company.

  4. Shawn

    Oh, and if I may add: what is the point in having a name like “Astral” if you’re going to concoct a logo that has no star-like quality whatsoever? It’s a waste. You’re called Astral. Stars are cool. Stars are associated with entertainment and glamour. Use that, somehow.

  5. Jacques from laprairie

    Astral`s new tag line for CJAD

    You are listening to CJAD, the informed member of the Astral family. (or something close to that)

    »Does this mean that people that listen to CHOM or VIRGIN are slackjawed uninformed people?

    Just wondering



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