Design > Brand-building

VIACOM DESIGN SYSTEM

VIACOM, New York / VIACOM, CORPORATE / 2019

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Overview

Credits

Overview

Background

In the media industry, change is constant and competition is fierce. Inspired by this landscape and the leadership of a new CEO with a bold vision of one global Viacom, we set out to create the company’s first-ever global identity system to ensure effective connection with partners (including ad and distribution, press, investors, talent, employees and others). Historically viewed as a holding company rather than a true brand itself, it was time to elevate the perception of Viacom to a unique, strong brand with a unified look, feel and voice. The system needed to communicate the energy of Viacom’s consumer brands (which retain their unique identities) and create cohesion while allowing for maximum creativity and avoiding homogeneity. Once developed, the system would need to be rolled out across all of Viacom’s internal and external communications and initiatives, globally – so, stakes were high and the scope was enormous.

Describe the creative idea

The only requirement for the project was that the team retain the iconic Viacom logo. We saw this not as a limitation but as an opportunity to use it as a jumping-off point. The angle of the V in the logo served as inspiration for the entire system, leading to graphics that hold and unite Viacom’s individual brands’ imagery. It was crucially important that Viacom’s brand imagery was vibrantly highlighted while feeling cohesive and compelling. Equally important was that the system be flexible enough to allow the creativity for which Viacom’s brands are known. To do so, we pushed the boundaries of the system via experimentation with depth, the grid, type, layers and patterns to create a playground for the imagery and messaging. This allowed for creative execution while ensuring that the unique stable of brands show up as one strong family to our partners and employees.

Describe the execution

As mentioned above, the angle of the V was the key component for binding the system together. From there, we developed dynamic patterns, subtle gradation and a color palette that includes Viacom’s classic blue but expands to allow for vibrancy and excitement. Unique fonts were also introduced to create cohesion, and subtle gradation was brought in to add depth and movement. We also codified Viacom’s voice to help ensure that messaging was approached in a unified way. Once the system was approved, a large-scale rebranding exercise was launched in which all internal and external communications, brands and initiatives were audited and adjusted in order to adhere to the system. And since there are many teams who need to understand and, in some cases, execute this work, a roadshow and a detailed brand guide were created and shared globally to ensure seamless integration.

List the results

For the first time ever, Viacom is connecting with audiences in a fresh, cohesive way. The vast majority of the company’s initiatives now reflect the new system, including the newly launched Viacom.com, social communications, all ad and distribution client-facing materials, and global business to business and employee communications and more. There is a renewed sense of unity among employees – when you walk into the company’s buildings worldwide, it feels like one united VIACOM, rather than a loose collection of brands and initiatives. The goal was to create a sense of cohesion while retaining creativity and quality, and highlighting our vibrant brands – this was undoubtedly achieved. Viacom is now making the bold statement that, in a world of change, it is strong, united and evolving, too.

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