A New Twist On A CLT Icon
Charlotte, NC is affectionately known as the “Queen City” due to being named after Britain’s Queen Charlotte in 1761. The image of a crown has become synonymous with the city and is instantly recognizable as something that is quintessentially “Charlotte” to anyone who has ever stepped foot in the area. Because of this, we took the idea of the crown as the basis for the direction of the brand development to create something that is unquestionably “Charlotte.” This was an incredibly important point to drive home given the wider reach now possible through the iHeartRadio worldwide streaming app.
While we had a direction for the development, we still needed to deconstruct the idea of “what forms a crown?” The obvious direction would’ve been to go the literal route and pop a crown on top of the type and call it a day. That’s probably what most brands in the radio realm would have done, because let’s be honest, most radio station logos out there are pretty rough. (We know you have seen a few bad ones, don’t lie to yourself.) So in order to set the brand apart from the competition – and the typical branding you would expect from a radio station – we decided to break it down and determine what makes the concept of a crown and radio station make sense at first glance? We arrived at the answer to that question during a trip to the iHeartMedia Charlotte, NC offices to see their broadcast studios and get the behind the scenes tour.
In the production areas and studios there is one constant you see everywhere you look: decibel level meters. Upon seeing these lines going up and down all around us representing the transmission that the listeners were hearing on their radios, we knew we had a winning idea. After presenting the initial concepts to the iHeartMedia team, it turns out we were right. We did have a winner. The crown’s “horns” are formed by undulating bars meant to represent the audio decibel levels that are broadcast from the radio station. It’s an image that immediately brings home the notion of being “Charlotte radio.”
Once we had the overall concept of the new mark nailed down, we cleaned up the rest of the new image with a big, bold type treatment for the “106.5” call sign that would be legible and stand out at any size. We then used a bold block serif treatment for the accompanying, “The End” monicker to juxtapose it against the roundness of the main call sign type. We kept the same green/black/white color scheme that has been in use since 1995 as a way of paying homage to the history of the brand, and lending some familiarity to the new image. Finally, we tilted the mark at a slight angle facing up toward the future of alternative rock in the Charlotte market.
We expanded the logo into an entire array of potential usages that would still work cohesively under the main brand umbrella. Upon launching in early 2019, the new brand image was incredibly well-received in the market and has since led other radio stations from around the country to reach out inquire about rebranding their entities. Check out some of the ways the new brand image has been used below, and get in touch if you’re ready for a brand refresh of your own.