I don’t find him as effective an interviewer as Terry Gross, but talk show host Charlie Rose has been duly recognized as one of the only people to conduct in-depth, honest conversations on TV. The identity for his PBS series has always been underwhelming, not representative of the unique show that it is. In a 1998 interview (start at 35:00), the great Tibor Kalman offered to redesign the opening titles for Rose, but that work never materialized. To me, this powerful new look by Pentagram is the next best thing.
“The new identity reflects the iconic and simple stage that Charlie Rose has used since the show started in 1991. Guests sit at a wood, circle table across from Charlie, all set against a stark black background. For the new identity, we digitized Schmalfette [Walter Haettenschweiler, 1954], which subtly references the typography of print journalism, especially as the show strengthens its digital presence. The logo functions as part of a larger toolkit, which includes various squares and circles that abstractly reference the two shapes on the stage, as well as quotation marks that can emphasize the in-depth interviewing and conversation.” — Jessica Svendsen
A new title sequence associated with the identity has yet to air, but the overall look lends itself to animated type, perhaps channeling the titles from a 1967 series, The 21st Century.
The job was done under the direction of Michael Bierut at Pentagram, just before Svendsen left New York for San Francisco and a job with Apple. It wraps up two years of typographically-rich collaboration between the two designers. Fittingly, Svendsen describes it as her “favorite project yet”.
I wonder if this style isn’t about to start making a comeback – did it get killed off by Impact and Haettenschweiler being default fonts in Office? I saw 10 Cloverfield Lane a few weeks back and it had this or Compacta or something like it as the font in the opening credits. (I can’t find any pictures online – it’s not what they used in the posters.)
Beautiful update for Charlie Rose!
Just realized that Swiss Interlock is based on Schmalfette Grotesk.
This was an awesome post, Stephen. Thanks for sharing.
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