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Launched in 2008, Fuse is a TV channel with a combined focus on music, comedy, and culture, offering original series and specials, interviews, live concerts, blocks of music videos, and documentaries, targeting a young, multicultural generation. For the start of the 2017 season, Fuse introduced a new on-air look designed by New York, NY-based Open.

New On-air Look for Fuse by Open
Stills from the on-air look introduced in 2015. Here is the Brand New post about it.
New On-air Look for Fuse by Open
The logo was not changed, except that now it’s used always on white.

The old look was interesting in that it committed to a funky color palette, a trailing-color effect, and even created some unique footage for its on-air look. But given its specificity I think it had a clear expiration date. In 2015, they also redesigned the logo, switching from one sans to another but adding a fragmented structure to the logo, which is now gone, thankfully, as it was rather awkward.

America in 2017 is a country that sees itself in a lot of different ways, full of people who see themselves in lots of different ways. Every one of us identifies as more than one thing. Not just in terms of race and gender, but also in terms of culture and interest and personality and who knows what else.

So you might be a SINGER/SONGWRITER or a STUDENT/BARISTA or an ACCOUNTANT/DJ. Maybe you’re COLOMBIAN/AMERICAN or drink COFFEE/TEA/BOOZE from a mug in your office in GLENDALE/L.A./CALIFORNIA. Each of these tells a little story by stringing together different ways of looking at the same thing.

Which pronouns does Big Freedia prefer? The answer is a story unto itself: HE/SHE/DIVA. So is the latest season of Fluffy: MORE CITIES/MORE FOOD/MORE FLUFFY. Indivisible is too: IMMIGRANT/DREAMER/AMERICAN. Everything that Fuse does is part of one big story– the story of America today.

Fuse 2017 Style Guidelines

New On-air Look for Fuse by Open
The identity elements (clockwise): Type + slash, stickers of the talent, animated GIFs, and emojis.

The ingredients of the new on-air look (and advertising and other print and digital applications) are unapologetically of the time, combining the lingua franca of kidz-these-days (and adultz too, to be honest) of emojis and animated GIFs. Like the on-air look before it, this kind of puts a clear expiration date on it, which will run out in a year or two possibly, which is fine, as I think Fuse has no problem in being a changing reflection of the audience.

The ingredients are purposely crude/naive — from the open source emojis to the crummy-resolution GIFs, and even to the slightly awkward Plak font (a 1930 sans serif by Paul Renner, he of Futura fame) — and they quickly help establish a quirky, rapid-fire, unconcerned tone of voice that provides a clear personality for the channel.

Combining the language of texting, tweets, and the internet, FuseSpeak gets straight to the point and grabs your attention. We may be clever, but our stories are emotional and real.

Fuse 2017 Style Guidelines

New On-air Look for Fuse by Open
“FuseSpeak”, how the channel translates normal sentences into their own tone of voice.
New On-air Look for Fuse by Open
Modulating the tone of voice.
New On-air Look for Fuse by Open
Samples of the elements coming together.
Combining elements.
New On-air Look for Fuse by Open
Social media examples.
How the system adapts to different sizes.

The system is remarkably simple and straightforward, with all the elements combining into lines of text, with words and graphics separated by slashes. To a degree, it feels unfinished at times but, by the same token, the lack of apparent polish is a nice alternative to some of the other on-air looks where every pixel and second is finessed to the nth degree (which is not a bad thing, just the norm).

Borrowing from the language of swiping, scrolling, and scrubbing–our motion mimics that of touchscreens, and smart phones. These examples outline the four distinct movements we use.

Fuse 2017 Style Guidelines

On-air look.

Promos for Fuse documentaries.

The motion approach adds a cool sense of movement by panning and scrolling as the words appear and expanding to let new elements come into play. Like the arrangements of the ingredients, the motion is simple but smooth and appropriate to highlight the information as needed.

New On-air Look for Fuse by Open
New On-air Look for Fuse by Open

The on-air look also extends nicely to static and print applications, where the density of typography and playful copywriting can communicate the personality of the channel. Overall, this is a fun evolution that separates Fuse from the frenetic MTV-esque on-air looks or the overly cinematic and even if the emojis and GIFs get tired quickly, there is a potential for this structure to evolve in future seasons.