Are Kids Brands Growing Up?

Nickelodeon recently announced its new identity, with the release of the new logo system timed with its 30th anniversary. The new mark is a more streamlined, lowercase wordmark with friendly, rounded characters and a stylized “i,” possibly a nod to the old signature splatter identity or a reference to a child’s figure. Overall, the new identity is a more sophisticated update to the 1980’s splatter mark, but what struck us about this new logo is that there seems to be a shift towards more sophisticated solutions overall in branding for kids.

Left: Original Nickelodeon Logo, Right: New Identity | Image from Brandnew

Activision’s Guitar Hero, a much newer brand, also recently updated its wordmark. The revampcleaned up the letterforms of the previous design while maintaining the soul of the original (similar to Nickelodeon). But the interesting point in both of these redesigns is the more simplified evolutions better position each company for further brand evolution and extension.

Left: Original Guitar Hero Logo, Right: New Identity | Image from Brandnew

Both brands have undergone significant brand extension over the years – Nickelodeon has NickJr., TeenNick, NickToons, and Nick@Nite sub brands while Guitar Hero now has additional titles such as DJ Hero and Band Hero. The cleaner, updated letterforms and the shortening of the Nickelodeon name to “Nick” in the brand extensions make for a cleaner, clearer execution. In the case of Guitar Hero, the updated characters allow for more seamless stackability of the letterforms in each brand extension while creating a repetitive synergy between each sub brand.

Nickelodeon Brand Extension | Image from Brandnew

Guitar Hero Brand Extension | Image from Brandnew

Kids today are incredibly brand and marketing savvy, and it seems both Nickelodeon and Activision have taken note. The idea of complex brand extensions is a very adult one, and both these examples have embraced and simplified existing systems while leaving room for more in the future, both in the nomenclature and the visual solutions. We’ll see if other kids brands decide to “grow up” too…