MSNBC’s Hardball debuts updated graphics and music

With the return of Chris Matthews from Africa came new graphics and new music for Hardball. As mentioned on Inside Cable News, the change brings Hardball into the world of HD in Washington. Matthews commented that, “the 21st century hits Hardball tonight.”

The new open features major political players including Sarah Palin, Dick Cheney and Barack Obama along with a sea of cheering Hardball fans.

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The new graphics were, no doubt, designed by NBC Artworks. Many of the elements were also borrowed from the NBC News Election graphics package, including the Capitol and Washington Memorial scenes.

NBC Artworks has done all of MSNBC’s current graphics, keeping the network unified across its various brands, but I for one miss the old Hardball graphics. The new graphics seem quickly thrown together with little 3D and mainly flipping images, a new trend for MSNBC. I also question why Sarah Palin is still in them… there are many other politicians that are more involved in today’s political sphere. Yes, Palin is still around, but in a year she may not be… making the graphics seem dated. The Rachel Maddow Show also does this with its open. Finally, it’s also worth noting that the picture of Chris Matthews that is five or so years old.

The open also includes a new logo for the show, set in a Copperplate Gothic-type font, signaling a shift from the previous use of Serpentine, a typeface that was also previously used in the NBC’s “Decision” logos.

The new music is also interesting, moving more in MSNBC’s new direction of European styling. While the last theme was used for over seven years, the new theme will probably not last that long. The one thing I do like about the new theme is its driving beat, but its main notes seem very muted compared to the underscore.

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We will have more pictures of the new studio tomorrow along with a review. The new studio was designed by New York-based Clickspring Design, who also did the MSNBC main studios. The studio isn’t as fancy in some places compared to New York. Many of the walls have not been fully fleshed out and odd boxes fill the floor.

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