CBS deconstructs its ‘eye’ for updated branding strategy

CBS has introduced a new network broadcast branding strategy that breaks down the “parts” of its iconic eye logo and reimagines them as a bold series of shapes, animations and graphical elements. 

The new look is replacing the package introduced in 2018 from studio Sibling Rivalry, which relied heavily on more muted colors and a condensed iteration of the letters “CBS.” 

The design drops that typeface in favor of Proxima or a Proxima-ish font, similar to what is used in the ViacomCBS logo introduced in late 2019.

However, the look’s core focuses on the CBS eye icon across all branding elements in “a flexible style that elevates it as a standalone logo and leans into the shapes and elements that make it up – separating and rejoining in unity via lively animation,” according to a statement from the network.

That’s sort of a fancy way of saying that the elements of the CBS eye have become the base for the new branding animations and compositions.

Those shapes include the large circle footprint suggested by the logo as well as the two concentric rings in a thin outline style derived from the larger circle and the one that forms the shape of what would be the “whites” in the eye.

While those shapes are fairly straightforward, a more unusual shape is the football shape with a circle inset created by taking out that “white” and what would be the iris or pupil of the eye.

The new identity, created with agency Gretel, also expands upon all of these shapes and forms and creates multiple other takes by intersecting and animating them in various combinations — including many creative uses of negative space.

Promos typically start with a clean, simple, centered CBS eye in a matching color palette for the show being featured before diving into the meat of the spot.

At the end of network promos, there is typically a quick animated sequence that’s a take on the “deconstructed” logo coming together to form the familiar eye icon before sliding over to make way for the logotype.

Many of these sequences also add “Live + On Demand + Streaming” along the bottom, an obvious reference to the multiplatform approach CBS is taking, like so many other broadcasters.

Just like the opening scene, the colors and styling vary based on the show. Examples are embedded throughout this story and as a single playlist at the end.

The rebranding also includes aural elements — including the verbal reading of the line “This is CBS,” a holdover from the network’s early days as a radio-only broadcaster.

Also new is a five-note mnemonic or musical signature, that’s meant to suggest the “This is CBS” line.