‘Today’ embraces the sunrise in revamp, focuses on digital audiences

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NBC’s “Today” has introduced new motion graphics that embrace the show’s sunrise and build upon recent changes at “Nightly News.”

Debuting with the Monday, July 31, 2023, edition of “Today,” the design pays homage to the program’s iconic sunrise logo, with its arcs and curves integrated throughout the broadcast design package. 

Overall, the change embraces the symbolism of the sunrise while still feeling familiar to viewers, keeping a similar (but lighter) color palette and using many of the same layering effects as the previous design.

Gone, however, is the heavy use of angular elements introduced in the 2021 redesign, which itself replaced a package built upon circular elements.

The new opening of “Today” includes stylized imagery of Studio 1A during the anchor announce with layers of glassy circles and gradients. The “Today” logo resolves while rings form circular elements that radiate out as a nod to the sunrise. 

Other segment opens and interstitials turn the sunrise on its side with the circular elements wiping across the screen at varying intervals.

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Arcs and circles are found in nearly every element of the new look, including in new graphics throughout the various LED video walls in Studio 1A and exterior displays at Rockefeller Center.

The redesign maximizes screen space, extending edge-to-edge and omitting previously used safe areas for elements such as the lower third or teases. This decision aligns “Today” with the recent update of “Nightly” in June 2023, which rebranded the venerable evening news program with a design aimed at younger viewers and those watching on digital platforms.

This nod to digital platforms includes less screen real estate for graphics paired with fonts that are legible on smaller devices. 

NBC News declined to comment on the redesign, but it can be reasonably assumed many of the same factors driving the redesign of “Nightly” also impacted the design decisions on “Today.”

While the show’s logotype remains in Proxima, Elza Condensed (not to be confused with Elfra, a font “Nightly News” previous used) is now used in lower thirds, replacing Flama Condensed. A non-condensed version is used in other locations, including the anchor names in the open and locator labels in the crosstalk box layouts, according to NewscastStudio sources.

The ticker, which is inserted by local affiliates into the broadcast, has also been expanded and shifted downward, aligning with the bottom of the screen. Previously, the ticker floated just under the lower third with unused space below. At least some affiliates, including WMAQ in Chicago, appear to be inserting the text slightly too high on the Y coordinates, assuming it’s meant to be vertically centered in the gray area.

It now has a gray and white gradient with off-white box for affiliate to insert the local time and temp.

The show’s bug remains in the lower right of the screen, tucked inside of a partial circular element that peeks into the lower third space. It rotates between the “Today” sunrise and NBC News logo.

Animation between the elements uses a sunrise-like effect, with the NBC peacock’s feathers opening like petals. There are also subtle shimmer effects on the sunrise and the NBC News logo also appears in white briefly.

The opening headline teases also mimic the “Nightly” redesign with a small column for the headline paired with topical imagery. Previously, “Today” used full screen teases with an uppercased headline emblazoned across the screen. 

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Like the previous design, the motion graphics makes heavy use of layers created by subtle shadows and gradients, giving each element a bit of depth. This is a distinction from the “Nightly” redesign, which is mainly flat minus glassy 3D elements used as background elements.

It is also worth noting the current design of “Good Morning America,” which debuted in 2022, also heavily relies on circles and arcs – with a similar blue gradient color palette. 

“Today 3rd Hour” also updated its open and accompanying graphics July 31, 2023.

The show’s fourth hour, known as “Today with Hoda and Jenna,” did not switch to the new graphics, retaining the old angular look. 

It did switch to the new NBC News logo in the bug, however.

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