‘Velshi’ gets on-air update with new colors

MSNBC weekend show “Velshi” got a new look May 4, 2024, that combines distinctive fonts and typographic accents along with a fresh color scheme and flat design with subtle 3D elements.

The weekend version of Ali Velshi’s show premiered back in 2020 on MSNBC with a largely red, white and blue color palette along with a bold rendition of the host’s last name and stylized, even slightly dingy, textural look.

The new look goes almost completely in the opposite direction — it’s a bold and fresh update that feels much more like a weekend morning offering with a white, dark blue and teal palette. In terms of its color usage, it feels more aligned with the show that immediately precedes it, “The Weekend,” which launched in January 2024.

That said, the overall motif of “Velshi” is a bit cleaner, mainly because it doesn’t use nearly as many textural or geometric background elements. 

Instead, the design focuses more on large swaths of color, sometimes with a subtle gradient effect, that often take on the shape of key letters. 

By default, many of the graphics use angled elements that are borrowed from the “V” in the show’s name. That character also finds its way into the look as a sort of icon or pointer element that moves around the screen, serving as a revealer of sorts while also helping draw the eye to key on-screen information.

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For example, in the updated teases, two “V”s animate away from each other before a sideways one helps point out on-screen headlines before rotating and sliding downward and then back up while “pulling” a shaded rectangle with it. Each tease is accompanied by a number (so far 1 through 5; though a “6” is also visible right before the open runs despite there not being a sixth tease), which could be seen as a nod to the numerical features of the old teases and opens.

The letters in the “Velshi” name are also used as negative spaces for a cityscape background to peek through and alongside topical graphics.

On these, which tend to focus on a still image as the dominant element, an oversized version of the first letter in the on-screen headline is shown in blue covering roughly half of the screen. 

For other on-set monitors, additional graphics sporting the show logo, an oversized sideways “V” and other coordinating looks were used.

The debut of the new look notably took place on a weekend when Velshi was anchoring from NBC’s Los Angeles studios, using the same space that “Stay Tuned Now” on NBC News Now and “NBC Nightly News” use (“Stay Tuned” is based in L.A. and “Nightly” originates from the city from time to time when anchor Lester Holt is in town, often for another assignment).

The “V” also makes prominent appearances in the show’s open, which starts out with white and bright teal background and angled elements before transitioning, as more “V”-inspired shapes move around the screen, to a dark blue background with white show title spelled out in a geometric sans serif set in a title case. 

The use of 3D is subtle here, mainly with the use of soft shadows and, more prominent, a brief glimpse of teal around the letters as the animation makes the white characters appear to push forward through the background.

Another notable use of the 3D effect can be found in select fullscreen graphics, where the right side of white box that surrounds content is rendered as an indentation of sorts. 

The design wisely does not run the 3D effect the entire width of the container, instead opting to have it gently fade out, a wide move that helps the use of 3D from becoming overbearing and appearing to feel too much like it’s trying to simulate a 3D space.

As mentioned, “Velshi” broadcast from NBC’s Brokaw News Center in Universal City, California. Velshi himself is kicking off a book tour May 7, 2024 in Philadelphia but the schedule calls for him to make his way back to New York by Friday, May 10, 2024, meaning it’s likely he will be anchoring from Studio 3A in Rockefeller Center May 11 and 12, 2024. 

This space has much larger LED video walls than L.A., so it’s likely additional elements of the updated look will become apparent then and NewscastStudio will feature additional details about the update once the show is back in New York.

Due to Velshi’s busy travel schedule surrounding books and other projects, MSNBC staff director Philip Williamson noted on LinkedIn that the show had to consider the studio spaces in New York, L.A., Chicago and San Fransisco when creating the look. 

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