On Today’s Show: Why Identities Matter – UCLA Goes Black; Yahoo and KCRW Change logos; Eames and Le Corbusier Seats Trash-Talk

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Fromhipster” logos to “LA Midnight” uniforms, a look at identity changes, good and bad. Marissa Gluck and Jennifer Ferro talk about making over the marks at Yahoo — and KCRW. UCLA Bruin’s Glenn Toth and USC Trojan’s Jose Eskenazi share the pros and cons of changing styles; and monologist Joe Frank meditates on the power of uniforms. Plus, a Le Corbusier sofa and an Eames chair trade insults in Tom Saunders’ Everything Talks, in which we learn what objects really think.

Logo Makeovers at Yahoo and KCRW

We’ve recently introduced an identity change at KCRW, with the launch of a logo to replace one that is 15 years old. It comes as major changes are happening to the station. We are soon to go above ground and become more public, with a new building that’s about to start construction.

Yahoo logo

And where we used to be simply a terrestrial public radio station, now we are multi-platform. So changing the logo was not simply about an aesthetic makeover, but a chance for an in-depth look at what the station stands for and what it imagines it will be. Jennifer Ferro, KCRW’s General Manager, talks to DnA about the process of meeting with media branding company Troika, and how it resulted in a simple but versatile logo that can be used on everything from letterhead to T-shirts to smartphones to video. She explains that Troika presented the station with 18 different logo choices and that management all agreed on the circle in distressed black on an acquamarine blue blackground with the call letters set off at a slant, that she had no idea, when they made the pick, that this design fitted into a “hipster” logo trend.


Meanwhile, tech branding consultant Marissa Gluck talks about KCRW’s logo in the context of a look at the logo change at Yahoo, which keeps the purple but in leveling out the letters and trimming off their cartoony serifs, seems to have lost its old pizzazz. Yahoo company head Marissa Mayer went public about the process in a Tumblr post, writing “we had a ton of fun weighing every minute detail. We knew we wanted a logo that reflected Yahoo — whimsical, yet sophisticated. Modern and fresh, with a nod to our history.” But Marissa Gluck says she doesn’t quite understand what the company has gained from this change to a less “joyful” logo.

UCLA Launches Alternate Uniform

SPORTS: NCAA Football: Utah vs USC SEP 10Since the Oregon Ducks teamed up with Nike, and its chairman Phil Knight, they’ve transformed the football world with their non-stop, often “quacky”, parade of uniform styles and colors. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, though, and most colleges have, at least donning one or two alternate or throwback uniforms each season. Now UCLA has released images of its “LA Midnight” or Black, alternate uniform (above) for the Bruins game against Washington on November 15. What can this change do for the team? And why do USC’s Trojans stick with the tried and true? DnA talks about the pros and cons of uniform changes with two associate athletic directors, Glenn Toth of UCLA and Jose Eskenazi of USC, and learned:

— UCLA’s main reason for alternate uniforms, beyond the retail possibilities: It helps with recruiting in a time when athletes care about looking good, and 21st century athletes are more fashion conscious than ever before.

— USC’s main reason for not introducing alternate uniforms: the “sacred” tradition of cardinal and gold carries more value for the USC brand than short-term makeovers that players and fans would see as a betrayal.

Joe Frank Meditates on the Power of Uniforms

Oregon-Ducks-All-Black-UniformOf all the people I would least expect to have strong feelings about college football uniforms, it would be famed monologist Joe Frank. I caught him as he came out of a KCRW studio last week, where he’d just spent 12 hours recording, and learned that he is a diehard Trojans fan! Despite being sleep-deprived and bleary, he mustered a few observations about the power of uniforms and how his loyalty to the Trojans was tested when he first saw the Oregon Ducks appear in “dashing,” “menacing” all-black (left).

Everything Talks: An Eames Lounge Chair and an LC3 Grande Sofa Trash Talk

Tom Saunders in Eames chair jpgDid it ever occur to you that our inanimate objects might have an opinion on things? Probably not. Well, Tom Saunders is a comedy writer (Arrested Development, The Larry Sanders Show, Just Shoot Me, King Of The Hill) and passionate aficionado of design and architecture ho has long fantasized that the stuff around us actually talks! He has created a series for DnA called Everything Talks.

Tom Saunders in Corbusier sofa jpgIn coming shows you will hear from bickering appliances, status conscious baby strollers and neurotic buildings. On this DnA he starts in his own living room, in a white, midcentury style home where two classic pieces of furniture have been doing some trash-talking. One is the Eames Lounge Chair by Charles and Ray Eames, the other is the LC3 Grande sofa designed by the French-Swiss architect Le Corbusier. Tom Saunders sits, comfortably, in the Eames chair, left, and uncomfortably, in the Le Corbusier sofa with its low back cushions, left. Listen to him perform “Everything Talks” on today’s DnA.

And here is how he describes Everything Talks: “”The idea that we could hear an actual conversation between a Vitamix blender and to a Rancho Savilla espresso maker was science fiction only a few years ago.   At last, a new computer app (connected to an ultra sensitive listening device) is able to translate, amplify and record otherwise inaudible discussions between inanimate objects without them knowing we are listening in!    DnA is the first program in radio or any medium to make these conversations available for the general public.  Listeners can eavesdrop on an emotional argument between an Eames chair and a Corbusier sofa as they disagree about which is more comfortable.  Parents wondering which trendy stroller to spend too much money on are finally able to hear what the expensive prams reveal about themselves when they talk to each other in private!”

By the way, if you happen to be in New York, check out MOMA’s bumper show about Le Corbusier, “An Atlas of Modern Landscapes.” It closes next Monday.