Centric was founded in 2009 as a 24-hour music and entertainment channel that reflected the lifestyle and sophistication of a multicultural adult viewer. While music will continue to be part of the Centric DNA, the evolution has now led them to become “The First Network Designed for Black Women” - a modern multi-platform lifestyle brand, boldly celebrating the multi-dimensional world of Black women.
The goal from the start was to create a brand with modernity, style and attitude. Our solution was to create a densely layered brand. One that felt expressive, but thoroughly modern.
The modern black woman is complex, layered, nuanced and diverse. So is the brand.
“The team at Gretel crafted a visual identity that is as bold, vibrant and diverse as our audience.”
– Josh Pelzek,
Design Director BET
The new logo is the heart of this brand. It embodies complexity and variation in both its form and fill. The logo is ever changing, it can take on a range of styles and reflect an array of personalities.
Logo + Wordmark
Logo + Wordmark Animations
Because our goal was to create an expressive brand, we knew we couldn't rely on a modular system without considerable range. We needed an extensive library of elements that, when layered upon one another, offer eclectic variation. While the creative combinations are endless, they result from a consistent formula: Photo + Color + Texture + Pattern + Type. By mixing, remixing and changing the proportions of our brand ingredients, we can always come up with new and exciting results without deviating from the brand.
First and foremost, the brand is about black women, so naturally that’s where we started. Variety was key as the brand itself is so diverse. It was important to reflect the wide world of Centric in the imagery, everything from music, culture and lifestyle, to politics, fashion and sports. The poses and the attitudes are varied- some are playful, some are serious, but they're all expressive, stylish and real. These images became the brand’s beautiful base.
Expression. Life. Passion. We achieve this vibrancy through color. As with all the brand elements, there’s a range- from soft photographic gradients to bold swirls of paint. We developed an array of color stories by matching bold, saturated hues with subtle pastels and restrained palettes. Strong, but feminine.
We crafted, rendered and shot an array of organic textures, both digital and hand-made that lend a sense of depth to the brand. Ink washes, running paint, and brush strokes lend a tactile, personal feeling to the package. The libraries of textures can easily grow and shift along with the brand.
The pattern layer adds complexity and modernity to the brand. There are two basic approaches: bold and fine. Bold patterns are graphic, and energetic- inspired by batik prints and modern fashion. Fine patterns are are procedural; generative artwork we create by processing photography.
The type needed to feel authoritative, modern and bold. A single typeface (Neubau Grotesk) always set in all-caps and always centered in frame provides a solid anchor for an otherwise highly variable package. The type typically unifies and grounds the graphics with the least copy possible.
Each with a unique purpose, the IDs combine our brand ingredients in different proportions to achieve very different results. Photography, color, texture, pattern, type are balanced and rebalanced throughout the package.
In digital, print, and out-of-home, the brand makes a statement. A very close extension of the on-air package, the brand calls attention to itself no matter where you see it. Our variable recipe of palettes, logos and imagery are easily adapted to any format on any platform.
- Client: Centric
- Strategy: Gretel
- Design + Animation: Gretel
- Typeface: Neubau Grotesk