One picture is worth a thousand words. These two pictures tell you everything you need to know about British music and popular culture at the moment.
They are the new and the old Brits logos. Yes the Brit awards which celebrate the best in British popular music have got a new identity, award and web site. Out goes the lively, only slightly daring, not quite graffiti hand-lettering. In comes a neat, regimented, well behaved, suited and booted design that you feel would never even dream of smashing up hotel bedrooms let alone swearing on prime time TV.
The type face is neat and ordinary. The setting is angular and more than a little bit square. Although I like the way the statuette forms the centre of the B and I like the idea that the statuette will change every year, the B is bland yet not in keeping with the blandness of the rest of the logo. It’ll be interesting to see how they bring it to life in future years in title clips, award nominations and so on.
In the words of the designer “the ‘scratchy, anarchy’ look and feel has been replaced a more ‘elegant’ typeface.” Well, you might say that. Or you could settle for the more accurate “the Brits have gone all corporate.”
As if to emphasise the point, just look at how the logo of Brit sponsor Mastercard is now being used. It is no longer an element that looks like it has gate-crashed the party, it is no longer just a sponsor, it is being presented as a fundamental part of the Brits set up.
In a way you have to congratulate the designer Craig Oldham because with these few characters he has grasped the zeitgeist and has perfectly expressed the horrible truth about the Brits and the role of music in popular culture today.
They are not about new ideas, they are not about creativity or originality. They are about mass market consumption.
For a while the Brits were cool(ish). The first winners were The Beatles. In the early nineteen nineties they championed Britpop with Oasis Blur and The Verve. But they have been declining in credibility since the late nineteen nineties when Robbie Williams won three years on the trot. Since they’ve become a ringing endorsement of the sales talents of every passing X factor nonentity.
How very clever of the Brits to understand exactly what they are and what our culture has become and express it all in that little identity.