Just about everything has changed in music and pop culture since 2008 when Loyalkaspar last rebranded the national music network Fuse. What hasn’t changed is the network’s commitment to music and music fans – and its trust in the multi-disciplined Entertainment Branding Agency led by David Herbruck and Beat Baudenbacher.
The team at Loyalkaspar – led by Creative Director Daniel Dörnemann – partnered with Fuse’s Brad Schwartz, SVP Programming and Operations; and Marcelle Karp, VP Creative Services, to completely reimagine the Fuse brand with a clean, simple yet dynamic identity that is all about communication, information and attitude.
According to Dörnemann, the network had evolved over the past 4 years with new original shows, and they recognized that it was time for more than just a refresh. Fuse wanted to truly address the needs and expectations of the millennial generation, or ‘music omnivores,' as they dubbed them.
“Fuse wanted a true rebrand built from the ground up that was current, expressive and recognizable in every element,” Dörnemann says. “Music fans today want to be informed. Information is social currency to them, and this rebrand is all about giving Fuse the tools to inform and communicate like a friend rather than an institution. They wanted it to feel authentic without layers of marketing speak, and they wanted to position themselves at the center of all things music.”
Structured, Simple Graphics
That attitude is present in the Loyalkaspar design – which includes an array of IDs, bumpers and a unified on-air look that can communicate trending news at any time during programming, incorporating Twitter quotes, Instagram images and other social network interaction.
Additionally, the company designed a comprehensive promo tool kit that is adaptable for broadcast, web and print, as well as a network branded show package so all of Fuse’s individual shows speak the same visual language as the network.
From a design perspective, the rebrand features a structured, simple graphic look incorporating straightforward and clear typography contained within black or white rectangles, which provides a stark, provocative effect that allows Fuse to convey their message graphically, rather than through voiceovers.
The on-screen type is juxtaposed with intimate original photography that stands out for its ‘captured moment’ quality – as if it was spontaneously shot with a cell phone camera. In truth, Loyalkaspar commissioned several professional photographers in different parts of the country to document slice-of-life-moments of youth culture in action. The photos and typography are locked rhythmically to a soundtrack that favors pulsating techno/dance grooves, hip-hop flavored beats and indie-rock distortion.
Of course when you work with an unconventional brand like Fuse, you have to expect some unconventional thinking. That is on full display in several interesting creative choices Loyalkaspar made, including the aforementioned lack of voiceover and placement of the Fuse logo bug in the center bottom of the screen, rather than in the traditional corners. The agency also created an array of short bumpers, some only 1 or 2 seconds long called “Beat Expressions,” that can pop on the screen at any moment during commercial breaks as a way of keeping viewers hooked in, and the brand constantly present.
“We wanted to give the network a flexible ID system that allows them to interact with their audience in the same way that the Fuse audience communicates with one another, through short bursts via texting or Twitter. This helps to create a sense of rhythm that makes the brand itself function almost like a song,” Dörnemann explains.
For Herbruck, Loyalkaspar’s Co-Founder/Partner, working with Fuse again was all about capturing the network’s commitment to music and authenticity.
“We wanted to convey Fuse’s passion for music through a dynamic, expandable brand reflective of the fast-paced, ADD lifestyle of today’s ‘millennials,’” Herbruck says. “We literally wrote the book on how Fuse speaks with its viewers by developing a distinctive brand voice as part of the overall brand philosophy guideline to assure that Fuse remains consistent and fresh as it continues to grow over the years.”