The Soundcity re-brand feels like really really long sex
Indifferent, no emotions, flat… I don’t feel much for the re-brand, I’m not angry or excited. You know when you’ve had multiple orgasms and he just keeps going, but you really can’t feel anything again, it’s all numb, you just lie down there waiting for the end. Yes that kind of long sex.
Okay, maybe the long sex analogy doesn’t really apply, allow me this one gimmick, it makes for a catchy title. It feels more like soda without gas, kind of like a nice dry joke, just witty enough to let a smile out of you but it’s not humor at its finest. I know a lot of Nigerians think this is some dope stuff, I’m not here for that. I’m here to push the envelope and NO, I’m not sexually frustrated. Thank you.
So let’s talk about the new identity for the new Soundcity Africa Music and Lifestyle channel or the rebrand for Soundcity TV… *sigh*… If I’m being honest with you. I respect the effort, I see the effort, I’m not impressed by it, but I acknowledge it. I see the hours the designers and animators put in. I just wish that time had been put into something more conceptually resolved.
Here’s why I feel so indifferent. It all just seems half baked, like at some point it looks good, at another it doesn’t. There something really amateurish about it. There was no part of the identity they OWNED. You know that saying “too many ingredients spoil the soup”, this is were it applies. Too little of everything, nothing dominant, just too many visual devices, It made the visual identity so much harder to recognize. There is no BOSS MOVE.
The identity looks like the love child of MTVBase and the old MTVBase and MTV and a little bit of Centric’s Soultrain and B.E.T and a little bit of the old Soundcity and a little bit of so much more, if they all had an orgy. The end result is unique in its lack of personality. Too bad in visual identity design, unique is a meaningless word without personality.
I like the psychedelic reference they have going on, that music, drugs, sex, pointless but “cool as fuck” kind of vibe. I like the attempt, even though at some point it appeared a tad bit pretentious. They tried to rock that delicate balance between being ugly, bold and being pretty. A really nice mix I tell you, but here’s the thing about this really nice mix, it is so difficult to pull off. Pulling this off requires a high level of visual maturity. The evidence of the lack of maturity is most vivid in the colour combos. The colours look odd and gloomy, obviously the opposite of the intentions behind them.
The logo looks weird against coloured backgrounds which seems to be the case most of the time. The colours do very badly in print. To be honest, I doubt I know what I’m talking about, because the question here is, which colours?. The brand identity was presented in so many different shades, it looked like a fiesta for ugly rainbows.
A lot of basic graphic design knots are simply left untied and there is a fundamental lack of cohesion. At almost every point in time, the logo looks separate from the rest of the identity. The way the name is written in the logo is awkward and timid, it reminds me of my early teen years. The whole thing is conceptually weak. A lot of the problems with the end result is evidently from a weak concept or a none existent one. It just isn’t clear what they are trying to communicate. I can’t make reason for the new logo, it clearly isn’t even as aesthetically mature as the old one. So many aspects of the new identity seem to lack reason, except for looking pretty individually. I blame this vivid lack of cohesion on the lackadaisical approach towards conceptual and thematic thinking. In plain English, “there is no theme or direction”. Although I admire the bravery of their attempt at art direction, I can’t complement it as a functional entity. It’s like when someone with no sense of smell buys you cologne, you know it’s perfume, you can smell it, but that’s where it ends.
Why is all this so unfortunate? Because there is so much wealth in contemporary Nigerian culture. There’s so much a music/lifestyle platform like Soundcity can tap from, that it’s a shame to walk around looking like an MTVBase wanna be. MTVBase should want to be you because they are kind of like an imported product. It’s a shame because Soundcity had the upper-hand. They clearly under-utilized their authentically Nigerian factor, their ability to genuinely connect… I’m not talking Ankara or cliche African patterns either.
From one heart to another, I adore Soundcity TV, they set the bar higher for Nigerian music channels all day, err’day. So I think it’s time they sit in the position they worked hard for and own it, then let that ownership translate into their brand identity. The recent Soundcity MVP Awards showed a certain disdain for mediocrity, so I’m sure they can do better than this. Like I said earlier, I see the effort, it can only get better from here.