Logo Design Love

For graphic designers and all who love logos.

Time Warner

“When Time Inc. and Warner Communications announced their merger, the new company lacked a trademark. Warner was primarily concerned with entertainment, Time with journalism. So their common denominator needed to be much broader: looking and listening, reading and hearing, receiving and sending. The new logo was a pictograph combination of an eye and ear, the essence of communication.”

— Quoted from Decoding Design and the C&G Partners website.

Time Warner logo
Time Warner logo

Designed by Steff Geissbuhler in 1989 when working at Chermayeff & Geismar.
Steff is now part of C&G Partners.

Today the symbol is used by Time Warner Cable, updated by The Brand Union (below).

Time Warner Cable logo

Time Warner Cable logo

Update: 20 June 2013
London-based johnson banks asked Steff Geissbuhler, “What’s the worst design crime you’ve seen?”

“The redrawing of my Time Warner logo, making it weaker, and then call it theirs.”

Logo Design Love: A Guide to Creating Iconic Brand Identities

15 appreciated comments

  1. This logo has creeped me out more than any other. It looks like the Egyptian eye of Ra… and represents hypnotizing a vast media audience.

    Stare into the logo, you can’t look away!

  2. Its a nice marque. I really didn’t get the ‘ear’ element though! There’s something new to be learned every day ;-)

  3. I think the ear-eye motif is remarkably extensible but the typeface feels weak in comparison.

  4. I have never seen the ear in the logo until now. I thought it was a hypnosis logo that made a T. I agree with Josh in that it always creeped me out. They don’t even hide the fact that they want us mindlessly glued to the TV!

  5. Chris Pincombe

    Completely agree with Josh – very creepy for a company with such a reach within the media to have a logo that is so close to the All Seeing Eye. I know the symbol won’t be recognised by the majority of Joe Public for what it really is – but someone in the design process must have clocked it.

  6. Cosmo

    Creepy hypnosis was my first hit as well. Did not see the ear until I read the description.

  7. John

    Totally agree with the other comments. It’s creepy hypnosis of the all seeing eye hidden in plain view. These huge corporations are all about symbolism and sneak it in at any given opportunity,

  8. Nate

    Glad to see I wasn’t the only one who thought this logo was eerie (ear-y?).

  9. I’d seen this logo and the concept in one of my design books and didn’t understand it then, nor now. Sometimes, you have to dumb down your concept to get the point across and this is one of those examples. Like everyone is saying, I didn’t see this or that communicated when it is essential to the design. When you add to the fact that TW doesn’t have the best service, it really starts to complete the idea that they are out of touch, period.

  10. This logo always seemed to me a bit creepy, it seems to have some weird sci-fi elements to it that throw me off.

  11. This is a well crafted logo design. I didn’t see the ear but I can see how the idea has helped evolve the logo into it’s current form. At the end of the day it is a strong and original mark that is easy to reproduce and recognise – an effective an practical logo design.

  12. The logo has certainly had a lot of thought go into it but I didn’t realise there was an ear in the logo until it was pointed out to me. I’m not sure whether that’s my own lack of concentration whilst looking at the logo or if it is too subtle. Regardless, the logo is very clever and it is perfect for a company like Time/Warner.

  13. Totally looks like the eye of ra. I believe he is the all seeing eye which I’m sure conspiracy theorists will have a blast with this one…

  14. Vince

    Designers don’t make accidental designs, especially in regards to logos. I’m sure the designers we’re aware it would be interpreted as a hypnotized eye or an egyptian eye of Ra. The fact that a large number of the comments here point that out shows that it’s not hard to see that. I’m not trying to push forward a conspiracy theory but it’s apparent to me at least that it can be easily interpreted in a number of ways.

  15. Annon724

    Looks strikingly like my little cousins naruto headband. You know the hidden leaf symbol? That makes it even creeper. TW are a bunch of magic ninjas controlling the media.


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