Syfy House of Imagination

SyFy logo design

Much has been said about the new Syfy identity. Some bad, some worse. But regardless of all that, here’s a creative two-minute trailer for the channel that had me smiling (lookout for the Escher reference).

A few explanatory thoughts from Michael Engleman, VP / Creative, Syfy.

“When we set out to create “House of Imagination,” we wanted a piece that felt warm, wondrous, relatable and fun. And, by thinking beyond the obvious stereotypes of science fiction, we wanted to connect with, on one hand, an audience that has perhaps never considered us before, and, on the other, our hard-core genre fans who are always up for a little wild-eyed imagination. With help of Brett Foraker and his team at 4 Creative, the guys at MPC in London, and many others, I think we ended up with something that is worthy of Logo Design Love (which, by the way, is one of my favorite places to check out cool new work).”

The trailer is worth watching in full screen (also embedded below).


Before and after logo design

Syfy logo design
Image courtesy of UnderConsideration

The re-brand was always going to be a bold move, with the potential of alienating some fans, but as with all identities, how they work in context is crucial to the effectiveness. I’m liking what I see. These logo idents are tasty, showing the adaptability you can achieve with a simple logotype.

Sci Fi to Syfy. How do you think the move is going?

22 responses

  1. It’s a nice looking logo but I had honestly no idea that SyFy had anything to do with Sci-Fi.

    Apart from trying to search for it’s typographic shortcomings or whatever else we could complain about from a design point of view, I do have a slight issue with the name change, from Sci-Fi to SyFy, perhaps I am missing something obvious but is there a reason for that?

  2. I’m indifferent to either logo. For any television brand, it’s really all about the content. If they shift their content to reflect their new logo then it’ll be a good change. So I’m expecting more family friendly content that revolves around wondrous fun instead of dreary old reruns aimed at 35 year old males.

    One gripe, their tag line sounds like a teenager with a limited vocabulary.

  3. Hey, David.
    Visually, the previous logo spoke clearly as to what you could expect. When I read about the change a few months ago over at Logo Lounge, I wasn’t to keen and probably was downright dismissive of the new phonetically-spelt logo.

    In tandem with the tagline however, and because the spelling invites you to say the logo name, I could see how the change could’ve been made. The spelling evokes curiousity as well, even though from a purely visual aspect, it doesn’t say as much as the old logo.

  4. As I understood the idea of the ‘rebrand’ was for the channel to capture a new audience and get people involved in science fiction that might not have been before, I was involved in the illustration for the 3d graffiti scene in the advert, which I believe was a very successful and will certainly appeal to a different demographic as intended.

    As for the logo – In my opinion, the original logo had more substance and personality, it has been the logo that I have grown up with and it’s a shame to see it change so dramatically. However, if syfy do intend to change the channel and what they broadcast greatly then maybe it’s fitting? My first impressions towards the logo are fairly negative but there is always more and more buried within the brief and things that people (like me) who don’t watch the channel won’t be able to make a decent judgment on, ie. the change in programme broadcast and its relationship with the new logo.

    As a whole the rebrand campaign is fantastic and I guess the logo will work with the amount of exposure it will be given – again, this depending on the broadcast genre, the new logo suggests we’ll be seeing more than just science fiction? Maybe some episodes of Dragons Den or Eastenders! – Or not!

    Check out the original illustration for the advert on my folio.


  5. I’m not a hard core science fiction fan, so I’d be a candidate for the widened audience.

    I like the minimalist look and the use of the Y’s in place of I’s. Changing the logo away from outer space expands the reach of SyFy. It reminds me of the Twilight Zone, which I loved (especially the Talky Tina episode), so I’m more likely to watch it.


  6. The SyFy channel has tv show geared towards the strange and sometimes unexplained. So this logo resembles that, its strange and cant be explained, or its explained in different ways by different people. Why they did it, who they are targeting with the new logo, it all has the same aura that their programming has. The logo itself is mysterious, and I think thats the whole idea. I think its great.

  7. What I particularly don’t understand is the reasoning behind going from Sci-Fi to SyFy. Where do the Ys come from at all? It certainly isn’t short for science fiction any longer. I actually had thought this was for an entirely different channel that I hadn’t heard of. It seems to be such a strong rebranding that it completely throws out any of its past.
    I agree with Mike, that the tagline seems poorly written. It is nice in that it is short and I understand the concept, just poorly performed.
    All that aside, I think the new logo is nice with the update into a modern style with real depth. The old logo was just a little flat. The trailer was brilliant, though a little long. I think I’d go back in the house 8)
    It will be interesting to see how the programming changes to match the rebrand, however.

  8. While I understand their need to grow out of the SciFi ghetto (that ironically made them a success), I feel their new direction is both forgettable and too safe. That video is quite frankly boring. Well produced but boring with cliched ideas of imagination (Look, the balloon animals are really animals!). This to me reflects a new high-paid management truly unaware of what made the brand which is fan boys/girls. That being said, their old logo was pretty boring…

  9. It reads Sii-fee, when it should read sie-fie

    as a person who has no understanding of what the logo was before hand, i find the rebrand terrible, and have no idea what it is, whereas the previous logo was informative(but not the best looking)

    i find it a terrible rebrand.

  10. David,
    Thanks for link, at least I can understand their reasoning behind the change now.
    I thought this was humorous in the article
    “If I were texting, this is how I would spell it” – Mr. Howe
    maybe it’s just me, but the one extra letter in scifi doesn’t really make me want to switch to syfy for texting, I don’t think anyone would know what I was saying! IMO

  11. I think the narrative is inconsistent, the cast uneven and unnecessarily inorganic (yet still shy of the CGI perfection one might expect from other-wordly aesthetic), and the overall impact not as imaginative as most of their content. I have not seen their line-up for the upcoming season, but if the objective was to steer towards the mainstream and the predictable and well away from the “outer limits”, job done.

  12. I like the otherworldly aspect of the spot, but the cast looks too “Banana Republic”, not the sort that would watch the SciFi, oops, I mean SyFy channel.

    And, the rebrand doesn’t speak to me about science fiction or fantasy. It looks too bubbly and generic. At least the old SciFi brand meant something on first sight, though it was due for an upgrade.

  13. As a big Sci-Fi fan, I wasn’t liking the switch to Syfy, but I agree with some of the comments above – its more about the content. If they can pull off something like Battlestar again, I wouldn’t care about the name. I love some of the shows and will probably still refer to the channel as the Sci-Fi channel. Its too ingrained in me to refer to it as anything else. The new name kind of reminds me of Sify , the indian news portal.

  14. I think there was also a reference (though loose) to Rene Magritte with the train coming out of the hall way (it was coming out of a fireplace in his painting). I liked the video and I’ve always loved their little promo spots; they’re always creative. I suppose the change in logos is growing on me, though I originally read they changed it to attract different audiences who wouldn’t normally like the sci-fi genre. I think it’s a much more understandable reason that it was because sci-fi can’t be protected as a company name as well as syfy.

    Did Engleman really say he likes coming here to see new stuff?! That’s fantastic, David!! What a compliment.

  15. I wasn’t aware of that one, Lauren, not being as familiar with Magritte as I am with Escher. I’ll look-up that painting now though. Thanks.

    As for Michael Engleman, he was asking a colleague of his if they could have the video featured here, so I asked him for a quote to run alongside it. Low and behold, he was kind enough to oblige.

  16. Designwise, the logo is very handsome. But any reference to science fiction has been totally removed in terms of both genre and actual wording. I’m curious to see where they go with this. Hopefully they have a plan we’re not privy to.

  17. Well, I can see what they were trying to do, and the Syfy is just a fonetic description of SciFi. I just prefer the older spelling, because when I see Sci Fi I know what it is. Syfy not so much. Plus for the us, Slavic language speakers Syfy has a whole new meaning… it means “something disgusting, diseased…” so, if SciFi channel ever would like to concord those market, I hope they will go with the old spelling that is universally understood. Otherwise there might be trouble.

  18. Coming off of their most successful year ever, and with the powerfully evocative “if” promos, this seems like a New Coke kind of move. Greedy network execs want to expand the market, and one of the justifications is that “it made us feel much cooler”.

    When things are going well, MBA’s start thinking they’re bulletproof. Make the programming interesting and it doesn’t matter what you call it. Instead of trying to sound “cool” to the social market, be cool and let the social marketing do your work for you.

    Alienate your core audience and you’ll ignite the social network, as they’ve no doubt seen.

    It’s just not a smart move. How long to they relaunch SciFi classic!

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