The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) is sporting a fresh look. The New York-based org, which handles the Emmy Awards for daytime, sports and news and documentary programming, as well as 19 regional chapters, unveiled its new official branding and identity package on Tuesday morning.
The new logo, which NATAS will employ across the organization, including its local chapters, was nearly a year in the making. It’s the latest initiative employed by NATAS president and CEO Adam Sharp, who first joined NATAS last year on an interim basis (and was given the job permanently in December).
It’s the first brand refresh in at least a decade for NATAS, and Sharp said it was overdue, given the changes experienced by the industry.
“We as an Academy face the same challenge as any other media company, which is, adapting to the changing marketplace,” he said. “For us, that comes in several levels. We have to produce our content for more platforms and have a more flexible brand in order to do that… The last time the logo was revisited, you didn’t have streaming platforms. There was no Netflix streaming of Amazon Prime. You had cable, but our awards were traditional network focused. And so our Academy has changed considerably since the logo was last revamped, and what we honor has changed incredibly over that time.”
There was also a practical element to the change: Sharp noted that the old logo had design limitations.
“It didn’t scale well, it wasn’t well-formatted for digital,” he said. “It had one real design that didn’t have enough variations for different use cases. When we entered this process, we started it from that practical standpoint. Let’s look at the logo and make it more flexible.”
Bill Dawson, the lead designer on the project and founder of Los Angeles-based brand agency XK9, headed up the project. The new look is touted as being “simpler” and “more contemporary.”
Dawson called the project “challenging,” but “an honor to be a part of it.”
“National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences is a mouthful of a brand name,” he said. “The design needed to balance this descriptive name with the Academy’s iconic symbol. The Emmy is a potent, timeless avatar for this vital organization. Our goal was to present the Emmy—to amplify her beauty and energetic form. Here, the figure breaks from confinement, pushes beyond perceived limits. That’s an apt metaphor for the work of the Academy and the excellence it celebrates.”
Sharp said NATAS was aiming for a flatter, more modern design with more versatile uses. He also notes that the new logo features the Emmy statue bursting out of a box — a symbol for how the industry can no longer be defined in one way.
“Trying to strike that balance between tradition and history, and the modernity and polish we were going for,” he said. “Certainly that meant a cleaner, simpler design while still maintaining that iconic Emmy statue at the center.”
NATAS shares ownership of the Emmy icon with its West-coast counterparts the Television Academy, which administers the Primetime Emmys and oversees the local Los Angeles Emmy chapter. The TV Academy underwent its own redesign earlier this decade, and Sharp said that org’s president COO Maury McIntyre gave his advice to NATAS as well.
“We give them a heads up very early in the process,” Sharp said. “Maury was very helpful. He had useful feedback because they had gone through this process a couple of years ago and we were able to seek their advice on what worked and what didn’t, what in hindsight may have been done differently. That certainly informed our process.”
[Above: the old NATAS logo.]
Since taking over NATAS, Sharp has commissioned an independent investigation into the Daytime Emmy voting process and instituted changes after members said they lost confidence in the Daytime Emmys voting system. He also gave the show new production oversight.
As part of the redesign, NATAS selected Frontify as its official brand management platform, and MOO is the organization’s preferred national provider of print materials, including business cards and letterhead.
“It’s always a lot more difficult than you thought it would be going in,” Sharp said. “It always starts at redesigning the logo, and the next thing you know it’s nine months later and it’s a whole thing. It’s a healthy exercise because it forces you to go back as an organization and say, ‘what do we stand for? What do we represent? What is the story we want to tell?’ And I think the new branding does that.”