john christopher burns DESIGN

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Dreams of 24 hour news as big as Texas.


The fifth Time Warner 24 hour local newschannel carried a unique set of challenges and provided a chance to display a bold graphic style.

News 24 Houston was destined to be different from its pure Time Warner cousins in Tampa, Austin, Raleigh, and New York. Created as a joint venture with Texas-based Belo Broadcasting, the budget, facility, and management style was a little different than its predecessors, perhaps starting from an attitude that said "we don't want to be a clone of those other channels. We know better how things need to be done in Houston."

And true enough, there's something about the sheer size of the Houston metro area that gives one pause. So when I started to work with the General Manager on the logo and the fundamental parameters of the design, I remembered some of the lessons I had learned from a successful design relationship in the 1980s with KPRC: go big, go bold, and don't forget that Texans love the look of their flag and the shape of Texas itself.

Thus, a star became the star of the logo and the backgrounds. The animated, densely-layered backgrounds played in a dynamic way off of the points and sharp angles of the star, and the colors of red and blue, ripped straight off of the state flag, drove the design in a way I was very happy with.

One of the biggest challenges (of many) the GM threw at me was the slogan of the channel itself. Where Austin, Raleigh, and Albany were content to share the bold and straightforward "Your news now," because "we do things differently here in Houston," those wacky Texans chose " it happens."

Which, all by itself, isn't a bad phrase, but when a slogan beginning with Houston has to live comfortably nestled next to a channel logo whose very name is News 24 Houston, well, I had my work cut out for me.

The channel launched in 2002 and was yanked unceremoniously from the cablewaves in July of 2004, a victim perhaps of budgets and corporate politics. I can't help but think of the hardworking people I collaborated with there who worked very hard to bring Houston a news channel worthy of the name. Good folks.