A&E is one of the most watched cable networks in the United States. Launched in 1984 as "The Arts & Entertainment Network" it was once known for documentaries and syndicated or imported series. In the last decade it has shifted its focus to reality series and original drama, with recent hits including Duck Dynasty and Bates Motel. A&E now positions itself as a premium entertainment network and the only cable network to only air original programming in primetime. To communicate this, the network has introduced the new tagline "Be Original", replacing "Real Life. Drama.". It launched on December 11 with a new graphics package, created by Troika.
With that much original programming, A&E can safely build its identity around the characters and environments featured in them. Characters from different series are featured heavily in all communication. Graphics also make use of objects and textures that reference the shows. Finally, each show has its own icon that is used as graphical shorthand for each show. Overall this creates a long list of visual elements for each show.
The live action footage is accentuated by different messages written with boldly plain typography. To make the identity ownable, A&E have splurged for no less that three distinct typefaces that can be used together, a standard grotesque called Amperstandard, a script called Amperscript and a slab serif called Amperserif.
"“Be Original,” which acts as the network’s internal brand platform and externally facing tagline, anchors the rebrand. Speaking to A&E’s strategy to highlight their 100% original programming lineup, provocative characters, and unexpected storytelling, “Be Original” also informs the execution of A&E’s brand communication, identity and launch campaign.
Guy Slattery, EVP of Marketing at A&E noted, “As the A&E brand continues to evolve, it has become increasingly important to let both the consumer and trade know what we stand for. Troika understood where A&E was heading, and was able to develop an identity that embraces the unique characteristics of our programming through design, communication, and live-action shoots.”
“Be Original” is activated through a brand identity that brings a revamped attitude to A&E. Show personalities are brought to the forefront through bold, minimalistic graphics, accented by show-specific textures, objects, environments and talent imagery. Each show has its own unique “recipe card,” which acts as a guide for all promotional and marketing materials. In the spirit of originality, the identity also features original fonts, music, and show iconography."
The new tagline and graphics package was announced on October 9 and launched on December 11. The logo remains unchanged.
"Recipe cards" for different shows: