Combined Vermont PBS, public radio organization rebrands


Vermont Public Radio and Vermont PBS, who merged in 2021, have announced they will rebrand as “Vermont Public” while also unveiling a new logo that drives home a “stories from every corner” tagline.

“Our new name pays homage to our past while signaling a new mission for the future,” said President and CEO, Scott Finn, in a statement June 23, 2022. “Across TV, radio, and digital platforms, we will engage a broader and more diverse audience, through stories that bring our community together.”

The new logo features the new name in a fresh mint-green shade in a sans serif typeface with distinct curved accents on select letters.

Those curved elements, which add a bit of an organic feel to the letters, contrast with the right and pointed angles in the icon and certain portions of the lettering but also marries well with the non-modified curves in the brand’s updated typography.

It’s placed so that the right arm of the “V” aligns with a green gradient outline that suggests a polygon and a simplified outline of the state’s shape. It also conveniently has four corners, which is good tie-in with the “every corner” slogan.

The state shape’s height does end up extending above the top and bottom of the text, which could cause some issues when trying to fit the lockup in certain spaces and still keep it readable, but it notably does use the rule of thirds to guide the height of the letters and icon.

In addition, there’s also a two-line version that works better in certain layouts, including square-shaped avatar-style applications. This design also changes the spacing and path of the state outline a bit, but still manages to maintain a sense of proportion.

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After merging but prior to the rebranding, the station used several variations of “together” themed taglines to emphasize the new, combined venture and its strengths to operate as a non-profit media company.

The new identity also uses a deep green background with hints of blue and gray, a nod to the state’s natural land and the Green Mountains that spread across it.

The color palette is decidedly trendy, with visual cues drawn from the so-called “Web 2.0” style, but it’s also approachable, recognizable and stands out well among other media company logos.

Green was previously used in both the VPR and Vermont PBS logos.

The VPR stations used a copperplate font set atop a rather awkwardly placed swoosh presumably meant to suggest mountains or a horizon. A more traditional lime green shade was often used with this look.

The Vermont Public radio stations are a collection of FM stations including WBTN, WVBA, WVPS, WRVT, WVPA, WVPR that carry content from NPR and related production companies as well as classical music.

Vermont PBS, meanwhile, which broadcasts over WETK, WVER, WVTB and WVTA, previously used a combination of the 2019 PBS rebranding accented with a row of blue and green rectangles.

The PBS rebranding includes a custom font and redrawn, flatter “profile” icon but was also designed so that stations could stick with their own, existing logos alongside it if they wanted — or switch to a more cohesive look using the custom font.

Prior to that, a geometric typeface was used with the old, glossy PBS icon.

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The new Vermont Public identity relies on the open source Poppin font heavily including for non-logo headings and its website font, as well as leveraging angled elements and patterns that play homage to the state outline in the logo.

Vermont Public joins other prominent public media organizations that have rebranded or reorganized lately. WETA in Washington, got an updated logo design earlier in 2022. Boston’s iconic PBS station WGBH announced plans to rebrand as simply “GBH,” though its new logo kept much of the old Chermayeff & Geismar-designed logo.

KETC in St. Louis also rebranded as Nine PBS in early 2021. Many of these organizations have cited a desire to emphasize their evolution into cross-platform media organizations.

One of the earliest examples of PBS stations opting for unique branding was when WNET in Newark and New York rebranded as “Thirteen,” a reference to its channel number, in 1979. Other stations, both PBS and ones linked with other broadcast networks, have also taken the approach of spelling out numerals as a branding element.

Below is the full text of the announcement announcing the new name and look issued June 23.

Today, VPR and Vermont PBS have changed their name and brand to Vermont Public. This reflects the unified mission of the state’s public media organization, which officially merged last year.

“Our new name pays homage to our past while signaling a new mission for the future,” said President and CEO, Scott Finn. “Across TV, radio, and digital platforms, we will engage a broader and more diverse audience, through stories that bring our community together.”

“Our new name pays homage to our past while signaling a new mission for the future,” said President and CEO, Scott Finn. “Across TV, radio, and digital platforms, we will engage a broader and more diverse audience, through stories that bring our community together.”

Over the past year, Vermont Public has conducted research with the public, staff, and board of directors to better understand the needs, perceptions, opportunities, and challenges for public media in Vermont. This input informed the organization’s mission and brand development.

The logo depicts the shape of the state, signifying the organization’s focus on inclusion and connection, reaching every corner of Vermont. The color palette is a vibrant representation of modern Vermont. Solidarity of Unbridled Labor, a Burlington-based creative agency, developed the new branding.

The new name and visual identity are now live at vermontpublic.org, as well stations as on its broadcast channels, and digital platforms.

“We’ve been here to engage, inform, and inspire Vermonters for more than fifty years,” according to Marguerite Dibble, the incoming board chair. “And that won’t change. Our core audience will continue to see and hear all the things they love. Their support and loyalty have shaped who we are today. And as the needs of our community evolve, and the media landscape shifts, we want to broaden access for all voices to participate, from every corner of our unique state.”

The newly-recruited Vermont Public Community Forum, a group of volunteers that advises the organization about content and programming, is the most diverse to date based on gender, neurodiversity, age, physical abilities, race, ethnicity, geography, personal interests, and political contracts.

In the coming months, Vermont Public’s content and platforms will begin to evolve to meet the needs of more Vermonters and bring more voices and stories to light.

“If you listen or watch right now, we’re still everything you counted on,” said current board chair, Nicole Junas Ravlin, who will pass the torch to Dibble later this month. “If you haven’t felt like public media is for you, we’re creating new ways for you to participate and hear your voices and interests and are shared. Vermont Public is for all of us.”

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