Identity design for different readers of the same brand

I recently came across a digital platform called Catchnews. Around two years old, this online news publication describes itself as “provocative yet playful” along with a bunch of other adjectives emphasising on the dual personality it wants to create for itself. This need to inhabit a polar space is represented in a mildly interesting manner in the logo for it English edition.

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The stencilled design cuts away the excess and what is left behind is the bare minimum required to describe a letter. I assume this would allude to the logo symbolising a brand that cuts through the rubbish and serves the essential. The rugged, yet refined aesthetic further amplifies the dual personality the brand wants to inhabit.

The publication also has a Hindi edition whose logo is a simple adaptation of the English one, with a Hindi tag as shown below.

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What I quite enjoy is the stencil treatment given to the Hindi letters in the logo. Rather than replicating the Latin counterpart, the stencil treatment in the Hindi word is created by increasing the spacing between the letters and the maatras. While this does not create a gap in the stroke of the letter, the resultant space alludes to the gaps made in a stencilled design. This also serves the logo well in smaller sizes as breaking the strokes of the Devnagri letters would have affected the readability of the word at the small sizes that a logo generally appears. One can argue that gaps due to the spaced out letters in the word हिंदी actually aid in distinguishing the letters at small sizes. I do wish the designer had paid more attention to the placement of the maatras. I find it hard to understand how one cannot align the badi ikar  ी over the द.  Unless done intentionally which I highly doubt, this placement of the maatra betrays a lack of attention to detail rather than a lack of knowledge of the script.  The bindu ‘ ं’  that’s hovering way too close to the maatra on ह is also very distracting and cancels out the visual benefit and aesthetic that spacing the letters out have created.

These logos are still quite large to be viewed at smaller sizes as a favicon or a display image for social media sites, for which there is an icon variant created. The one for the English site is perfectly functional and doesn’t require an explanation. But whoever designed the Hindi variant, sure had a lot of fun with it.

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The one to the right if you haven’t guessed already is what is used for the Hindi edition. It is the Devnagri letter क whose left bowl is constructed with the Latin ‘c’ taken from the English logo of Catchnews . To be completely honest, I love this idea but the final execution leaves me shortchanged. If we start at the top, the shirorekha has a vertical in stroke but ends with a diagonal stroke. The width of the strokes on either side of the stems could have also matched better. The gap between the ‘c’ that makes the left bowl and the stem, helps identify it as well as add to the stencil treatment of the क. I wish this was replicated with the bowl on the other side which looks odd as it is now attached to the stem.  The half-hearted, one-sided serif at the bottom of the stem serves no one and only adds to the confusion as it now looks like its trying to complete the bowl on the right side. This could have been completely eliminated. The “CATCH हिंदी ” repeated at the bottom of the icon feels like a safety net to catch the people who have not got the logo on the first go. A bit more care to the design of the icon above and this extra element could have been avoided.

On the whole, I enjoyed the idea more than the execution. I do see a disparity in the quality of logo designs across the two scripts. The Latin letters looked more finished and refined as compared to the Devnagri letters. The final design for the Hindi edition lacks clarity and as it represents a news publication, I find this a significant shortcoming. The design decisions made to create the final shape leave a lot to be desired and I wonder how much difference it makes to a reader. To say that the qualities associated with a poorly drawn क reflect the quality of reporting of a news outlet would be a gross exaggeration but the tone communicated by such a letter will always be a little less serious, a bit too informal than what brand was hoping to achieve.

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