The story behind the iconic Nickelodeon splat logo, a staple of the children’s cable channel in the ’80s and ’90s, has recently been revealed. The logo is making a comeback after disappearing in 2009, stirring up a wave of nostalgia among those who grew up with the channel.
The splat logo was the brainchild of Scott Nash, a fresh design school graduate, and his former professor, Tom Corey. The duo was tasked with developing logos for the nascent cable channel for kids, Nickelodeon. After discarding their initial ideas, they decided to start over on a flight to meet with Fred Seibert and Alan Goodman, who were in charge of rebranding Nickelodeon in 1984.
As detailed in a recent article published by Yahoo Entertainment, Nash and Corey believed that a kids’ network shouldn’t have one particular shape, but should constantly change. One iteration of this evolving logo was the splat, which was already part of Nickelodeon lore, thanks to one of its earliest programs, “You Can’t Do That on Television,” where kid stars were regularly slimed with green goo dumped from above anytime they said, “I don’t know.”
The splat logo was quickly sketched out, along with other ideas, on anything they could find, including a coffee cup, as they had run out of paper. Despite the rough sketches, the idea was enthusiastically embraced by Fred Seibert. Thus, the splat logo was born.
The splat logo became a favorite among many other Nick logos used, including the zeppelin, a cow, and a dog bone. The product division particularly loved the splat, as it needed a consistent logo to build brand identity.
The color of the splat was also a point of discussion. Nash and his team settled on Pantone 021, a vibrant orange, after finding out that adults least liked lime green and orange. They chose orange over green because green was often used for backgrounds on green-screens at that time.
The splat logo remained part of the network’s identity as hits such as “The Ren & Stimpy Show,” “Rugrats,” and “Hey Dude” cycled through. However, in the late aughts, Nickelodeon decided to connect all of its brands by using matching lower-case logos for all of them, leading to the retirement of the splat.
Nash, who has since gone on to illustrate more than 50 children’s books, teach, and launch the Illustration Institute, was thrilled to see the splat logo’s return.
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