Responses by Bo Bishop; executive director, creative strategy; Trollbäck+Company.
Background: With an ever-expanding portfolio of networks, studios and streaming brands, Paramount Global saw an opportunity to rebrand its legacy Hollywood news property ET Live into a more elastic and dynamic hub for its vast array of pop-culture content, something flexible enough to support content from brands like CBS, MTV and Showtime alongside red carpet and event coverage. The intention was to expand the target audience from people interested primarily in celebrity news—a somewhat limiting niche—to pop-culture fans of all kinds. The new brand needed to be a place where music, entertainment, fashion, tech and culture could live happily together.
Design thinking: Our mission was to develop an always-on streaming platform that can shift, mix and move at the speed of pop culture. That strategy directly (and quite literally) informed the name development; thus, Mixible was born. The purposefully off-kilter spelling reflects the brand’s quirky personality, and the double Is become expressive exclamation marks—particularly in motion.
At Trollbäck+Company, we’ve always wanted to make a black-and-white brand, and we finally made that happen here. Mixible has a visual identity that’s versatile enough to take on the color and personality of any brand it supports: CBS blue, MTV yellow, Nickelodeon orange and everything in between.
Challenges: Naming is typically the most challenging aspect of launching a new brand, but this was surprisingly painless. I wish I had some juicy behind-the-scenes drama to share, but the brand came together quite effortlessly. We have a great relationship with our partners at Paramount, who were insanely supportive of our ideas and aligned on the vision. Like the content itself, the process of building Mixible was super playful and spontaneous. We knew if we were having fun, audiences would as well.
Favorite details: In a world of streaming brands with names that get skewered on Saturday Night Live (not naming names!), I’m proud that we’ve created a new brand that feels natural—as if it has been part of the Paramount portfolio forever—while simultaneously expressing what the brand is all about. Getting too cute or too playful were things we consciously tried to avoid, and I’m personally happy with the name.
New lessons: Mixible is eclectic and energetic by design. Because the brand palette is neutral and a bit understated, we turned up the volume through motion and animation. On its own, the brand has a bit of German expressionism in it—F. W. Murnau, Fritz Lang and some early Tim Burton—particularly in the backgrounds and textural elements. We embraced a mix of 2-D and 3-D that feels very fresh to me. Color comes through in the content and the partner brands: those are the real heroes, and having a reserved palette lets them shine. Mixible provided us the perfect opportunity to flex both sides of our studio: timeless Scandinavian design principles in service of immediate cultural impact.
Time constraints: We had just enough time to make something fun without overthinking or spending months second-guessing ourselves. Creative people tend to thrive with constraints, so having less time to build a brand can be liberating. I’ve personally worked on branding initiatives that take multiple years, and a timeline like that produces a different, more critical mode of thinking. We articulated the brand strategy, developed the name, designed the visual identity, produced the guidelines and toolkits, and delivered the final brand in about four months—including legal clearances. Moving quickly helped us stay excited and fully engaged.