Popular Chicago television station WGN is gearing up to celebrate its 75th anniversary by showcasing its rich history, memories that are likely still fresh in the minds of many Chicagoans, and thanks to its status as a super-station with viewers across the country.
The station officially celebrates its 75th anniversary on the 5th of April 2023, having signed on in 1948 and building a name for itself with mass production of popular local programming including “The Bozo Show”.
Its contribution to Chicagoland’s history has been preserved in its longtime slogan “Chicago’s Very Special Property”.
While locally produced entertainment programming has faded from the station’s airwaves, it still provides a great deal of local news that, despite its current independent status, often outperforms network programs like “Today” in the market.
To celebrate its upcoming birthday, the station has created a circular logo reminiscent of the 1977 Globe Station logo design that combines elements of gold, diamonds, and some unique typography.
The “WGN” is placed along the top of the circle with the unique “W” looking more like an inverted “M”, while the “W” and “N” appear to be slightly modified to have curved sides.
Below is a large “75” set in dramatic numbers including a “5” whose upper left border has been modified to follow the curve of the adjacent “7”. The tips of both figures have curved ends that follow the circular borders around the design.
The number “75” appears to use a diamond texture with added sparkles, a reference to the 75 years often referred to as the “diamond anniversary”.
The entire logo design, including the “75” symbol, appears to have been designed to create feelings of nostalgia through connections to the 1977 logo and shares some characteristics of the jewelry and other decorative items of the time of the station’s founding. It contains hints of art deco and other design movements, although not all of them were in vogue at the time the station was founded.
Either way, the design still looks suitably festive and glamorous — and maybe, thanks to its shifting numbers, just like Superman’s shield.
Meanwhile, the Nexstar-owned station also created a promo featuring a collection of framed photos of its long history. These images are lined up in a row, and the promo features the camera moving slowly.
Audio from the programming and events depicted in the images are masterfully blended alongside brief typography screens that act as dividers.
The first part reads “We were ‘very’ there for the news”, which heavily includes the ‘very special’ element. The word “Jada” appears in a diamond pattern with a gold border in a larger typeface without serif, amid thin gold-coloured letters.
This screen is followed by “For laughs,” “For the date…” and “For you…,” all intended to finish off the beginning of the sentence “We’ve been there so…” and is the first in a series of screens, “Laughs,” not including a tag The last and last bits are stylized “you” in all capital letters.
In keeping with WGN’s rich history in Chicago-area sports, some on-camera frames also include a ball or puck placed nearby, along with the commentator’s matching voice.
View an exhibition of this project…
The spot ends with a wide beauty shot of the station’s current news set as the camera center video wall displays an overpass of the station’s old studios at West Bradley Place north of downtown Chicago.
This shot also shows two appearances of the “Very Special Chicago” logo on the kit itself, including the emblazoned figure on the title permanently affixed above the center of the home base.
Finally, the case ends with a “very special” slogan read aloud as the 75th anniversary logo animates with a dash of sparkle.
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