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281. Blu-ray. Now in 3D. 

So there was a lot of 3D talk at this year's Consumer Electronics Show held earlier this month in Vegas as you might have heard. You may not have heard however that the BDA announced the new codec or standard for Blu-ray 3D discs and with it a logo that may very well be the most produced identity we will ever cover. (And if you're like me and you have no idea what BDA stands for—that's the Blu-Ray Disc Association of course.) This new identity will literally be everywhere.

2D is so 2009:

From the press release for the standard: “Throughout this year, movie goers have shown an overwhelming preference for 3D when presented with the option to see a theatrical release in either 3D or 2D,” said Victor Matsuda, chairman, BDA Global Promotions Committee. “We believe this demand for 3D content will carry over into the home now that we have, in Blu-ray Disc, a medium that can deliver a quality Full HD 3D experience to the living room.”

Based largely on the ubiquitous Blu-ray design, the identity for Blu-ray 3D standard uses the same typography but emphasizes the 3D elements over the blu-ray type. It also gives the look some obviously-needed depth with a treatment similar to that of the previous mark. The BDA announced two official versions of the design (a block and horizontal lockup) and were followed during the show by several companies unveiling 3D capable devices—some of which will eventually be adorned by this new Blu-ray 3D mark including the PS3 of Sony. (Which I think can have its firmware updated if you already have an old 2D model.)

The New Look of Blu-ray:

There are a few forgivable flaws in the design. Using the same typography is forgivable even though the original has too many oddly-shaped characters and is too inconsistent to be used on such a grand scale. (Take a look at the spur on the u for example.) At this point there is probably some brand recognition at play though I would have preferred they utilize a more solid, professional typeface. I imagine there is a typeface out there that holds some of the same general characteristics but is more technically sound, right? Right.

The 3D-ed 3D is also forgivable as the main goal of a logo design is to communicate what the brand is, and without question this solution does that quickly and clearly. It would have been very easy to over-complicate matters and the designers resisted that urge. It's just not the most convincing or well-crafted simulation of depth I have ever seen. And it's also somewhat forgivable that the 3D elements overwhelm the blu-ray since that is the aspect most important to consumer. We just need to know quickly that this is the latest version of blu-ray without having to strain too much. This is accomplished, yet the visual proportion doesn't so much create a sense of forward-motion & progress as it does imbalance.

Maybe The Logo Looks Different With a Pair of These?

image courtesy of wikipediaThe problem occurs when you put all three of these forgiveable decisions together into one design. In total they no longer are forgivable—especially for how visible this design will be and how often it will be used. It simply needed more time in the oven and a more conceptual and artistic craft. (I also hope the relationship between the TM and the mark will be adjusted in future applications. If the TM gets any bigger the blu-ray 3D mark will be the legal bug to the logo and not the other way around. Ha.) The most troubling aspect of the whole thing is both the 3 and that D. The 3 needs work as in its italicized form (slanted far beyond typographic integrity) it feels awkward and not in harmony with the shape of the 'button' that is created by the beveled form underneath it. And the D...I don't know if it reminds me of Transformers or Terminator or some movie like that, but it feels too heavy-handed, cliche and unnecessary. Yes, we get it. It's the future. Now, stop chopping up the type, okay?

In the end, I think the best solution would have been to simply fix a few flaws in the original b symbol, make it more three-dimensional and update the typography. Then go watch Avatar in 3D at the theaters so you'll have something to compare the experience to later. Which by the way is one of the best-looking worst films I have ever seen.

Now that we've taken a peek at the logo, am I the only one that hates wearing those stupid 3D glasses? I would much rather watch a traditional movie than its 3D peer anyday. The somewhat lame effect simply isn't worth the aggravation of wearing glasses for 2 plus hours. According to Cnet, new 3D TVs require active liquid crystal shutter glasses, which work by very quickly blocking the left and then the right eye in sequence (120 times per second systems like Panasonic's Full HD 3D). I have yet to see a convincing display of this technology, but maybe that's what this whole thing is about: bringing a quality experience to your home theater. And forcing everyone to replace yet another box in your living room that was just made obsolete. Didn't Blu-ray just come out like in 2006? Now that I sound a lot like my dad, I'm ending this post for everyone's benefit with Panasonic's explanation of why you should care via the update below.

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