A multi-platform friendly system for Showtime




Make Showtime, an analog network facing the seismic shift of non-linear viewing habits,  a modular, universal on-air tune-in system. Make sure network attribution is a priority, as even The New York Times had incorrectly credited HBO as the source of a Showtime property. 





First we determined that moving beyond an on-air tune-in system was a priority. We needed to give them a cross-platform friendly solution. We also wanted people to clearly associate their shows with the network.


Their current Showtime channels (far left) carry baggage from past cable systems, and the designs are un-unified and outdated.

Showtime’s current line of platforms, services and taglines (left) combine into a confusing message. Both the network and the streaming service are called “Showtime” which causes this problem: “Can I get Showtime Anytime On Demand, or can I get Showtime on my phone if  I have Showtime on my TV? Is Anytime a platform or a proposition or both?”


Network tune-ins are often cluttered, unsophisticated and hard to read, both on-air and on streaming platforms. Additionally, network attribution is rarely made a priority on the title / tune-in card.

We looked at the current landscape, where platform, network and show carry similar weight and looked at establishing hierarchy among the three. Our structure included every show encapsulated by the network, and devices as peripheral ideas, not equal content stakeholders.



 We set off with 2 main goals:

1. Make attribution clear: stick to a simple, reductive logo and never untether the show names from the network logo.

2. Devise a platform-agnostic system both in design and in messaging.



Removing all but the essential elements makes the reductive logo instantly easier for the audience to read and recall. And it fits our modern language of condensed branding as icons, buttons and apps.


We derived a  grid that uses the center point to lock the logo to the middle of the screen. Like opening an app, it’s a constant reminder of the network you are using and watching. It also works across any device or screen ratio.


The tune-in physically links to the network logo. Our eye follows the tune-in boxes as they grow from the center point  in a natural progression reading left to right, top to bottom.

By ignoring the idea of a screen edge, our system can travel easily to any device or platform.


For network IDs, we quite literally “stamped” their content with the logo, reinforcing network attribution by fusing the show content and the network logo together.