The obnoxious Pantone yellow 116 is just one of the many design aesthetics that makes The Simpsons one of the most discernable visual brands in the world. “When you’re flicking through channels with your remote control and a flash of yellow goes by, you’ll know you’re watching The Simpsons,” creator Matt Groening once told BBC. Other aesthetic measures for the show such as stroke weight, and vibrant color palette (like Marge’s Pantone 285 hair, and Homer’s Pantone 284 pants) have been delicately preserved throughout the decades of the shows life.
“Every Simpsons Ever,” is the tagline FX has used to appeal to their fans, after the shows revival some time ago. Reintroducing the classic show with a new twist, FX turned to the Los Angeles based studio Laundry to design fresh idents (a.k.a. introductions) that would appeal not only to The Simpsons original viewers, but also to a newer fan base.
“FX really wanted to do something completely different within even the graphic language of The Simpsons, while retaining the key elements—the linework, the colors, yellow especially, the patterns,” said PJ Richardson, creative director at Laundry. “It was definitely intimidating.”
By obsessing over every episodes authentic details, like the way Homer skips or the precise color of his pants, the team at Laundry and FX studios collaborated to create the “Groening fever dream”, a deconstruction and restoration of the brand’s most familiar characteristics into something new and exciting.
“You can take everything away—all the decadent stuff, design-wise—and just leave it with an eyeball, the yellow, and then that stretchy effect,” Richardson says. Somehow, it’s still The Simpsons. The new and playful idents stretch the brands boundaries, creating a new aesthetic identity all of its own.