Steff Geisbuhler – NBC


Steff Geisbuhler is quite possibly known mostly for his conversion of the NBC peacock seen in image 1 to the widely known peacock seen in image 2. John Graham originally designed the peacock in image 1 as a way of showing off that the TV channel had color options, which explains why it is almost a rainbow. There were many other attempts to make a logo as recognizable as the CBS “eye” but none of them seemed to work that well. They eventually asked for Geisbuhler’s help in the improving of their company logo and needless to say, he was successful in the design redo. The first thing that Geisbuhler noticed was that the logo had too much going on and it needed to be simplified. The company was trying a bit too hard to be distinguishable but just had too many things happening in the logo. The second design had the original peacock, but a large “N” in the background for “NBC”, but Geisbuhler knew it needed to be simplified. This follows his idea that less is more, so he took the original design, and simplified it to express a more direct and less sugar-coated message through the company logo. The most noticeable change is that he changed the number of plumes from eleven to six to symbolize “NBC’s six divisions: News (yellow), Sports (orange), Entertainment (red), Stations (purple), Network (blue), and Productions (green)” [1]. The peacock is subtle however, the only hint that it exists is the little cut away part of the purple plume which is the beak. Another interesting fact is that the peacock is looking to the right, which symbolizes it looking into the future. I think this is an excellent example of how Geisbuhler works his magic by highlighting simplification.


Image 1

Image 2


Discussion — One Response

  • Nicholas Harris 04/22/2019 on 9:35 PM

    A Fun Fact About NBC’s Logo History
    While this is not directly related to Steff Geisbuhler’s work, I do want to add my little nugget of wisdom about a fun fact that I picked up sometime in the last year or two. It’s a pretty notorious part of NBC’s past, but an intriguing one nonetheless. I’m of course talking about the infamous Trapazoid N logo that they used in 1975. According to an article on, The Trapezoid N was “designed by Lippincott & Margulies at a reported cost of $750,000.” However, that wasn’t the final cost. As it turned out there was a nearly identical logo being used by Nebraska’s public television ETV, which prompted the Nebraskan TV station to file a trademark infringement, resulting in NBC giving $800,000 to them as a settlement along with an additional $55,000 to make a new one. In total, this simple logo cost NBC over 1 million dollars, and it was apparently not even worth it as it was mocked mercilessly at the time it was used. The example the article gives is that of the then hosts of Saturday Night Live would mock it during the Weekend update while someone in a big N costume, looking like the Trapezoid N, tap-danced onstage. There would be one other iteration that followed this one, that would incorporate this train wreck of a logo in the 1980s before Steff Geisbuhler saved the day with the iconic logo we all know and love today! SO, it took a while but I managed to bring him up in the end! I think that it is important to look at the history of a company’s past and its really neat to see how they used to brand themselves. I’ve seen some other very drastic brand changes for different companies, products, and services, like Nintendo originally being a producer of hanafuda cards, or how Post had a cereal with a creepy mascot named Krinkles the Clown (look it up you will not be disappointed). I know that this doesn’t really have much to do with Geisbuhler, but what I am getting at is logo and brand iterations are important when making something new for a brand, like how Geisbuhler looked at the original NBC peacock for inspiration when he designed the current Logo.

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