Graphic shows the new Tubi chunky yellow lowercase wordmark, set against a purple background

Tubi’s refresh evokes a rabbit hole of entertainment

The ad-supported streaming service has revealed a new visual and sonic identity that captures the brand’s eccentric character

Described by Vulture as “Netflix’s geekier, freakier, and totally free rival”, Tubi is a free ad-funded streaming platform that’s won over the internet – or at least culture journalists – of late. TV and movie fans in north and central America might already be familiar with the service, which according to the New York Times is home to typical Hollywood fare as well as an eclectic mix of Z-list productions, from “slasher films” to “poorly dubbed martial arts flicks”.

Or perhaps the name rings a bell because of its double bill of Super Bowl ads in 2023. One of the spots saw Tubi prank millions of viewers by launching an ad that appeared to cut off Super Bowl coverage and navigate to the Tubi app.

The other was an important signal of the brand’s next chapter. The Donnie Darko-esque advert showed human-sized rabbits wrestling people from their everyday lives and dumping them down a rabbit hole, which is the sensation it hopes to recreate with its new brand positioning and identity refresh led by DixonBaxi.

Armed with a new set of brand values, DixonBaxi worked with Tubi to translate these into design principles that revolve around being bold, familiar (meaning inviting, rather than predictable), and unexpected in terms of how it comes across, explains Tubi’s VP of design, Simone Magurno.

Graphic showing chunky uppercase letterforms set in the new typeface, which was created for the new Tubi branding
Graphic showing the chunky typeface designed as part of the new Tubi branding

The new identity includes a chunky, lowercase wordmark in which the tittle of the ‘i’ has been shunted over to the crossbar of the ‘t’. The wordmark has been designed in the brand’s punchy palette of Hello Yellow and Turple – that is, Tubi Purple – with images showing how the specific shades can be adapted for different touchpoints. These will be reflected across the redesigned app UI and website, which also feature a fresh suite of symbols to signpost different sections of the experience.

“I think it’s very hard for brands in 2024 just to own one single colour, but a combination can be really recognisable and also really differentiating,” says DixonBaxi’s Harry Ead.

A new typeface has also been designed called Tubi Stans – the name nodding to the idea of “being a mega fan”, Ead explains – which comes with alternate glyphs and “bespoke kerning pairs where it makes everything feel really tight and chunky and emboldened”. The brand has also introduced a vocal sonic identity that has a swinging rhythm in tandem with the pendulum-like logo animation, which will play together during the app startup.

“A really big part of creating that welcoming moment was the sonic branding, and I think it’s something that we wanted to talk about specifically,” says Ead. “It was a great opportunity to break away from some of the tropes of streaming audio branding, maybe some of the abstract percussion, cinematic grandeur and create something that feels really warm, human and welcoming.”

Though the service is restricted in Europe, Tubi has extended its reach to a handful of countries in north and central America. All the while it’s making gains in the US – in January, it recorded a 1.5% share of total TV viewing – particularly among younger audiences who are either moving away from, or have never had, cable television. According to the brand, these kinds of viewers make up 63% of its audience.

“Our viewership growth is strongest with young, multicultural audiences and they love Tubi for the rabbit holes, the nostalgia and the content they can’t get anywhere else,” said Nicole Parlapiano, CMO at Tubi. “In this new brand system, we wanted to give them a fun, bold and engaging platform, that remains frictionless and 100% free, to indulge in the content that reflects their passions.”

The brand’s new tagline is ‘See You In There’, which builds on the concept of the rabbit hole as a destination for likeminded viewers to plunge into. “It puts the viewer at the centre and brings them into our service with a really welcoming tone,” Magurno tells us. “But it also speaks to advertisers … to come in and join the party as well.”;