CBS‘s Eye logo, one of the best-crafted, most identifiable and most successful corporate symbols in history, turns 60 tomorrow. One of America’s most enduring icons, the Eye was first introduced to the public during the Network’s station breaks on Saturday, Oct. 20, 1951, and CBS is commemorating the anniversary on-air and on CBS.com and CBSNews.com.
“From the Network to the Corporation, the CBS Eye is an enduring asset of our company and a major source of pride for all of us,” said Leslie Moonves, President and CEO, CBS Corporation. “It is a corporate logo that is known and respected all around the world, and continues to be a fitting symbol of CBS’s proud history and ongoing leadership.”
Tomorrow, CBS.com is replacing its homepage’s current – and prominently placed – CBS Eye with the original Eye logo. Users hovering over it will see a brief explanation of its significance, and clicking on it will direct them to a classic Charles Osgood story about the creation and history of the CBS Eye. CBSNews.com will also run the Osgood story, and users on both CBS.com and CBSNews.com can view photo essays of the Eye logos throughout the decades. Kicking off the primetime schedule tomorrow at 8:00 PM, ET/PT, the Network will broadcast an on-air spot showcasing the various CBS Eye logos throughout the years and highlighting the significance of today’s date. Additionally, a Network ID featuring the original CBS Eye and date the Eye was established will be shown at the top of each of the following two hours of primetime.
In the Eye’s original animated incarnation, its center was a camera iris that opened and shut, and the first still version set the Eye against a background of clouds. Over the years there have been different colors and sizes of the Eye, but to this day, the perfectly-balanced design remains unchanged.
By 1951, CBS Television had seized the broadcasting spotlight. That year, the Network debuted the immensely popular “I Love Lucy” and launched CBS’s first news documentary series, the critically-acclaimed “See It Now” hosted by the legendary Edward R. Murrow. That same year, CBS President Frank Stanton felt the time had come to give CBS Television a distinct and distinctive identity, so he asked creative director Bill Golden to design an on-air symbol. Golden’s inspiration came while driving through Pennsylvania Dutch country. He became intrigued by the hex symbols resembling the human eye that are drawn on Shaker barns to ward off evil spirits. He also came across a drawing he admired, that had the look of an eye, in a publication featuring Shaker art. With the help of graphic artist Kurt Weihs, the Eye logo was created.
As the image became established, Stanton was determined to keep the CBS Eye in the public eye. He had the clouds removed and emblazoned the symbol on cameras, curtains, buildings, jewelry and rate cards. The next season, when Bill Golden prepared to design a new symbol, Stanton overruled him, saying: “Just when you’re beginning to be bored with what you’ve done is when it’s beginning to be noticed by your audience.”
Decades later, the Eye continues to receive critical acclaim. On Dec. 13, 1998, it was featured in The New York Times Magazine’s roundup of the century’s “greatest design hits,” and a “Company Logo Smackdown” in the May 5, 2008 issue of Fortune magazine stated “CBS’s logo is as relevant today �as the day [in 1951] it was introduced.'” Most recently, the March 14, 2011 issue of TIME ran a story about the evolving logos of many corporations through the decades, stating “…in the case of CBS, sometimes companies get it right the first time.”
via CBS Press Release