The history of the PBS Kids logo is a long and complicated one. The logo design elements and colors have underwent numerous transformations since it was first displayed in the 1990s. This article will attempt to summarize the PBS Kids logo history, along with the development of the two PBS Kids mascots, Dot and Dash, arguably the most reconizable elements of the current logo.
PBS Kids Logo Design Elements
The main design element of the PBS Kids logo are the PBA Kids mascots, Dot and Dash. However, Dot and Dash weren’t always part of the PBS Kids logo. The very first logo used a version of the regular PBS logo, featuring the stylized P-heads. The three were known as the P-Pals, and they were complete figures, animated by Gene Mackles. Later on, the P-Pals would be dropped from the logo, and for a shortwhile the PBS Kids logo (stylized PBS TV) will look very similar to the regular PBS logo.
In the early 2000s, Dot and Dash make their first appearence and become the iconic PBS Kids logo we know now. One other very important design element in this new logo design is the green circle in the background, and the thought bubble with PBS writtent inside. These background elements are often use to highlight popular PBS characters.
Changes and Evolution
Initially, the PBS Kids logo was no different than the regular PBS logo. This lasted until about 1993, when the network came up with a new logo which they thought would capture the attention of children all over America – and it worked. The logo featured the PBS P-Pals – three anthropomorphic letters P – as well as their pet, P-Pet.
They were temporarily replaced between 1995 and 1997 with a different logo that consisted of a regular PBS head, a letter T made out of P circles, and a V cut out form a teal sheet. They were subsequently replaced between 1997 and 1999 with the slightly modified old logo, this time with one of the P-Pals holding an e/i (educational and informational) balloon.
During this time, several logos featuring the original PBS heads and the words PBS Kids were tried out, but none of them seemed to have the desired reception. Until, that is, 1999 and 2000 came along, changing the face of the PBS Kids logo forever.
The new face of the network actually became two faces – those of Dot and Dash. The two green kids have become the faces most associated with the television channel, as they started appearing in all sorts of short clips and promotional videos. They would go on to develop their own personalities and to go on their own adventures.
This lasted until about 2013, when Dash was removed from any promotional videos. He did remain as part of the PBS Kids logo, although other characters started being featured in his place alongside Dot in commercials and promotional videos. The other characters are Dee and Del. Both the PBS Kids Dot logo and the PBS Kids Dash logo remained mostly the same.
Color and Font
The color and the font have never truly been a relevant issue for the PBS Kids logo. Generally, the PBS name would pop up in regular corporate PBS font alongside the logo. In 2014, however, efforts were made to design a special font for the kids’ TV network.
Designed by Chank Co, the PBS Kids logo fonts were made with fun, friendliness, and family in mind. The cute, goofy logo is meant to suggest feelings of fun and relaxation, as well as wackiness. It is, perhaps, one of the best-designed kids’ fonts out there. So, of course, it is featured on TV, on the network’s website and Facebook page, as well as on pretty much every that features the logo.
As for the color scheme of the PBS Kids logo, it has also changed quite a lot over the years. Initially, up until 1999, the logo contained a wide array of lively, vivacious colors, such as purple, blue, yellow, orange, red, etc. However, starting with 1999, the color scheme has settled on a simpler color scheme – green, black, and white.
The preponderance of green in the logo is meant to inspire feelings of safety, harmony, and energy. While the black and white contrast can also be seen as having its own meaning, the truth is a different one altogether – the company went with a color scheme that would appeal to kids and that would be easily implemented in pretty much any format available.
Inspiration and Trivia
You can still find the P-Pals animated logo online. The P-Pals were inspired by the third incarnation of the PBS logo, one from 1984. The latter incarnation, the one that lasted from 1995 to 1997, was inspired by the second incarnation of the PBS logo, one from 1971.
Two other PBS Kids logos were commissioned to be used for PBS Kids Sprout and PBS Kids Go. The PBS Kids Go logo featured a speech bubble with the channel’s name written inside, as well as commercials urging kids to stay active and get engaged in sports. The PBS Kids Sprout logo, meanwhile, featured a green flower and the word Sprout handwritten in blue paint underneath.