Pentagram rebrand the Tonight Show

The design agency keeps the moon detailing when updating the long-running talk show’s graphics
The new Tonight Show identity by Pentagram
The new Tonight Show identity by Pentagram

With countless personalities having graced its couch, and many presenters having sat behind its desk, it is hard to think of the Tonight Show, America's longest-running regularly scheduled entertainment program, as having a character of its own.

However, when the leading design agency Pentagram came to rework the show's familiar graphics to mark the arrival of new host, Jimmy Fallon, they found the talk show had a long and storied design history.


The show's old logos
The show's old logos

A crescent moon motif has been a part of the show's logo for over forty years, crowning the titles during Johnny Carson's tenure (1962-1992), dotting the 'i' during the Jay Leno years (1992-2009, 2010-2014), and sitting to one side in for Conan O'Brien's credits (2009-10).

Pentagram’s Emily Oberman oversaw the job, positioning the new Sharp Sans logotype within a full moon, that also doubles-up a theatre spotlight and a full stop. This new logo works both as a plain graphic, but also as more lifelike, photographic representation, when superimposed onto the show's opening credits sequence.

The new Tonight Show identity by Pentagram
The new Tonight Show identity by Pentagram

Fallon's arrival coincides with the show's return to New York, after more than four decades of production in California. Pentagram say that Fallon and his producers wanted an identity that was “fun and contemporary but still had a sense of elegance that conveyed the show’s long history as the gold standard of late night television.”


Looks like they've done it. For more on this go here. For more on Pentagram, take a look at these great books we made with the firm. We also publish some great monographs with the agency's founder, Alan Fletcher.

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