The full name BET has nothing to do with gambling and stands for Black Entertainment Television. This is a paid channel with specific content aimed at African Americans. It was founded by the philanthropist, media mogul, and America’s first black billionaire Robert Louis Johnson. He left his main job to create a cable network for people who belonged to his ethnic-racial group. Then the entrepreneur sold the company to media conglomerate Viacom, which led him to fame and success, making him one of the richest people in the United States.
Meaning and History
BET appeared in 1980, but only in 1983 became a full-fledged channel. It was a short block of programs containing sitcoms with black characters and African American artists’ clips for the first three years. Despite the limited broadcast time, Black Entertainment Television’s network has been on a par with other organizations. Even then, she had her recognizable symbol, which became the basis for all subsequent logos.
The graphic sign was created by Cheryl D. Holmes Miller, who advocated for racial and gender equality in design. She believed that black specialists have a great advantage over whites: they can fulfill orders for people of any ethnicity. Therefore, Cheryl was eager to design logos for companies owned by African Americans. By the way, she was white, unlike her father and many relatives.
In the 1980s, a woman founded the studio Cheryl D. Miller Design Inc. and went on to create a corporate identity for Fortune 500 companies, including BET. So many of the emblems of this channel are her merit.
1980 – 1989
In 1980, Robert Louis Johnson launched the long-titled cable network: Black Entertainment Television. This phrase was presented on the logo (below, in small print) and supplemented by the abbreviation “BET” (above, in large letters). On the left was the original symbol of a black five-pointed star and a stylized “B” in white.
Cheryl D. Holmes Miller designed the logo and wordmark. She was asked to do so by Robert Johnson himself, who came to her to share his vision of a cable network for African Americans. For the work done, the designer received only $ 125.
1989 – 2001
The logo design changed in 1989. The company removed its full name and merged the abbreviation with the letter “B.” An unusual stylization replaced the standard serif: “B” looked like two joined semicircles and was painted in solid black, while “E” was replaced by three wide horizontal lines, one of which turned into a “T” in the form of a furniture leg. The star has turned white and has a black outline with clipped corners.
2001 – 2005
In 2001, Robert Johnson sold his business to media conglomerate Viacom and became a $ 3 billion fortune. As a result, BET lost its status as a black channel but retained its logo. The designers only slightly corrected the shape of the letters and made the star pointed. The lines are smoother, and the bottom-right corner “T” has been rounded.
2005 – 2011
After Johnson left office, Debra L. Lee took over the leadership position. The staff reshuffle coincided with Black Entertainment Television’s 25th anniversary, so the network not only has a new CEO but a completely different logo. The concept has remained old, which cannot be said about its implementation. In this version, the star was not on the left inside “B,” but on the right, against a blank white background. At the same time, its contour has become much wider.
The lettering has gotten a more readable look: at least the designers have completed the letters “B,” “E,” and “T” with missing elements. It is a collaboration between Click 3X and Push Creative.
2011 – 2021
In 2011, the star turned as black as in the classic version used in 1980-1989. The abbreviation design has not changed: the letters, as before, are interconnected and look unusual.
The BET graphic mark is the result of the work of Cheryl D. Holmes Miller. True, the modern version appeared after a small revision, to which the designers from Click 3X and Push Creative were involved. They retained the basic elements (the five-pointed star and the abbreviated channel name), presenting them in a completely new perspective.
The lettering combines corners and rounds – two opposites that together create a movement effect. In this case, the upper right corner “T” in shape echoes the star, linking the abbreviation and the graphic symbol. The typeface is unlike any other – the designers used their modification of the grotesque typeface.
The main color is black, which is quite logical given the directionality of the channel. White against the background only creates the necessary contrast.
2021 – today
This is the first logo modified because earlier versions consisted of single lettering, and now it is located in two rows. Above are the first two letters (BE), below – the third (T) with a five-pointed star. Unlike previous years, the modern version is typed in a geometric font. The letters are so even that they resemble squares with slots in the places of the in-letter gaps. The typeface is changed and echoes the stencil-style typeface. This is Custom – a flat sans serif with wide letters. The author of the updated version is Sibling Rivalry studio. This emblem first appeared in the summer of 2021.
Font and Colors of the Emblem
For the logo in use today, the designers opted for a custom typeface with chunky and bold sans serif characters. But the color palette has been preserved: the combination of black and white still prevails in the logo. The first is a square background; the second is an inscription and a star.