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The Simple Story of WHUP’s Great Letters and Logo 

click to enlarge The Broad behind the Brand: WHUP designer and board member Ellen Steinberg with the irrepressible Frankly.

Photo by York Wilson

The Broad behind the Brand: WHUP designer and board member Ellen Steinberg with the irrepressible Frankly.

The first thing you’re bound to notice when you log onto whupfm.org is its gorgeous logo—due, in large part, to the work of former McKinney creative director and original WHUP board member Ellen Steinberg. To my mind, WHUP has the best logo of any radio station, ever. It’s a perforated can on a microphone stand, a great visual pun that translates immediately. Steinberg worked with designer Matt Trego to develop the logo and brand the station from the start. “I’ll usually start by thinking of adjectives of what the brand should be,” she says. “We wanted to be smart, contemporary, but maybe lean a little towards historic or retro, have some wit.”   The goal was to allude to opening a can of whoop-ass without being too crass about it. She recalls the original board meeting when the members actually decided on the station call letters. “It was probably all of a seven-minute conversation. We each did our research, and every good four letter word for radio is taken,” she says. “But somehow WHUP wasn’t. It was pretty unanimous.” They finished most of the branding long before the station was on the air, which came in handy when asking for support from community businesses. “That was the first thing we needed. Everyone wanted to talk about programming, but we’re having to deal with fundraising and getting the license,” she remembers. “To do all this, we needed a letterhead.” And as far as the continued development of the station’s identity goes, Steinberg says it’s simple: “We’re just trying to keep a certain Whup-ness to everything.”

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