Posted in Typeface, Visual Language

BBC One – Fontsmith

Overview

The challenge was designing a unique logotype and typeface that would appeal to such a diverse audience and still convey the traditional BBC One image, but with an element of freshness in the brand.

Brief
The BBC’s flagship television channel, BBC One, and creative services company, Red Bee Media asked Fontsmith to work alongside them in creating a unique on-screen identity for the new BBC One channel brand.

The BBC needed a strong yet respectful typographic identity that was respectful of content, would appeal to a diverse audience (pre-schoolers to the elderly) and convey the traditional qualities of the BBC One image. As you would expect in a rebranding project, the new typeface was also intended to bring a harmonious freshness to the identity.

Solution
We began by developing the new logotype, which was based around Red Bee Media’s proposed concept of making strong circular impressions onscreen through the channel idents and end-boards. By incorporating this concept into our typeface design, a strong visual unity was formed.

Our initial explorations were too geometric; we had to stop the circular letterforms from looking too hard or cold. Instead, we developed the impression of a circle with a slightly square edge to it and then incorporated a small kick on the down strokes of the stemmed letters such as the ‘n’. Visually, this gave the logo and eventual typeface the contemporary feel that was needed but also made the font look that bit warmer in tone.

Effectiveness / Benefits / Experience
The role of rebranding with the new typeface reflects BBC One’s continued investment in programming content. The new typeface makes this investment visible to the viewing public.

“In an increasingly competitive marketplace a channel needs to stand out from the crowd and I believe our new identity is just what’s needed for BBC One.” — Peter Fincham, BBC One Controller

Also the beauty of a corporate typeface is that no other brand elements are required to aid recognition. A typeface can become synonymous with a brand in itself, and that is a very powerful and subliminal branding tool.

“We got Fontsmith involved when we started designing the logo, so it was integral they worked on the fonts to match the logo. I had also worked with Jason in the past so I knew he had TV experience and was more than capable of doing the project to a great end result.” — Grant Gilbert, Red Bee Media

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