Artsd: TRICKS OF THE TRADE; 7: HOW TO REDESIGN THE BBC'S IDENTITY

MARTIN LAMBIE-NAIRN Creative Director, Lambie-Nairn @ The Brand Union; responsible for the BBC's new look
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The Independent Culture
People think that designing a company's identity is about coming up with clever ideas to do with logos, but the first part of any project is research. For the BBC, we had to understand who the channels were supposed to be speaking to and the problems with their existing identity. The idea is to create a language and a system that can be adapted and used infinitely by a company's own design team.

For BBC2, we had a channel with a product that was unpredictable and aimed at a particular audience. Sadly, it was perceived as rather dull and worthy, and its identity seemed to reinforce these perceptions. Our job was to get perceptions in line with the actual product, and to find reference-points that might ring bells. To keep up with the channel's unpredictability, we decided to have several 2s doing a variety of things. The target audience was arts-oriented, so we hoped they'd understand the beauty of the paint hitting the 2.The razor-sharp 2 coming down was macabre but again, we felt the audience would understand. We kept to specific colour schemes, then later decided that they were a little on the cold side.

For BBC1 we already had an image to work with. BBC1 traditionally has a globe as its "property", and we didn't want to throw that out. It is rather an imperial symbol, so we wanted to use it another way. So we created a huge hot-air balloon - reflecting our nation's monumental structures - that could bring the world to every corner of the UK. We designed the balloon itself, commissioned it to be made and then filmed it.

After the launch of any identity, it is important to research the response. Each BBC redesign came back with a distinctly emotional response. It's amazing how much people notice.

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