by Wesley Cannon
It's fair to say that the recent refresh of the BBC corporate identity has split opinions, with some citing it as a much-needed modernisation, and others disregarding it as a waste of money. We thought we'd wade into the debate with a few thoughts on the subject from our Director, Wesley Cannon.
You’re never going to please everybody. There will always be people for and against change. The level of change can vary based on a company’s change of mandate, structure and operations. Personally, I believe change is good for brands. It allows them to address the company evolution, move with the times and stay in touch with their audience, finding the right brand positioning. To the general audience, it may appear very little has changed from the old logo to the new version. Yet, many subtle changes have been made to redefine a new contemporary look for the BBC monogram logo. The original logo mark is very distinctive, conservative and trusted, so it is important to uphold the integrity of these values when considering an update for the new logo.
I like that they have reverted to using their BBC-owned font Reith, named after the BBC’s founder John Reith, which is a core element that gives the logo part of its distinctive character. The reduction of font size within the box brings better balance and spacing, which appears to make the font more pronounced. The spacing is also reciprocated between the blocks to demonstrate a fine composition. I feel the new logo comes across as more professional, reserved and a little more sophisticated. The typography appears a little more condensed with the shortened lines and curves of the typeface. Being a worldwide broadcaster it makes sense to create a coherent family of contemporary logo marks to represent the junctions between TV programmes.
The use of geometric shapes, colours, forms and gestural marks play well to capture each topic’s movement, form, and character. The font marries well with the geometric shapes, maintaining the consistency of tight kerning and ever-so-slight rounded corners. The uppercase font is bold, clean and not too stylised to maintain legibility. Overall the logos feel very contemporary and appropriate to their topic, each one is very distinctive and prioritises legibility; steering away from the subjective approach and focusing on functionality.
I believe change is good for brands. It allows them to address the company evolution, move with the times and stay in touch with their audience.”
The only critique I have is that, although not exactly coherent, the prior TV programme logos embodied unique traits (colours, typography, symbols, layout and spacing) to express themselves and relate to their audience. There is also a small issue with continuity regarding the application of geometric shapes. While some logo marks feature the same shape throughout, others are a little playful and the shapes vary. We understand the gestural mark it represents but would have liked to have seen this consistency applied to all the symbols.
Overall I think this is a positive step in the evolution of the BBC brand and demonstrates that they are trying to keep pace with the demands that consumers and technology place on a brand. Good work Auntie!