• Transform magazine
  • March 28, 2017

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Power of (BBC) Three

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A bold move in February 2016 saw BBC Three become the first major online-only channel. While this move signalled a rebrand, the channel has once again made changes to its visual identity. Now BBC Three hopes its refreshed brand design will make an even bigger impact, in the face of online competition and channels targeted towards it teenage and young professional audience.

BBC Three began life as a broadcast channel in 2003. In the face of spiralling costs and increasing pressure on the corporation to provide high-quality entertainment across all outputs, the decision was made to transfer BBC3 to its current home – online. With a budget cut of £85mn to £25mn, 2016 saw the origin of some of the BBC’s most successful breakthrough programmes, such as Gavin & Stacey, available mainly through BBC iPlayer.

Speaking to the BBC in November 2015, BBC trustee Suzanna Taverne, says, "The decision to close a TV channel is a difficult one, and one we have not taken lightly. [But] the evidence is very clear that younger audiences are watching more online and less linear TV."

And this shift from broadcast to online signalled the need for a digital-first approach. London-based creative brand agency, Studio Output, optimised the current BBC Three brand offering to ensure it is social-first. This allowed the channel’s variety of expressions to permeate across all BBC Three’s online touchpoints, while ensuring its identity remains diverse enough to communicate effectively across social media.

Studio Output says, “The BBC Three brand needs to thrive while promoting a wealth of material in social environments. We set straightforward guidelines for the existing brand typeface, layout and framing. These distinctive elements help BBC Three to gain attribution for its fantastic content.”

BBC Three’s ties to its original BBC identity remain. Yet its unique design now retains enough flexibility to allow the mood of the advertised programme to come to the fore. Studio Output has ‘liberated’ the BBC Three logo from its stamp to ensure applicability in a broader marketing strategy.

The agency has also made use of the ‘tricon’ logo, the design for which was developed during BBC Three’s transition online.

On its website, Studio Output says, “The [BBC Three] identity was originally created by Red Bee in 2016, with several logo versions for different uses. We simplified these, freeing the logo from its retaining ‘stamp’ device in BBC environments. Supporting the BBC Three pink with a bright secondary palette provides flexibility for different content.”