• Transform magazine
  • December 12, 2019

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Channel 4's new identity

  • Channel 4.jpg
  • Channel 4 blocks.jpg
  • Channel 4 ident.jpg
  • Channel 4 programming.jpg

Channel 4’s in-house creative team, 4Creative handed design agencies SQUA and DBLG the overwhelming task of refreshing the UK television broadcaster’s much-loved brand. The result is Channel 4’s first new identity in ten years.

The Channel 4 brand was defined as original, alternative, innovative, surprising and bold, and the new brand elements aim to reflect those qualities. The complete overhaul includes idents, fonts and a 3D interpretation of Channel 4’s classic 4 logo, originally designed by Lambie Nairn.

The new brand is very real and tactile in the hope that this will differentiate it from its largely CGI-led competitors. Scenery and natural sounds and rhythms are a major influence. Surreal idents, filmed by Jonathan Glazer, an English filmmaker, demonstrate how the natural world and its oddities sit with the 3D logo components. The deconstructed blocks are also buried within the two new fonts designed by Neville Brody, an English graphic designer, typographer and art director. The new fonts have been named Chadwick and Horseferry after the streets where the Channel 4 offices sit. The fully constructed ‘4’ logo will not appear on air.

Pippa Nordberg, strategy director at LPK, says, “Because the identity has remained unchanged for over 30 years it has built up a lot of equity and awareness – which actually gives it permission to ‘play’ in certain spaces – such as the idents, which are designed to add interest during viewing. When Coca-Cola created their logo-less Ramadan cans, which were used to promote the idea of a “world without labels”, it proved that a brand that is widely known and immediately recognisable can change a lot and still remain on equity.”

When television broadcasters rebrand (as with ITV last year) the challenge is to embody the channel’s unique characteristics, while remaining flexible enough to be applicable across a wide range of programming that crosses genres and target audiences.

 

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