Thursday, 3 October 2013

channel 4 ident history

channel 4 ident history

On the 5th of November this year Channel 4 will be 25 years old, as part of the celebrations, C4 is screening some of the classic programmes that made the channel famous – and infamous – on C4, More4 and they’re also all available for free for a month on 4oD. We’ve also constructed a special 50ft 4 outside Horseferry Road, but more on that later. First, let’s have a look at how that 4 has changed throughout the years.
First up, the classic multicoloured 4 that the channel launched with and kept for over 13 years. It worth noting the choice of colours, which as the widget on this page demonstrates make up the light that comes from your TV. Red, blue and green, and then purple from red and blue and yellow from red and green. Of course if you add all three together you get white… but more on that later. If you look at late 70s and early 80s TV sets from makers such as PYE you see their logo often features the primary colours, the take up for colour sets back then, indeed technology in general, wasn’t as fast as it is today, and the bright new channel no doubt wanted to show if its full glorious colour credentials.

The original exploding then reassembling motion was called ’round and back’, (see it in motion
here) accompanied for most of those 13 years by David Dundas’ (now Lord Dundas) iconic Fourscore theme tune, which was actually four minutes long – though only the final few note made up the piece that went over the ident. Dundas retained the copyright to the ‘parps’, and at £3.50 for each use, the Channel was reputedly paying him over £1000 a week for ten or so years, nice work if you can get it Dave. There’s a nice non-youtube history of the logo’s here at TV Twirl as well as loads on youtube.
The Channel 4 logo’s always been up for customisation and alteration, or what nowadays would be described as a mash-up. Here’s a Hamlet cigar parody of it which appears genuine, but I can’t find any credible info in it. In the early days the logo was adapted for special programmes, especially the alternative sports brought to the UK in the late 80s and early 90s. Below are the idents that preceeded coverage of Sumo, NFL football and Football Italia.

 There was also a Horse racing one, that turned the logo on it’s side to look like a horses head complete with bridal, but I couldn’t find that one. It’s strange that nearly all the sports got custom logos, with the exception of that Mongolian horseback game which used to use a goats head, and of course Kabaddi – the Indian breath-holding game of tig/British Bulldog. An episode of Kabaddi is available on 4oD. I remember watching the sumo coverage and loving the ceremony behind it all. Of course channel 4 doesn’t really cover minority sports anymore which is perhaps a shame as it introduced teh UK to some really interesting alternatives. There was a move in the early 90s to what was called the ‘Tapping’ campaign, which saw different people tap the screen, the multicoloured block logo is still present in the corner however. This ran for 15 months and from ’93 onward featured our on screen talent… and zig and zag.As well as sports, the logo has been transformed for one off special weekends and seasons. Here’s one from the mid 90s for Sci-Fi weekend.

 It’s interesting in that it features the exterior of the Horseferry Road headquaters, completed in 1994, which the channel probably wanted to show off. Even our own website describes it as being in one of the more
charmless parts of Westminster. One of the urban myths around Channel 4 is that the Richard Rogers ‘owns’ the copyright to images of the building, much like the city of Paris ‘owns’ the copyright to shots of the Eiffel tower at night.I wonder if this is true?
Eventually in 1996 after paying Dundas a ton of cash rather than perhaps buying the score outright in the first place, the channel evolved the logo and score away from the iconic 3D blocks and into what was called ‘Connections’. This was produced by the design agency Tomato, and met with general apathy. It is perhaps the design equivalent of a second album.

 It’s main contribution however was knocking the colours from the logo, as perhaps now colour didn’t need trumpeting quite so much as it did in the early 80s. The circles were displayed in various combinations, sometimes forming a four, sometimes not. It also introduced the idea of a back ground scene of modern Britain, though a guy washing his car was a bit dull.

But who’s this future teen popstar and time traveller? Why it’s a very young Billy Piper in a ident for 4Schools from the mid 90s.It was soon replaced in 1999 by ‘Bars’ which has tonal bars shifting around over a white inverted four tile.

 By 2002 the bars had evolved to be things like areoplane trails and such. Also the web address appears directly under the tile.
Here’s an interesting one from TV Twirl that preceeded childrens cartoons in the morning. And here’s a Christmas one that went in front of Children’s drama – Dinotopia. Also at Chirstmas channel 4 asked B3TA do design/mash up/fuck with it’s logo, and here’s the results.
It’s worth noting that ‘Bars’ started the whole thing of placing the 4 tile on the left in the middle, and in the middle is where the logo appears to this day, on stationary, staff passes as well as on air.
On December 31st 2005 the Channel launched it’s current set of ‘drive by’ idents.

As well as a bowling one, hay bales, flats, market. etc (all on Flickr and youtube) In a way I feel these are a combination of a return to the exploded 4 mixed with the scene from somewhere background that was first put forward in Connections in ’96. The drive by implies that there’s many view points on a subject, but at one point and one point only there’s the Channel 4 one. And that’s our remit really, to approach subjects in a Channel 4 way, and offer a different viewpoint. Channel 4′s 25 now, it was once fresh, young and crazy, it’s grown up now, it’s part of the broadcasting establishment. What’s more it’s had kids, tearaway E4 and clever clogs More4, as well as its online and +1 services. I think they’re all on their way to standing on their own two feet. So where next for 4? Well, Kevin Lygo’s outlined what he sees as the future at Edinburgh, and it’s downsizing, back to smaller more interesting things perhaps?

What’s certainly not small, but is interesting is the 50ft high exploded 4 now standing outside Horseferry Road. It was unvailed last week by Culture Minister Margaret Hodge and will feature the work of three artist, Nick Knight, who work adorns it now, El Anatsui and Mark Titchner. I’ve been working with marketing on putting a webcam in the Greycoat hospital school opposite. You can watch a timelapse construction of it here and see the live webcam here . Anyway here’s some images of the launch.

I got this information from (

20) final logo justification

final logo justification

My final logo fits in really well with the brand. This final logo really represents the brand well due to the colour choice and the use of circles. I decided to stick to the colour scheme of red in my final logo because red is the colour that represents the brand and fits in well with the target audience because it is appealing to everyone and isn't offensive. I decided to incorporate the circle idea used in the BBC One idents by adding multiple rings. The circles represent the idea of everyone being equal and becoming one. Coming away from just red and white I decided to add a black background because it really emphasises the red and the white font allowing the viewers to remember it. This logo will fit in well with the rebrand of the channel because it isn't a really big change that people wont like as I have stuck to the colour scheme and made the logo a bit more fun and more recognizable.

8) channel logo analysis

channel logo analysis

In the BBC One logo the primary colour is red. Red is the colour that represents BBC One because it fits in well with the target audience which is everyone. Red is appealing to everyone which makes it fit in with the target audience and it also has a warm feeling to it attracting the target audience. The typography used in the BBC One logo is serif because of the little flick on the letter N. this type of font is more appealing to the older generation because it is more sophisticated. There is no imagery used in the BBC One logo at all which makes the logo plain and simple.

In the ITV 2 logo the primary colour used a bright vibrant pink. This is a colour that really stands out and is very eye catching and fun. This colour is very appealing to the channels target audience which is the younger generation. The typography in the ITV 2 logo is serif which which is very appealing. This font is sophisticated and brings some maturity to the channel and the logo. There is no imagery used in this logo which makes it a very simple logo.
In the e4 logo purple is the primary colour that represents the channel. This bright purple fits in well with the target audience because it is appealing to the younger generation as it is bright, fun and eye catching. The typography used in the e4 logo is sans serif because there is no flicks coming off the letter E. This logo is clever because the letter E is embedded in to the 4. This logo also uses white which is a plain boring colour. White is used so that the logo colour isn't over the top. There is no imagery used in this logo.

13) ident analysis

ident analysis
A TV ident is a short visual image employed between television programmes that works as a logo to locate the viewer to the channel. Viewers remember certain channels just because of their idents. Idents are made to appeal to the channels target audience increasing the amount of viewers the channel gets.

BBC One scape:
This TV ident starts off with a close up on a bike wheel and starts to slowly zoom out revealing a person riding the bike with a rain coat on with rain pouring on them. At the beginning the ident is very dark and gloomy, but then starts to lighten up as the rain stops and more people on bikes are introduced. As the ident becomes more bright and less gloomy the music in the background starts to lighten up and become more cheery and has a summery vibe to it. Typography is used in this ident which is the BBC One logo itself. The logo is revealed in the roundabout towards the end because it makes the viewers have to wait to see what channel this ident is representing. This ident uses many camera angles and camera views such as a birds eye view. This ident lasted for 36 seconds which is long for an ident, I think that longer idents start to tell a little bit of a story which engages the audience. This ident doesn't use any animation or CGI as it is all real footage. BBC One doesn't have a specific target audience, we can see this in the ident as it is very simple, but clever at the same time. The ident also used a lot of colours which also makes it more appealing to the younger generation. The screen tempo in this ident was slow, but sped up a little bit towards the end. The ident does interact with the viewers because they have to watch and see how the circle is going to be made. This ident is for entertainment, but also includes some information such as scheduling which is done via voice to let the viewers know which programme is on next.

e4 beach:
This TV ident for e4 is made using stop motion animation. This ident is based on a beach theme and uses a lot of vibrant colours that stand out. The main colour used is a bright vibrant purple which is the colour that represents the brand. There is a lot going on in this ident that doesn't make sense and is very random. The ident starts as a rubber dinghy moving along the sand with animated animals inside, fishing from the boat. One of the animals then falls off into the sand and in the background while all this is happening a variety of different things that don’t have much relation to each other or to the advert are happening. There is a TV playing, a hamper basket and picnic laid out on the floor, a deck chair which then gets pulled away by some purple tentacles and then two hairdressing chairs. The e4 sign then comes up from the ground, created by flowers. There is no typography used in this logo except from when the logo is shown. This ident really represents the company well as is very appealing to the target audience which is the younger generation. This is appealing because of the bright colours used and the fact that it is random and doesn't make sense. there is a lot of animation used in this ident. The screen tempo in this ident is slow, but at the same time there is a lot happening which appears to make the ident look faster than is actually is because there is always something to look at. there is music playing throughout the ident which is a childish nursery rhyme kind of music. This ident is purely for entertainment and interacts with the viewers because there is so much to look at.

Nickelodeon logo:
 The ident is very simple as all that is involved is the Nickelodeon logo. They start by showing close ups of the letters all squashed down, pinging up almost in a play dough like way. The camera then zooms out to show the Nickelodeon logo in orange, against a plain white background. The only typography included is the logo and because of the channel being for children they have created there ident in quite a child like way by making it look as though the letters are made out of plasticine. The logo is also in orange, and Nickelodeon are known for always using orange as there own recognisable branding technique. It’s a very bright colour that stands out, especially against the white background. I think they could of made this ident a little more arresting by involving some more visuals and to make it a little longer, however it could still have its advantages of being simple as the channel is for children so they would want them to understand it. There isn’t any music or sound in the background which I think would definitely make it more intriguing to watch, it’s definitely one of the most simple and in incomplex indents I have seen. The ident is also only eight seconds long but it have been any longer, then I think they would have put more visuals and sound on screen so I think the timing is perfect for what they are showing on screen. I think the target audience for this ident is 7-12 male and female. This is because the programmes on this channel are aimed towards children, so it’s likely that they will be the ones watching it. They have branded there channel well because the whole ident is based around there logo.

12) Logo Presentation