On the 16th September 2018, both BBC Two and the Channel 4 network unveiled rebrands causing discussions comparing the two. It’s easy to see why this has become a bit of a face-off – two major tv brands, same day, new looks – however, my understanding is that they have different purposes and therefore cannot be compared like for like. Instead of a comparison, here is one designer’s dissection and opinion of each rebrand:

Channel 4

Channel 4 has revealed updated identities for each of their digital channels (More 4, Film 4, 4seven, 4 Music). I presume that this rebrand arose from the feeling that the overarching “4” brand had been lost in the pursuit to give each channel a distinct identity (even though a 4 is already incorporated into each of the channels names).

Whilst the idea of incorporating the iconic ‘blocks’ logo (designed by Lambie-Nairn) into each channel identity is clever, and I understand wanting to highlight the fact that each of these personalities come from the same family, I can’t help but feel they’re all a bit shoehorned. The worst example of this for me is the updated 4seven mark. The way that the 7 has been forced into the side of the 4, makes the mark as a whole feel very overbalanced. I also feel that the rebranding of this particular channel is unnecessary considering Magpie Studio’s version of the logo already incorporated the Lambie-Nairn 4 in a far more successful way.

Typographically, I think that the most successful of the new versions is the Film 4 logo. The two elements sit comfortably together and the two tones allow the user to successfully read “Film 4” rather than “4 film”, unlike the 4 music logo where the dominant pink forces you to read “Music 4”. I’m looking forward to seeing what they come up with for the idents, and how they compare to the current ones (designed by ManvsMachine).

The saving grace of the updated E4 branding, are the eight new opticals that were released alongside, showcasing the mischievous personality that the brand has already established. If 4creative apply the same creativity to opticals for each of the other logos, they may look a little less forced. https://vimeo.com/292020810



BBC Two have rebranded for the first time in 20 years, with the release of 16 new idents. www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUn2wMGzYyk

In contrast to 4’s digital channels, the BBC channel logos are already united with the consistent “BBC” 3 squares mark. What the BBC seems to be lacking, however, is a clear distinction between each channel’s offering, as famously pointed out by Sir David Attenborough. He said of BBC One and BBC Two, that he can no longer tell which channel he is watching, despite their traditionally differing roles. In a move to try and distinguish themselves from the other channels, BBC Two have again, created an eclectic series of idents.

By placing a single restriction on each design (the elongated curve of the 2 that features in the centre of each piece), the rest is left to creativity. This simple form and artistic freedom have provided the opportunity for a huge range of visually stimulating idents that demonstrate their wide variety of creative, but complex content. I think that these new idents are captivating and inspiring. The range of animation used manages to cover all bases in an unforced way – my favourite so far is the fluid animation that looks like both wind-carved rocks and satin, although a close runner-up is the comedic furry creature with gelatinous feet that noisily shuffles around the screen.

As I said before, these rebrands are difficult to compare like for like, as they have different purposes. The success of Channel 4’s rebrand is yet to be seen, and can only really be tested with younger generations who don’t have any affiliation with Channel 4 as it was (with idents made using pylons and Japanese neon signs). Glimpses of success for the BBC Two rebrand, however, can already be seen, with positive responses only really opposed by those of nostalgia. I’m certain that these idents, given time, will generate the same nostalgic response when BBC Two no doubt rebrands again in another 20 years time.

One thing that both rebrands demonstrate, however, is the importance for brands to stay relevant in an increasingly crowded marketplace.