24 May 2004 0 comments. tbs.pm/2024
North of Scotland (originally Northeast Scotland): 1961-2006 (lost identity)
King of the north
Grampian, one of the last stations to be established, had a challenge. The north-east Scotland region it won had a tiny population spread thinly over a huge area, with a disparate, conservative (with a small ‘c’) population to serve.
The station – moulded under the authority of the semi-legendary G E Ward Thomas – managed its brief with distinction and aplomb, mixing a strong sense of Scottish identity with a bright, cosmopolitan outlook.
Its idents, rarely seen outside of its own region, had a particular flair. The black-and-white ident combined images of mountainous countryside with the Cross of St Andrew in an ident that, but for being in monochrome, could still be used today without seeming dated.
The early colour idents made an ATV-style celebration of colour, mixing the primary colours with the saltire again as part of the form up. A later version made even more of colour, using effective and engaging fast-moving ‘fragments’ of the symbol.
The ITV 1989 corporate identity was adopted fully by Grampian and never bettered by any other company who used it. The style won them over so completely, it last almost a decade.
The original Grampian ident, resolving cleverly from mountain peaks into the first symbol – a version of the saltire, Scotland’s flag. STV’s decision to claim the lion rampant as their symbol left the field wide open for Grampian to take a more recognisable symbol of the country.
Another clever ident, and a change of symbol for Grampian, marks the introduction of colour in northern Scotland.
The ATV-style use of all the main colours resolving into the plainer symbol is slightly marred by the mechanical rotation of the company name into view.
Was there ever a good way of doing this?
A riotous and engaging ident for the 1980s from Grampian.
A whole selection of colours and shapes continually form into something resembling the symbol before dashing apart and reforming again.
The performance ends with the disparate sections pulling together and the station’s name appearing in the middle, growing outwards whilst the symbol – altered again in colour to the closest it ever got to the saltire – devours the graphics and forms front-and-centre.
A superb and active ident, with the best rendering of the Grampian musical theme yet, ending with a triumphant flourish.
A flash-forward to the 21st Century. This is one of a series of idents forming into the new “bland” corporate symbol imposed by new owner STV. The problem with idents like this is the difficulty of spotting when the adverts end and the ident starts.
The Grampian break bumper. Obviously someone felt that the current ident package wasn’t quite bland enough, so this break bumper was added to make sure that everyone knew for certain.
In case you can’t see it (and you’re not missing much) its a dream-like hazy version of the new symbol.
To end the bland-fest, the Grampian trailer endboard.
A cautiously plain background, a cautiously plain font and the cautiously plain symbol give you the information but not much else. Better than the network variety, though.
A minimalistic announcement from Grampian, simply stating the name of the station and the fact that it is broadcasting on transmitters of the ITA.
Whilst channel numbers and transmitter names would be out of the question for a company that has so many, the lack of even a mention of the region is interesting, perhaps reflecting on the competition with STV to the south (after all, why exclude those who can get Grampian but don’t feel themselves to be ‘in the north’?).