The anti-globes 

1 June 2002 tbs.pm/1814

The BBC replaced the globe with dancers – but will, asks Ian Beaumont, the new look be as impressive and memorable as what went before?

On Good Friday 2002, BBC One officially unveiled its new look idents on a public that had been expecting them ever since Lorraine Heggessey made a statement saying that she would be getting rid of the balloons.

The new look launched with eight “lifestyle” idents, featuring various dances of the world in different locations around the UK.

The new idents follow a recent trend in branding to move away from central symbols and single idents, towards greater symbolism and variety of idents. In effect, the new logo is basically the white BBC One in the red box.

This also is a reflection of another fashion to use typefaces rather than graphics as the main identity. This habit can be spotted in most ITV1 idents and in most of Sky’s channel idents.

Another thing to note is that the box logo look has been imported from BBC Two and BBC Four, and that on those channels, the box logo is used not just in idents, but in programme promotions and channel promotions.

The BBC One box logo will be used in a similar fashion. Some have suggested that a move such as this is dangerously blurring the lines between idents, programme promotions and channel promotions. It is also said that the lack of a consistent symbol shows a lack of identity for the channel.

The box logo is being seen as an extension of the on screen graphic that is usually fixed permanently in the corner of almost all digital TV channels.

Critics claim that too much faith is being put into this idea, and its time to look again at the effectiveness as a branding tool that these kinds of permanent on screen logos have in marketing a channel.

Observers are also suggesting that the BBC will have to update their look more often because of the lack of identity.

However fans of the new look point out that the new idents are energetic and vibrant, giving the channel a distinctly contemporary feel, saying that the globe was seen as old fashioned and out of touch with modern television.

The new look provides a more modern, energetic and progressive style, while at the same time showing the channel still is recognisable, familiar and has wide appeal to all kinds of viewers.

Will these idents become as popular as the balloon ones? In an ever growing, ever changing multichannel world, whether these new idents will ever truly replace the globe that has been part of BBC One’s iconography for almost 40 years is something that will be closely watched by media analysts.

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