The BBC Logo | 1997 - Present
In the autumn of 1997, Saturday October 4th the BBC introduced a brand new logo to coincide with the launch of the new digital channels. The new logo was designed by Martin Lambie-Nairn the creative solution was to abandon the angled logo in favour of upright boxes, using the classic gill sans typeface and scrap the lines underneath the logo. Lambie-Nairn said, "the slanting logo always looked uncomfortable when used with other BBC brand names. The choice of typeface designed by Eric Gill is particularly appropriate for the BBC. The sculptured panels and Prospero and Ariel statue which adorn Broadcasting House were created by Gill in the 1930s. And by choosing a typeface that has stood the test of time, we avoid the trap of going down a modish route that might look outdated in several years time."
The cost of changing the logo was estimated at £1.7m a year over a three year implementation period. Director of corporate affairs Coline Browne said, "A number of factors combined to make this the right time to review the BBC's corporate identity. The existing logo doesn't work well on screen, and designers have always found it difficult to apply... We had to get this right before we launched our new digital services, and create a blueprint which can be applied easily and cost-effectively to a range of services in the future. Also in an increasingly crowded market place, we needed to make sure that the BBC is clearly branded and that we get credit for what we do. Research showed that large sections of the audience did not understand that the programme they enjoyed were produced by the BBC and funded by the licence fee... The greater simplicity of the logo, a reduction in the number of colours and its ease of application on screen will mean significant savings. Our target is to fully recoup the cost of these changes over eight years and we are determined to achieve that." (quotes taken from BBC internal memo 14/05/97)
Talking about the old logo Dave Howe, creative director in TV Promotions said, "It was not designed with today's screen uses in mind. In Presentation, where we use it more than anybody else, it has been a real problem... Reduced in size, the fine coloured lines underneath the boxes disappear, and so do the counters (the little bits in the middle of the letters)." Ethan Ames, Head of Graphic Design also said, "Diagionals are one of the worst shapes to deal with on screen, because the pixels which create the colours are lined up in rows and columns, like boxes in a crossword puzzle. Diagonal lines do not fit naturally into the arrangement, they start stepping, which means we have to anti-alias them [a method of filling in the pixels around the original shape in a softer colour to give the impression of a smoother line] (quotes from Ariel October 1997)
Artwork guidelines for the BBC logo
Examples of the BBC logo in print and across other media.