DBLG/SQUA/Brody/Glazer – Channel 4 Idents

October 7, 2015
by Tim Rabjohns

    So, its all about the new Channel 4 rebrand at the moment – and rightly so, as the most innovative of our mainstream channels – it has had a major re-boot, after keeping Brett Foraker’s fours for about a decade.

    This new branding is interesting on several different levels. For a start the ideas and look and feel were a collaboration of not one but five major creative entities – DBLG, Neville Brody, Jonathan Glazer, SQUA – (AKA Steven Qua) and 4Creative.  Secondly – you’d be hard pushed to see the channel name anywhere – which pretty much breaks the rules of all branding briefs I’ve seen.
    Certainly you’ll find a broken pile of blocks that might have come from the original Martin Lambie Nairn 4 in the program junctions, but nothing more obvious than that.  It certainly falls in line with the channel’s remit on creativity and innovation and looks like everyone involved had a lot of fun pulling the original branding apart.

    I spoke to Grant Gilbert at DBLG who, with SQUA  pitched the original idea to Channel 4 in February 2014.  He told me “We printed out the parts from the original Lambie Nairn number four on our 3D printer, and took them with us to the pitch.  Towards the end of the meeting we tipped out the blocks on the table randomly and said  there’s you logo!.  They began to play around with the blocks and I think that helped them visualise the idea.  As far as we were concerned you know what channel you’re watching from the EPG, so we didn’t feel that you needed to hammer it home on screen.”

    Channel 4 rebrand for dotmogo 01“Although we were not directly involved with the shooting of the dents – there is a connection between our blocks.  The idents act as a possible creation story for where the blocks come from – mined out of the ground somewhere – hence the glade of crystals by the waterfall, the boiler suited men sifting in the dirt or the microscopic beast harvesting yet more crsytals.”

    Grant also mentioned that there was lots of collaboration with 4Creative to help get it all signed off.   They have also re-designed the whole news program – which in itself was a three of four month job.

    Here’s a quote from 4Creative heads Chris Bovill and John Allison: “Most TV branding these days is like watching wallpaper. It’s pleasant but gets boring very quickly.  We started with the original, iconic Lambie Nairn 4 logo and broke it down into its constituent parts; the nine blocks. The blocks represent Channel 4’s incredibly diverse qualities.  The blocks are free to demonstrate our remit; to be irreverent, innovative, alternative and challenging. They are free to flow through everything on the channel: our typeface, on-screen menus, on-screen graphics, off-air logo, Channel 4 News, Channel 4 Racing, all the way through to the idents.”

    Channel 4 rebrand for dotmogo 02I’m very happy to report that there was a comment on the Radio Times website underneath their story on the C4 branding which said “ I see no sane creativity” – disruption complete!

    I’d be very interested to know what everybody else thinks…?

    Jake Yapp – who works with Charlie Brooker has done an amusing review of the Channel 4 idents


    And there  are similarly reviews by The

    Independent and a review by It’s Nice That


    Leave a Comment