Francois Cassin – The Future of TV Branding Part 1

April 28, 2015
by Tim Rabjohns

dotmogo is very happy to welcome guest blogger Francois Cassin, Creative Lead for Box Plus  – purveyors of some our best watched music channels on TV like 4Music, Smash Hits, and Kerrang.  In an attempt to have a look at the future of TV branding he has written two posts looking at the history of experimentation of  TV graphics with a view to learning lessons about channel and program branding in our current media multiverse…

Once upon a time, working for television was a bit like being part of a NASA mission to the moon. The technology was in its infancy, creating and watching TV was a big deal.  You had to sit yourself in front of hulk of Bakelite and glass. There weren’t many channels and drama was broadcast live, like a televised theatre.  No catch-up, no re-runs and no computer graphics.  So, when in 1963 the first Doctor Who titles aired, TV seemed to be at the forefront of the cultural avant garde.  While experimenting with visual ‘feedback’, BBC engineers Bernard Lodge, Hugh Sheppard and Norman Taylor created the howlround effect.

That very favorable climate inspired some incredibly talented people to get involved in this exciting medium.  Two of these such creatives were Martin Lambie Nairn and Graham McCallum who created some epoch defining projects.

In terms of channel branding, you can’t really be more iconic than the 1982 Channel 4 logo animation.

We assume that creating 3D moving imagery was quite normal, but it certainly wasn’t back then.  Just to realize how painstaking the process was, let’s have a look at this vintage making of video for the rather fantastic fantastic titles of BBC Riverside made by Graham McCallum.

Experimental TV design wasn’t always about the latest tech. It was sometimes a bit more DIY.  Martin Lambie Nairn also came up with iconic BBC 2 idents which were a were a feast for the eyes.  The possible scenarios for the 2 character seemed endless…

In a slightly less main stream, but no less influential part of the TV-scape MTV launched in 1981. In the original branding package, all the logos looked slightly different and didn’t quite line up. That DIY feel manages to create a unique feel of freshness for the channel that still lives today.  A spirit of Freedom.  Made by fans for fans.

When you look at more traditional TV branding in the same era, things certainly didn’t seem quite as fresh…

The convergence of multiple medias in recent years has created a lot of challenges for people in the branding industry.  All the graphic designers have the same tools and similar looks and a lot of viewers feel that the excessive segmentation of media offering has confused and/or alienated them.  With the advent of YouTube, cheap video equipment and the speed and reach of social media, the DIY, hands on approach to content creation is back with us.

So, could it be that  by adopting a more open minded, ‘home made’ and social media activated approach to TV branding might offer a solution to help audiences rekindle a love for their favourite channels…?  Let’s have a look in the next installment of The Future Of TV Branding…

by Francois Cassin

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