I’m asking this because over the past few days Channel 4 decided that it was better to not have a logo at all, than to have something as a recognisable “4”.
Now, it’s worth pointing out that the number hasn’t gone completely. If you watch the channel in HD then it’s very much present in the corner, but one key thing is that it’s now missing from the channel idents, that’s a huge mistake.
The idents, in case you don’t know, “identify” a channel. It’s why before the news starts on BBC One at 6 O’Clock you can always expect to see those people with kites on the beach, or why BBC Four has a nice relaxing lake before a Scandinavian drama, or why ITV has a dog being washed in a sink for some reason. It sets the mood of the channel. It’s also most importantly the way your viewer knows what channel they’re on (which is arguably unimportant in the age of EPGs), but, it does help you brand your content. It’s the last thing a viewer sees before a programme starts. If you want to be proud of your work, then you will show them the logo of your channel.
The Channel 4 logo is strong and will always be strong. I read in an article during their 2010 refresh that you can even cut the logo in half and it’s still easily recognisable.
Admit it, they cut it in half and you still knew exactly what channel it was.
So, after many years of butchering their logo, having it form slowly (to the point that sometimes you couldn’t actually discern that it was the logo), to cutting it in half, they’ve now finally decided that no logo is the way to go forward.
Great stuff Channel 4, really inventive.
In an article, the creative process is described for how they made this bold decision. It’ll make you weep for humanity, particularly in the context of these “creative” types.
‘Using a 3-D printer in the DBLG office, the designers printed out the blocks in the iconic “4” logo and began throwing them to see how they landed. They ended up using that same method to convey the idea in their client pitch. “We printed out the blocks of the logo and threw them the table and said ‘That’s your logo.’ We picked them up and threw them back down again and said ‘That’s your logo,'” says Gilbert of the original pitch meeting. “It doesn’t matter where they land, it’s all part of the brand and the blocks represent that.”‘
In scenes which make you think of Siobhan Sharpe of PR firm Perfect Curve, you just start to wonder where TV executives are getting their ideas.
The thing is, I actually like the elements of the dismantled logo, seen in this video below until 0:42, I just hate the new idents, which make no sense and are far too pretentious. Why are rocks being thrown into the lake? Why is there a man dressed like a bird twerking? Why have they discovered bits of Channel 4 on rocks and why is an invisible insect trying to eat their delicious bits of logo?
It’s a really stark contrast to the wonderful new Film4 idents which emerged not too long ago. There’s about five different versions of each one beyond that video, each with their own movie references. Excellent work.
But no, Channel 4 has really dropped the ball on this one. If you really hate your logo that much that you don’t want it to be visible anymore, just replace with a nice Helvetica Neue Ultra Light “4” and be done with it.