BBC Sport rebrands, dropping “100-year-old” typeface for bespoke one

The BBC has ditched Gill Sans and replaced it with BBC Reith, which has been designed by an in-house team and type foundry Dalton Maag, and will roll out to all sub-brands starting with BBC Sport.

The BBC has ditched its “100-year-old” typefaces for bespoke one BBC Reith, which looks to help the news platform cut costs and be more legible.

BBC Reith – named after the news organisation’s founder Lord John Reith – has been designed by the organisation’s in-house user experience and design (UX&D) team alongside type foundry Dalton Maag. It is first rolling out to BBC Sport.

It replaces Helvetica, Arial and Gill Sans, which have been used across the BBC websites and TV channels until now, and were designed “100 years ago for the printed page”, says David Bailey, creative director at the BBC’s UX&D team.

Gill Sans has been used across branding, while Helvetica and Arial have been used for body copy on Apple Macs and PCs respectively.

“Legibility-wise, they don’t perform well on today’s digital screens,” he says. “BBC Reith’s beautiful typeface is more versatile.”

BBC Reith typeface, by BBC in-house UX&D team and Dalton Maag

He adds that the new typeface has a “calligraphic human touch” due to each letter’s varying stroke width, and is more legible because each letter is allowed “more breathing space”, and will help to make the brand’s content more recognisable.

The use of a bespoke, BBC-owned typeface also aims to save the organisation money, because it will no longer need to pay the licence fee to use external typefaces, according to the BBC.

The new typeface has been produced in five different font styles, with three sans-serifs and two serifs, which each range from light to extra bold in weight.

It will roll out across all BBC channels, websites and social media over the next year, and also across building signage and merchandise, once old items need replacing.

It has rolled out to BBC Sport first, in line with a full rebrand for the channel and site, which has been completed by in-house design team BBC Creative along Studio Output.

The rebrand sees BBC Sport take on a “consistent visual image for audiences” across websites, social media and TV, according to James Parry, head of marketing at BBC Sport.

This includes an updated logo using BBC Reith, a brighter colour palette and new shade of yellow, a modular website design that splits text up in a more “consistent and elegant way”, an animated version of the logo with a shadow, and animated, three-dimensional (3D) backgrounds used across broadcast and digital.

It is not known at the time of publishing whether other BBC sub-brands will undergo full rebrands this year.

Hide Comments (6)Show Comments (6)
  • Henry August 15, 2017 at 11:32 am

    Please don’t tell me this is coming to the BBC News Channel or site. It looses all the authority of BBC News that Helvetica brought.

  • Andy Barker August 15, 2017 at 2:03 pm

    Arial! Got it right the first time! Looks good. Is it a real book and if so may I have one please?

    • Danny Landon August 16, 2017 at 11:05 am


      • Alex August 17, 2017 at 12:32 pm

        Think someone got confused by the weird, crappy gradient they’re using which makes it look like a open book

  • Tim Riches August 15, 2017 at 2:17 pm


  • Jimmy September 20, 2017 at 10:35 am

    And the BBC invested thousands developing this? Waste. Fee. Licence. I’ll let you rearrange the words.

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