The advent of digital television services, as heralded by satellite and cable operators last week, will mean “the rules will change” for on-screen design companies, says English & Pockett marketing director Jane Roberts.
Both satellite operator BSkyB and Telewest Communications, the second biggest cable operator, plan to broadcast hundreds of digital channels and interactive services, accessed via set-top boxes.
In the digital world, services are accessed via an electronic programme guide (EPG), which appears on-screen, says a Telewest spokesman. “The really important design is the EPG,” he adds, and Telewest plans to bring in a design group “to work some magic”.
The design of the EPG will be “paramount in ensuring uptake of the service”, Roberts maintains.
The EPG will allow users to access not only by channel but also by types of programme, “making the traditional view of channels look like nonsense”, says the Telewest spokesman.
English & Pockett has been involved in the branding and EPG design for the trial service for US consortium Tele-TV. “[Channel] branding will not become irrelevant but channels will package themselves differently,” says Roberts. “The opportunities to brand will come in different places.”
On-screen formats will also need to be designed for the interactive services so that users can order theatre tickets or buy goods using a remote control, says a BSkyB spokeswoman.
British Interactive Broadcasting, launched by BT, British Sky Broadcasting Group and others to deliver digital interactive services, has a logo by Design Clinic.