Tomato pipped by C4

Graphics group Tomato is believed to be angry with Channel 4 over the design of the broadcaster’s new on-screen identity.

In the first significant change to the identity since its 1982 launch, Channel 4 has introduced a concept, developed by its in-house team, based on four circles. But Tomato had early input into the design and is said to be unhappy about the new identity’s on-screen implementation, first aired last Friday.

A source close to Tomato claims its roughs, initially created for a paid pitch and then worked up by Tomato over a series of phases, introduced the circles concept. Tomato was not consulted about the way the concept appears on-screen, adds the source. John Warwicker, who headed the job for Tomato, declines to comment on any aspect of the project.

But Channel 4 claims its in-house team also struck the idea of circles, coincidentally and independently. Both Tomato and the in-house designers developed their own ideas, collaborating for part of the process but largely separately, says the broadcaster.

Channel 4’s head of presentation Steve White and head of marketing Wendy Lanchin led the project. White says both he and Lanchin “found a useful coincidence in the fact that both teams came up with the circle device. But the in-house team cracked the problem of how to use the circles to give viewers information and link all the elements in a programme junction”.

Tomato was dropped from the project around June, after presenting work for one of its phases. “We preferred the work of the in-house team to the routes Tomato was taking,” adds White.

White says he is not aware of any ill-feeling at Tomato. “I can understand they’re disappointed about not being able to take the project to completion, but the work was carried out in phases and it was explained all the way through that work would be reviewed at each stage of the process.”

The new identity, dubbed Connections, follows research undertaken by Lambie-Nairn, the consultancy which designed the original Channel 4 logo.

See News Analysis, page 7.

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