Channel 4 deconstructs iconic logo in major rebrand

The rebrand has been led by in-house consultancy 4Creative, working with a team including Neville Brody and Under the Skin director Jonathan Glazer.

Channel 4 is launching a wide-reaching rebrand, which sees the channels iconic “4” logo deconstructed for on-screen graphics, while the previous All 4 logo becomes the company’s new corporate identity.

The project is Channel 4’s first major rebrand for more than ten years, and while it retains the 4 logo first designed by Martin Lambie-Nairn in 1982, the mark is now broken down so that its constituent parts can be used to create new graphics.

The rebrand has been led by Channel 4’s in-house consultancy 4Creative, working with DBLG.

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Logo deconstructions
Logo deconstructions

Neville Brody has created two new typefaces for the identity, while idents are directed by Jonathan Glazer, who directed the Guinness “surfer” ad, Sony’s “paint” and Under the Skin. Music is by Mica Levi, who created the Under the Skin score.

Channel 4’s head of marketing James Walker says the aim of the rebrand was to present the broadcaster as “diverse, challenging and innovative”, in line with its public service remit.

Grant Gilbert, Creative Director, DBLG said: “We decided early on that we didn’t want to mess with the logo but instead find different ways to present it on air.

“The OSP and opticals aren’t just promos with a logo tacked on the end; they are the channel. These elements that play out dozens of times every day are now free to be playful, surprising, dynamic and ever changing. We have created an identity for Channel 4 that has longevity and will evolve and express itself in different ways.”

Chris Bovill and John Allison, heads of 4Creative, say: “We started with the original, iconic Lambie Nairn 4 logo and broke it down into its constituent parts; the nine blocks. The blocks represent Channel 4’s incredibly diverse qualities.

“The blocks are free to demonstrate our remit; to be irreverent, innovative, alternative and challenging. They are free to flow through everything on the channel: our typeface, on-screen menus, on-screen graphics, off-air logo, Channel 4 News, Channel 4 Racing, all the way through to the idents.”

Bovill and Allison add: “We didn’t want to tell people what channel they’re watching. We wanted to tell them why they’re watching it the first place. They watch because Channel 4 stands for something important. We wanted the new branding to reflect this.”

Brody, working with Luke Prowse, created two new bespoke typefaces for the rebrand – Horseferry, for display, and Chadwick, for information. These are used for on-screen graphics as well as off-air marketing and poster art.

Brody says the new typefaces are based on the concept of “a new British Gothic” and aim to “celebrate the idea of our nation as one of inventors, eccentrics and individuals”.

New typography
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He says: “The British Gothic DNA for the family, one highlighted for the Chadwick font which will be used for news and sport, is based on the idea of updating British Modernism – the dependable language of our motorways, railways and information systems.

“Horseferry sees a corruption of this into more unpredictable form, the same split-personality that produced Herbert Spencer, Erno Goldfinger, Richard Hamilton and Alexander McQueen.”

Brody adds: “Many design variations and systems of typographic disruption were created and joint-curated into something which is neither overt nor systematic, but a font which can be scaled in size or media revealing quirks at display format which remain unseen at functional size.”

Channel 4's new corporate identity
Channel 4’s new corporate identity

As well as updating its on-screen look, Channel 4 is also changing its corporate identity, using the All 4 identity that was originally launched last year to represent all the channel’s digital output.

The All 4 identity was developed by 4Creative working with Magpie Studio and We Are Seventeen and will now be used on all corporate and network branding.

Discover more:

• Channel 4 launches new All 4 identity to replace 4oD

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Comments
  • Adam North October 1, 2015 at 10:19 am

    I have always liked C4’s approach to their identity, and this new rebrand is no exception.

  • Jody Godfrey October 1, 2015 at 11:13 am

    Nice.

  • Bruce Smith October 2, 2015 at 12:56 pm

    I saw these last night. Not a massive fan, it almost feels a bit studenty. It’s all too chaotic.

  • Merlin Duff October 5, 2015 at 9:14 am

    Channel 4 has not ‘rebranded’; the organisation still holds the same values and publishes the same content. It’s launched a very interesting but ultimately trend driven new identity; the brand is making an attempt to look different.

  • Alex Brooks October 5, 2015 at 9:32 am

    Love it!

  • Hannah Wardle October 8, 2015 at 4:57 pm

    Not a huge fan – it feels a bit full on, trying to be too clever and do too many things at once. I think it needs a bit more refining.

  • J August 12, 2017 at 9:25 pm

    Could you tell me what that colour is in the corner is teal?

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