DixonBaxi and ITV Creative have designed the brand identity for the new ITVX streaming service as well as refreshing ITV’s five channels with a new logo system and bespoke typeface family.
The year-long project focused on making the broadcasting giant feel more “authentically eclectic”, according to DixonBaxi’s senior strategist Claire Langer. To achieve this, the design team travelled around Britain to speak to people as part of their research, “from mums doing their weekly shop, to chirpy international students in Wolverhampton”, says Langer.
Viewers may already have noticed a change to the logo system, which seeks to connect ITV’s new streaming service with its broadcast channels. One of the design challenges was making the logos feel like “part of the same family” but retaining some of their “distinctive quirks”, according to DixonBaxi design director Jed Carter. Langer explains that this is part of the wider strategy to establish ITV as “one connected brand with different flavours of content for different people”.
A similar notion of connectivity and originality has been applied to the motion system design, which saw “a set of consistent motion behaviours” implemented across each channel through the cursors, says Carter, each with its own unique qualities. DixonBaxi design director Leah Surynt describes the ITVX cursor as “the ignition point for stories”, as it employs a “distinctive spark and amplifies motion behaviour” upon opening the app.
The ITV2 cursor is “playful and exuberant” and designed to “warp across the screen”, she says, while the ITV4 cursor “takes on the dynamism of formations in sport to guide users” throughout the channel and on-air moments. ITV’s redesigned grid and focus frames are also informed by ITVX’s new set of motion principles, which aims to show the extensive range of characters, stories and voices within the channels’ content.
The streaming platform required a flexible visual language system that could be applied to ads and marketing, setting it apart from competitors in a crowded streaming landscape. Carter says that ITVX motion behaviours create “a really useful, adaptable and consistent toolkit” that the ITV team can use for campaigns and other marketing content, “from billboards to digital advertising and social”.
DixonBaxi and ITV Creative worked alongside Manchester-based type foundry F37 to develop ITV Sans and ITV Serif, which Surynt describes as “equal parts flexible, characterful, and totally inclusive”. The studios and foundry designed “subtle quirks” into the new typeface family in a bid to match it with the rest of the identity, while also making it legible. These quirks are visible through “subtle tapers and beautiful alternate characters”, says Surynt.
ITV’s colour palette follows a simple framework, assigning each branch a primary and secondary colour that ties in with the brand personality and aims to makes it easier to tell them apart. ITVX has a “bold eye-popping yellow” chosen to help it stand out in the streaming sector, says Carter, adding that ITV2’s palette is “vivid and youthful”, while ITV3 is “dramatic and comforting”.
Iconography was also designed for the ITVX app and appears in two different states, according to Surynt. There is the “inactive state”, which Surynt describes as “simple, clean and elegant”, followed by the “amplified” state – featuring the “distinctive tapered quirks of the logo and typeface” – which occurs when an icon is selected.
Carter explains that the huge project “stretched the team in the best way possible”. He adds: “At times it felt like there were projects-within-projects because we were developing a typeface, creating an on-screen presentation system for live TV, or a campaign toolkit that could create distinctive adverts across billboards and social, which all felt like complex challenges in their own right.”
The Futz Butler designed the sonic identity for ITV, which centres around the ITVX brand. The Futz Butler creative director Paul Sumpter explains how the final route chosen for the ITVX mnemonic, called Burst, compliments DixonBaxi’s visual animations and “sonically articulates the Spark, Amplify and Discover story”.
Seeking to create an “open, engaging and exciting” pattern, Sumpter says the studio used sounds such as sugar dropping onto a balloon, a cinematic booj (a bass downbender) and heavily processed synths.
ITV’s new brand system has rolled out across ITV1, 2, 3, 4 and Be, while the roll out of ITVX is still in motion.