Fallon works on BBC and British Museum programme

Advertising group Fallon is branding and creating marketing materials for an upcoming tie-up between the BBC and the British Museum, A History of the World.

The BBC and the British Museum, which have never partnered each other before, jointly appointed Fallon in late summer following a creative pitch against Lambie-Nairn and Red Bee Media.

This year’s event, with programmes on the BBC and events at the British Museum, will feature 100 objects from the museum’s collection that have helped to shape the world – including a pre-historic cutting tool and a credit card. The miscellaneous nature of the show provided the greatest challenge in the creation of an identity, according to Fallon head of art and design Mark Elwood.

‘The objects were like a car boot sale when they were put together, looking horrendous next to each other in the logo, so we decided to use colourwashes to provide them with a sense of unity and to make sure that we weren’t “hero-ing” one object over any other,’ says Elwood.

He says the BBC and the British Museum briefed the consultancy to endow the exhibition with ‘a sense of modernity’. The typography for the exhibition title evolves minutely from one letter to the next, ‘so that you wouldn’t notice the change between two letters side by side, but over the entire thing, you do’, says Fallon senior designer Jamie Craven.

Fallon’s logo will appear across all platforms associated with the exhibition, which will include ‘huge vertical banners around the museum’, says Elwood, as well as on signage, posters, a museum guide, podcasts and a website for which Fallon created the guidelines.

The brand guidelines will also be used on a children’s TV show called Relic, which will tie in with the exhibition. The 13-part show will feature children visiting the museum at night to solve clues about some of the objects.

The website, which goes live this month, will invite visitors to upload their own objects that have changed the world, to create an online museum. A 100-part BBC Radio 4 series, A History of the World in 100 Objects, linked with the exhibition and featuring the same name and branding, starts on 18 January.

Sir James Dyson will take part in a discussion about what the as-yet-unchosen 100th object should be on BBC Two’s A History of the World Culture Show Special in January.

As each object is revealed on the Radio 4 programme, it will be highlighted in the British Museum’s collection.

The History of the World in 11 Objects

  • Handaxe found in Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, about 1.2 million years old
  • Statue of Ramesses II, c1250 BC, from Egypt
  • Chinese Zhou ritual bowl, c1100-1000 BC, possibly from Henan Province, China
  • Lachish Reliefs, c700-692 BC, from Nineveh, northern Iraq
  • Sphinx of Taharqo, c680 BC, from Kawa, Sudan
  • Gold coin of Croesus, c550 BC, from modern Turkey
  • Paracas textile, c300-200 BC, from Paracas, Peru
  • Sutton Hoo helmet, Suffolk, early seventh century
  • Pieces of eight coins, 15th century
  • Double-headed serpent, 15th-16th century, Mexico
  • Shadow puppet of Bima, 17th-18th century, from Indonesia
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