On Monday 14th January 2013 ITV went live with its most extensive rebrand since 2006 and arguably the biggest branding overhaul since the channels conception. At the crux of the new identity is the re-envisaged ITV logo, making use of a rounded, heavy font with a hand written feel and a mix of colours that change to fit the setting. This is extending through the whole of the network with changes to all five channel logos, notably ITV1 changed to just ITV. The same can be seen through various departments such as news and sport as well as the redesigned website and a range of idents. The brands web presence has also been revitalised, with a new clean website designed with mobiles and tablets in mind.
The thinking behind the new identity lies in their refreshed ethos, summarised as “a media brand that is at the heart of popular culture”(Rufus Radcliffe, ITV group director of marketing and research). The idents in particular seem to reflect this for me, making use of images to reflect the programming as well as people’s everyday lives, reinforcing the idea that they are a channel for all.
The new typeface: ‘It’s so Reem’
And in fact, it is. Designed by Fontsmith, ITV Reem takes in 8 varieties and aims to fit with the inviting popular culture ethos. As a font it’s clean and modern but has a sense of playfulness in its rounded edges. It was designed to be akin to the rounded ends of handwriting and is named as a cheeky salute to ITV’s popular show TOWIE (The only way is Essex). In the context of its use throughout ITV, for body text it is easy to read and quite personable. However this fun and friendly look does not quite suit the more serious applications in terms of atmosphere and as for ITV2, 3 and 4, these new logos looks far too curvatious and lack individuality.
New channel logos across the range
With the new logo rolled out across the brand, all individual channels have been given the same treatment. However I feel that these four sub-channels lack their own identities as the ITV’s new font Reem has its own bubbly character and this does not best reflect ITV4’s sport programming for example. The definition between the channels is done with use of simple colour. ITV2 is red to reflect its entertainment schedule, ITV3 uses a deep blue for its focus on drama and ITV4 has a cool grey to represent its sports and cult programming. If they then went on to have different approaches to their idents, then maybe their simplified identities would work, as individuals however the idents work in much the same way as the main ITV ident concept. ITV have missed a trick here to create strong individual brands within their new framework with CITV being the only channel where I feel it has a stronger sense of identity. The typeface really suits its atmosphere and the idents utilising children’s illustrations bring the logo to life much like storytelling comes alive in its programming.
The colour scheme for the new ITV identity is both its greatest triumph and hindrance. The bug bear I have is with the colours for the standard ITV logo. Where I am in favour of the multiple colours to reflect the company’s many facets, that exact combination does not work for me. Perhaps it is trying to be future proof, but the green in particular is quite sludgy and unappealing and the orangey hues of the yellow clash with the freshness of the blue. They’re not far off, perhaps using those key colours, just not those exact hues. Aside from this, the chameleon-like quality of the logo is something ITV’s creative team should be very proud of. I love how the logo changes colours to suit the background, subtly fluctuating in the idents, to create a logo that sits cleanly and subtly over the footage, allowing the imagery and programming to become the focus. Couple this with the fact that the cinematography in the idents I have seen is particularly colour-considered, it makes for a great visual experience.
An overall success?
I believe so, but I also believe that the dramatic change will take some getting use to for more dedicated viewers, as is to be expected with anything that is so different. I still believe the identity is too fun and friendly for more serious applications such as news, but in fairness this does set it apart from Channel 4 and the BBC, to firmly establish ITV as the destination for the lighter side of television. Let’s just keep those idents coming.
Watch ITV’s introduction to its new look: