ITV to get makeover and re-brand!

by Anna Howell

It has been announced today that ITV are to embark on a major rebranding across the entire company, including a new logo and a refresh on all its channels current identities, including the mother ship broadcaster, ITV1.

From now on ITV1 will go back to its original name of ITV as part of this new “unifying brand identity” which is expected to be introduced early next year across ITV Plc, the ITV Network and ITV Studios, the broadcaster’s production arm.

The new logo, shown above, is a vast contrast from the current one we have been used to seeing on our screens, presented in a more cartoon like way with a curvy, colour-shifting design that will roll out simultaneously across the ITV channels and their +1 networks, including the flagship ITV channel, along with ITV2, ITV3, ITV4 and CITV. Its style is described as “a form of human handwriting” and will replace all official company headed documents, stationary and buildings.

The logo has four colours that are the “perfect points” on the colour spectrum, and is intended to be a chameleon that will sometimes change according to the show or channel using something that ITV is calling “colour picking”, where, for example, when introducing Dancing on Ice, the ITV channel logo will sometimes become purple, blue and green to reflect the show’s colourful and sparkly outfits, then turn grey, beige and black for Downton Abbey to reflect the period and the drama, and on I’m a Celebrity, jungle greens and browns will feature on the letters.

This rebrand has been instructed under the supervision of Rufus Radcliffe, ITV’s group director of marketing and research, who has also, in the past, rebranded E4 while at Channel 4; and Reemah Sakaan, ITV’s director of network marketing, who has previously helped rebrand BBC Three, whilst she was working at the BBC before joining ITV last year.

This will be the first time that ITV has had a makeover since 2006 as Radcliffe believes that, in this digital TV era, where every channels brand is competing for audiences, ITV was in danger of losing some of its appeal sticking with the old logo as the television landscape had changed quite dramatically since its launch 6 years ago, commenting:

“People love our shows, but we don’t get the credit for bringing them. With all these media brands out there if you don’t have a clear brand then you are exposed,” he said at a press briefing yesterday. “What this rebrand is about is cementing the relationship between the shows that people love and the ITV brand that makes them.”

With this rebrand, Radcliffe hopes to land ITV somewhere between the BBC whose platform is to “inform, educate, entertain” and Channel 4 whose message is “mission with mischief”, with the focus of the revamp being to embrace the “heart of popular culture” with programmes such as Downton Abbey, The X Factor, and Coronation Street.  Radcliffe said of the previous ITV branding that it was “really recessive”, and that viewers “never really embraced” the yellow ITV logo, but the new branding is more distinctive and coherent, commenting:

“What we have at the moment is ITV1 in yellow whether we are showing Appropriate Adult or The X Factor,” he said. “But we want it to flex and focus. We are going to drop the ITV1 from January because we have always been swimming against the tide with that branding and viewers have never really embraced it.”

Alongside the flagship network, the new “mother brand” will be added to all ITV digital channels. Each will keep their existing names, but will get a “really big channel idea” to refresh their identities, with ITV2 becoming the “home of infectious entertainment”, with a “hot red” version of the logo and red on-screen identify, including new idents and ‘end boards’.

ITV3 is to be labelled as the “keeper of ITV’s treasured and timeless drama”, with a new “midnight blue” logo and idents that feature stories told in shadow-puppet style animation inside glass bell jars.

ITV4 will be presented by a “slate grey” logo and become the “home of sport and cult classics”, as well as a “man club”. Channel promotion will include pub factoids – such as “One in ten children in Europe are conceived on an Ikea bed” – and idents featuring viewer nominated “dreams come true”, such as driving a Rolls Royce into a swimming pool.

CITV will get a yellowy-orange logo and playful idents that “burp and fart, and do other things kids love”.

ITV News will get a royal blue logo and branding, while ITV Sport will be given a fresh green look. The ITV Player will adopt the ITV Plc “mother brand” to make it coherent across all platforms, such as online and on tablets or smartphones.

Sakaan said that the previous ITV branding was not “serving our programmes properly”, but that the new version is fit for purpose and has scale for the future. It has been produced in house using a pop-up studio, with just some assistance from design freelancers.

Whilst she would not give an indication of cost, Sakaan said that this has brought a “significant” cost saving on hiring an agency, whilst Radcliffe stressed that the decision to do the rebrand in house was “not a financial decision, it’s a philosophical decision”, adding that all ITV channels will go live with new branding at the same time in January 2013, something he claims is something “no network has done before, probably with good reason, but we will give it a go”.