Rebranding. It’s Like Jumping Into A Wasp’s Nest…

…You might get stung.

BBC Three have recently undergone a rebrand to reflect their move from analogue to digital, which we think is a valid reason to rebrand. Unlike the Gap rebrand of 2010… We’ll go into that another time.

With people obsessing about the similarities between the rebrand and the W1A logo, we don’t feel the real question has been asked, ‘does it do what it’s meant to do?’

We’re Dauntless’ Design Team, and we’ve got some views to share on the matter:

Looking at the simple mark in situ, it’s strong, it’s different, and it certainly stands out in comparison to the other channels. As a team, we wondered if – out of context – people may not recognise it as BBC Three at all. But also, in-context the mark is positioned in exactly the same place, so the average iPlayer user may not even notice that there has been any change at all!

Described as ‘BBC Three’s new roman numeral logo’ these three simple lines are intended to represent:

  1. Make me think
  2. Make me laugh
  3. Give me a voice

And this is where we think an intervention might be appropriate, for a very simple reason. If a logo has to be explained, then it hasn’t done its job.

We will concede the following: the mark has been well designed for the digital world, and works wonders for social media profile pictures and app icons. Keeping the vibrant BBC Three pink makes it easily recognised, and fits in with their youthful target audience.

It seems that people are more accepting of entirely new brands, than they are of rebrands. In our opinion, rebrands are only necessary when there is a valid reason: either the brand message has changed, the target audience has changed, or the brand is outdated, and so on.

“If a logo has to be explained, then it hasn’t done its job.”

Shelley’s Opinion

As a designer, I’m always interested in the purpose behind a change of identity, especially one that is as well known as BBC Three. They’ve taken a mature approach to the criticism that they knew would come, even to the point of playfully acknowledging the comparison with the W1A spoof logo. This shows that they’ve created a strong stance and a solid commitment to the change, which in and of itself is particularly important when branding or rebranding a company. Commitment to the choice, no matter what people might say, can build even more brand loyalty. In the end, any logo or mark will only be valuable if the company that stands behind it is strong.

I think the move was justified, and the simplification to its elements are better suited to the digital world and social media. As an identifying mark, it is strong, memorable and suitable for their target audience. I do think some minor adjustments would add clarity and scalability to the mark, an opinion shared by Rosie!


Rosie’s Opinion

I actually noticed the new logo while using iPlayer; before then, I hadn’t heard or read anything about it. As a user, the change didn’t shock me, as the three lines were in the same place as the previous logo, so – functionally – everything was pretty much the same.

From a design point of view, I think the new branding is well suited to the target demographic, and stands out among the crowd of other BBC channels. However, the detail of the exclamation mark is lost when scaled down; this could easily be solved by equalising the space to match the vertical gutters. See our header image (at the top of the page) to see what I mean.


Emily’s Opinion

While I agree with all of the above, the logo honestly leaves me a bit confused. As I see it, they need to ask if the logo communicates their three brand values; to inspire thought, to spark laughter and to give a voice. I can’t quite see these values myself: the idea of a voice is represented by the exclamation mark, but how do you discern the meaning behind the other two?

I feel that BBC Three need to make up their mind – does the logo convey these three values on a metaphorical level, or on a more literal level? Overall it feels unfinished and confused.

Sorry BBC!