A Light in the Darkness

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Many UK television networks and even programmes are changing logo designs right now. In many cases, the results are what most designers would call terrible. In many cases, this is due to the genre; like all lines of business, television logos have specific needs such as flashiness, scaling and the ability to use the logo design in on-air animations.

However, good media logos occasionally emerge in the market. We thought it would be nice to look at good design for once instead of mediocre design. Here is one logo that is attractive, appropriate for its media genre and very expressive: the British Film Institute, or BFI, logo design.

The old logo design, which was used until the rebranding several years ago, featured the name of the institute in lower case lettering with a retro feeling. This lettering was placed over a black circle. The logo design was not inherently bad—it doesn’t have enough detail to really hate it—but it was a little too retro for the brand and lacked any elements that would make it recognizable and help to build the brand.

The new design keeps the circular shape of the old, but it is more expressive than the old one. It features the orbs of light that are seen coming from an old fashioned video camera light, known as lens flares, with the initials of the organizations placed within. These are written in stark, modern, capital letters that give a more authoritative feeling. This logo design is a light in the darkness, a great film logo design that shows other media companies how it is done.

The BFI is one of the leading film organizations in the UK, so it really needed a better brand. The new one has worked beautifully because it is up to the task. The new logo design has worked beautifully in animations shown before films and been a recognizable part of posters and signage. It might not work well on a t-shirt due to the gradients and blurring, but that is not one of the intended media for which it was created.

The purpose of a logo design is to communicate important information about the brand and also to differentiate the brand from the competition. By this measure, the new BFI logo design is a winner.

One of things that we have really liked about this logo in the years since it was created is the way that it ties into the film industry without resorting to clichés. Unfortunately, many are tempted to fill the logo with cameras, stars and other images that are commonly associated with film industry. This can work in many cases, but the current UK logo is so much more effective without being overly obvious.

Pay attention UK designers: it is possible to create an attractive, meaningful logo even for media companies. It might take a little more creativity and a lot more work, but the results are worth it. It is not all the fault of designers, either. Media companies have to be willing to think outside the box when going through the logo design process. With the cooperation of all parties, television and other media logos can be as good as the ones designed for other industries.