BBC Radio / Brand Portfolio Brought Into Line

Anybody who listens to the BBC's online radio service will have noticed that their brands have been up-dated. This post is a quick review of what they've done and an assessment of if it works.

I find that brand portfolios are always a tricky subject. You find that with any large organization who develop a brand portfolio that they normally start off with little or no regard for the over-all styling in regard to each other. New products or services (shall we call them "ventures") develop as a law unto themselves.

Suddenly, one day a marketing manager wakes up and realizes that the umbrella brand identity (in this example the "bbc brand") seems alien to its children. Then steps are made to bring the portfolio into line so that a consistent style is met across all of them.

I often find Its a tricky process with each brand having people who care patiently about it. Also each brand has its own audience and messaging and so if done incorrectly can really upset peoples perceptions.

However I always think that when a brand portfolio is brought into line, it can't be measured in the short term re-action but on the long term.

Before & After

Below is a before (left) and after (right) of the BBC's branding:
BBC Radio Logos

Good Things

Overall when you look at the before and after of the BBC's radio brand you can immediately see that they were in a complete mess when they sat next to each other. There really wasn't any common theme which ran through them. Now they are cleaner and more consistent with each other. The most consistent elements being that they are all circular and a BBC RADIO brand sits in the same place in regard to the main identity.

They are also not boring and still have elements of uniqueness. I particularly love these minute unique elements. The Radio 3 "clef" mark is really clever as well as the "speech" mark on the radio 4 identity. These really help to subtly distinguish the target audiences and to some degree help you understand what each station does.

One thing that has been carried across is the colors of the old logos. I guess this still lends a little familiarity with the old and keeps some recognition.

Bad things

A few things I'm personally not keen on is the italic text in the 5 live logos - italic text does not line up very well and seems to unbalance things. Personally I try to steer away from using italic text using it only to emphasize areas in block text. It is harder to read and as we mentioned above is terrible to line things up with.

One of the weakest is the BBC RADIO 7 logo - I guess the weird thing that eats into the "7" is a smile which is carried through from the old logo. Doesn't do it for me. It needs to be more obvious.


Over-all I don't think things are two bad though. It's solid and consistent and compliments the main BBC identity. They are all in line and site nicely together. What are your thoughts readers? Leave comments below...


I agree with you in whole about this, The 'smile' in the radio 7 needs to be much more obvious and I would like to add that the radio six logo also doesn't work for me. It doesn't fit in with the overall theme.

With regards to the earlier BBC Radio brand identities, it's very easy to pass comment on something that was designed 6 years ago and was a complete success in terms of giving each radio station their own unique identity.

The original brief asked for individual identities without a common theme running through them that successfully lived within the BBC brand. Hence the consistent use of the BBC blocks. There is also consistency in the use of the size of each icon and use of a patch device framing the logo (Radio 1 and 3 can actually live outside a patch device as well).

If all the logos are placed next to each other they would obviously look different as this reflects the requirements in the original brief

I disagree that the earlier logos look a complete mess next to each other and in fact I would offer a counterclaim that the new icons and are actually executed clumsily and are badly crafted with scant regard for typographic standards. ie, what on earth is that small sloping curve at the top of the Radio 1 logo? Won't this dissappear when the logo is reduced?

I think the revamp has actually taken the BBC Radio family brand backwards and has actually resulted in the loss of individuality and identity!

hi, andar here, i just read your post. i like very much. agree to you, sir.

Interesting to know.