New look for BBC Three

BBC Three - BBC II!

BBC Three has unleashed its new logo, the third in the channel’s history. While it may look like BBC II! aka BBC Two ! or even BBC 11!, the beeb assure viewers it is BBC Three.

The channel, formerly known as BBC Choice, is soon to go ‘online only’ leaving television screens behind and as part of its downsizing the brand has been BBC Threeupdated to reflect its changing times.

“What is most striking is the new logo and the fact it doesn’t actually say three. It’s easy to belittle the importance a logo has in supporting a brand, and I’m sure the usual critics will have their say – “It looks like Adidas”, “it looks like a “hamburger menu icon,” “it doesn’t even say three”, “are they Roman numerals” – but If I’m being honest I’m not worried. Some people are resistant to change and we wanted to be bold and create something that looks forward and will be around for years to come.” – Niki Carr, Head of Marketing, BBC Three.

The best remembered BBC Three idents were the famous ‘blobs’ – they even had their own app which allowed you to have your own desktop blob which would scream at you occasionally. The TV versions used archive beeb soundbites alongside new animations of the orange creatures. Some would argue this was BBC Three’s finest output, and certainly their best idents.

For the past eight years the channel has used the ‘tube’ logo set in various virtual world backdrops. However as BBC Three nears its switch over on Tuesday 16th February to being a ‘TV channel without a TV channel’ the corporation is rolling out the new visual identity for BBC Three II! This includes on the BBC iPlayer, on bbc.co.uk, on apps and associated content.

“BBC Three’s logo hasn’t changed in 8 years so in an age of smartphones we needed a whole new system that fits the digital world, not something analogue just shoehorned into it. We needed to develop something that worked on a TV screen and as an app icon. Look at Snapchat. They’re doing okay without having Snapchat in their logo. The new icon represents BBC Three’s three pillars, make me think, make me laugh and give me a voice. That is what new BBC Three is all about.” – Niki Carr, Head of Marketing, BBC Three.

SymBBC Threebols with – or without – the station brand was commonplace across the 1950s to the 1990s. Stateside the CBS Eye stands alone without the wording as does NBC’s peacock, these continue to be used and have survived the ‘wordy, basic, flat’ trendy revamps many stations fell prone to in the late 1990s.

In the UK famous symbols identifiable on their own include the Yorkshire Television chevron, the Southern Television star and Central Televisions Globe. Of course simple logos which also easily state their channel include the BBC Two ‘2’ and the Channel 4 blocks.

“I think the problem with the BBC Three ‘BBC II!’ logo is it can be mis-read as something else, a perfect logo simply states exactly what it is and what it represents, like the previous BBC Three logo, or is unique so instantly identifiable with the brand such as the Granada G or the Anglia TV Knight. This new identification for BBC Three doesn’t scream BBC Three, it does however look like they’re shouting ‘BBC 2’ with it, therefore – fail.” – TV Critic Vivian Summers.


Pictured top: The new ‘BBC II!’ logo. Pictured middle: the much-missed BBC Three blobs and pictured bottom: the tubular BBC Three.

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