The new look is informed by BBC America’s new tagline, “Brit-ish,” which harks back to the network’s joint British and American heritage.
“We felt that now was the time to sharpen [BBC America’s] brand lens,” said Kevin Vitale, senior vice president, creative and campaign marketing, AMC Networks. “BBC America is such a unique network and we wanted to bring that out by leaning into its Britishness in a fresh new relevant way.”
BBC America airs everything from nature programming narrated by Sir David Attenborough to British late-night talker The Graham Norton Show to Doctor Who, Killing Eve and Top Gear.
“The question was how do we make sense of everything on our air and how do we make that work across all of our franchises?” said Vitale. “[This brand refresh was] built to be able to do that. If you have that broad but pinpointed brand identity in place, you can really stretch it across multiple franchises.”
It all started with the tagline.
“The tagline ‘Brit-ish’ creates a kind of two-part statement—it’s the proclamation of an attitude,” said Josh Norton, executive creative director of New York-based Bigstar. “When BBC America coins the term ‘Brit-ish,’ it’s their way of saying you can expect British excellence as well as unexpected wow and flash.
“BBC America has a huge range of programming—from earnest to kitschy to cutting edge—and within that they have a huge range of personalities and properties,” he continued. “This graphic-design system encapsulates all of that.”
The new brand architecture is simple but combines seemingly oppositional elements to bring out both the reserved parts of the network as well as the more outrageous parts—a bright orange-toned red paired with a dark navy for a twist on the patriotic colors of both the U.S. and the U.K, and a conservative serif font paired with a bold sans serif.
“We needed to look at both the branding and the system as a platform,” said Norton. “The branding needed to be flexible enough to represent any type of personality on the network as well as any promotional work they needed to build. We created an architecture and typographic design system that was able to have a specific attitude and still be flexible in how they told stories.
“BBC America can do a lot with it—they can tell stories that have longer-form writing as well as create punchy promos that constantly have a back and forth between the Brit-ish ‘expect excellence’ side and that wow side,” Norton continued. “It’s a flexible system that’s easy to use and doesn’t have so much of a tonal commitment that it doesn’t make sense with anything it’s paired with.”
For example, here’s what the refresh looks like when cut into a promo for popular motoring series Top Gear:
And for the Jason Bourne movie franchise, starring Matt Damon:
Sound and music, designed by New York-based Antfood, also play an important part in the rebrand, including the little upbeat trumpet sound that accompanies the tagline.
“This new refreshed work around our BBC America brand recognizes a British sensibility given a distinctly American twist that allows our unique ‘Brit-ish-ness’ to shine through,” said Blake Callaway, general manager of BBC America, in a statement.
SVP Creative and Campaign Marketing: Kevin Vitale
VP Design and Brand: Ed Sherman
Creative Director: Dan Akers, Fred Mullin
Director of Production: Laurie Mutschler
Director Creative Off-Air & Brand: Nancy Hennings
Lead Producers: Thomas Arnold & Joanna Cajigas
Lead Graphic Designer: Quentin Bellow
Editorial: Zealot, Anton Bielecki, Paul Musilli
Strategy Agency: BigSmall
Design Agency: BigStar
Executive Creative Director: Josh Norton
Design Director: Ross Henderson
Executive Producer: Carson Hood
Head of Production: Virgil Conklin
Animation: Casey Drogin, Liu Chialung, Chris Scales
Sound Design: Antfood