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The OU on the BBC

Video & Audio Design (February 2014)

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PC
Paul Clark
I first had the idea of having a crack at some BBC OU branding last year... The shield symbol in its forms over the years is quite iconic. It's only more recently that I've paid attention to how many programmes are produced in association with the OU, and with real prominence in the schedules.

Yet looking at the presence of the branding, I've not seen much besides the (sometimes fairly small) inclusion on endcaps... It's rarely front and centre. And perhaps it hasn't really had a full on-screen identity since 1997.

So, staying close to the current look, I thought it would be nice to develop it further, to try and flesh it out more (and give it an audio element too. which I've settled on - it's on the way)

Simple-looking style... From the off, decided the background should more or less be either black or white, and the logo should be the focus - but keeping in line with and expanding on the current style of logo, including applying it to programme promotion, which I'll start with. Have posted some stills just now - should follow up with a video later...


Trail Opener

*

A quick animation of only a second or two in length to open trails for any major BBC & OU programme, with appropriate channel logo fading in underneath.

[A longer version without channel logo would also be used to introduce the first showing of peak-time programmes, similar to the how the Great British Drama logo has recently been used.]

The trail & programme stings are probably the most useful, but from a Pres point of view maybe not the most interesting...

An extended sequence and menu would form the opening for a block of programmes; these are more traditional OU - though I note the Learning Zone does still show OU programmes...

OU Strand - Opening Ident

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A longer sequence - and a layout more familiar to previous symbols... Starting with the OU shield full-view in the centre of the screen, changing lighting as it revolves before fading away for the main logo

Considered having the shield 'shift across' to make way for the logo lettering... But this breaks the idea (and consistency with other items) of having it solely revolve, and doing so after the lettering has appeared.


OU Strand Menu

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The OU shield revolves out of and into the background

With current BBC not using Gill Sans to the extent of 1997, instead of choosing that as a safe option, it seemed suitable to use a typeface that most closely paired with the logo.

Instead of simply cutting away from the main logo, ideally the opening ident animates out, with the menu text then faded up. Both the animate and the menu itself would have sound - the former is quick 'punctuation' and the latter an underscore for continuity.

Hope to upload the video-audio example of how these bits of presentation could work and sound a little later - shall update this topic as soon as that's sorted.

Video - with audio

Last edited by Paul Clark on 19 February 2014 11:51am - 4 times in total
MF
MatthewFirth
This is amazing. I like this a lot. A realistic idea of what OU would look like on the BBC in 2014.

For the video, a modern version of the famous jingle?
ET
ETP1 Forever
Really like this mock, it looks like a decent evolution of the early 90's OU ident. Mysterious-and-spooky is the best way to sum it up.
PC
Paul Clark


Shown here in context of trail and some continuity to illustrate how it could be used.

In order of appearance:
Programme opener
Trail opener
OU Strand Opening & Menu

The audio was written from scratch - with each item in mind, but using a consistent set of sounds. Didn't feel right to give it a 'jingle' or anything too strident; wanted to try something fairly calm to set a suitable tone and that would (hopefully) work with the animation.
MF
MatthewFirth
This is fine. If you wish for improving though, try and make the trailers OU themed and not BBC One.
The music could be a little darker, to reflect the ident.
BA
bilky asko
The tone of this mock is just right - it fits in exactly how I would imagine OU branding would be. The ident works well, and despite drawing inspiration from past eras of idents, it retains enough modernity to make it perfect for use today.

Matching the menu's font to the OU logo's font gives it a cohesive look, and shows the relatively simple result is the product of something much less basic.

The music you've created reflects the visual ethos perfectly - it's easy to tell the audio and the video are two parts of a whole.

The idea itself is sound and the execution is great - I think that all that needs doing/can be done is finesse (specular highlights for a touch more realism, as an example; not necessarily a required change), and you've got a wonderful mock.

4.5/5
PC
Paul Clark
Thanks for the bit of nice feedback thus far...


This is fine.



Depends on how you define that; it's tricky to tell... This could mean you think it's definitely up to standard - but also could mean it's nothing special or noteworthy at all... Any aspect(s) you personally like? Or where you think 'That bit is really nice / doesn't work because...'?

Quote:
If you wish for improving though, try and make the trailers OU themed and not BBC One.



If I understand that correctly, I'm not sure how this is an improvement. What it sounds like you're suggesting - to heavily brand the trails or endboards for major programmes as OU instead of the actual BBC channel - is probably not the best move... A BBC-OU programme airing outside of a dedicated strand on BBC One / Two / Four needs to carry the channel's branding and logo on trails first and foremost. In these cases, think of the OU as equivalent to the current use of Original British Drama and the Nations brands... An indicator of production origin.

However, I had actually considered adding an animating OU logo 'icon' to the trail endboards in a suitable style... If you think this a good idea, I'll take a look.

Re: OU strand / programme block, it's not vital, but also I do not see an issue with and endboard specific to the strand if required - maybe as a little extra at some point...


The tone of this mock is just right - it fits in exactly how I would imagine OU branding would be. The ident works well, and despite drawing inspiration from past eras of idents, it retains enough modernity to make it perfect for use today... The music you've created reflects the visual ethos perfectly - it's easy to tell the audio and the video are two parts of a whole.

The idea itself is sound and the execution is great - I think that all that needs doing/can be done is finesse...



Some great comments there... Good to know that the soundtrack work actually comes across as tailored to the visuals. I too was concerned as to whether the design was over-simple or lacking just a little something. Wanted to add a certain amount of depth with a 3-dimensional shield so that the edges could catch the light a little, and at the same time keep closely to the style of the actual OU logo, not deviating too far from that... So your overall view I can very much agree with.
DE
deejay
Nicest mocks I've seen in ages, well done. I think the music works particularly well.
PC
Paul Clark
That's a lovely comment! Thanks for taking the time deejay - glad you like it.

8 days later

JO
Jonny
Outstanding work, Paul, audio and visually. A realistic evolution of the ident and neat transition to the menu.

It's a shame about the juxtaposition of the Open University text to the shield in the official logo which I think looks a little awkward when it off-centres the shield, not sure if it would work without (or perhaps as a smaller tag)?

I also have reservations about using the OU brand in trailers as it would likely cause a lot to dismiss programmes as classroom TV rather than see it as a mark of quality; silly false perception problem.

Very, very nice work though. Love the late 90s ambient vibe as always.
AS
ASO
I have to agree with these other comments. Its just spot on. Superb audio and visual harmony.

8 days later

:-(
A former member
How on earth is this mock not outstanding?

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