BBCi Rebrand Comments

Published on 13 March 2005 in , , , , , ,

Whenever we launch something at work, I like to have a look around and see what people are saying – hoping of course that it’s good feedback!

So when we launched the new BBCi look on Telewest the other day I spent a fair amount of my evening and lunch break lurking around various message boards to see the comments.

Red and Yellow and Pink and Green

Surprisingly one of the comments I saw most was about the colour scheme. Not about the choice of colours themselves, but that we’d "copied" the colours from ITVi.

Back in October last year I wrote a similar accusation – a few people claimed we’d rushed out and bunged page numbers up merely cos Teletext had just launched them which I mentioned at the time, was rather amusing.

Similarly amusing is the notion that we’d just rip off a colour scheme from ITVi!

The reality of the situation was that ITVi relaunched their satellite service last Autumn, whilst we were busy building the new look service. By coincidence, we’d both chosen blacks, greys and red, although for BBCi we also have a large chunk of white.

But when you think about it, the coincidence is not that surprising. ITVi (who cunningly have a logo that looks very similar to the 2001 logo) had red in their logo. When designing our logo, the design team had decided to put red in our logo. It’s not surprising why. Red bit of logo, red button, and so on.

And when you want a colour scheme that goes with red? Well black and grey works quite nicely doesn’t it? Plus it has the added bonus that a black background is one of the best colours to chose if you want people to read text on screen, especially when overlaid onto moving video. Great minds think alike I guess!

Of course ITVi launched first, so we got to see it whilst building our own service. And when they did launch with those colours, well there was a thought of "Oh crud" in my mind. But it had all been designed, and was half way through being built. What were we ever going to do? Throw all the hard work away, or stick with it cos we knew it worked.

So we stuck with it. And whilst both services use a similar colour scheme, they do look different. ITVi uses more greys, whilst we use a stronger black with white and no curves. They might share similar colour schemes, but they look and handle very differently.

There’s even an argument that says that the two services are aimed at different areas – ITVi seems to be little more than excuse to try and extract money from people – paid for games, quizzes, gambling, betting. Finding any content in there seems to be an art form! On the other hand, we’re a content destination – news, sport, weather and so on. We’re each doing something completely different.

Of course that won’t matter to some people, who I’m sure will just see us as copycats for their rest of their lives! But such is life and you can’t please everyone.


Second on the comments list was that we’ve snubbed NTL users! This mostly seemed to come from the fact that the press release says the following:

It will roll out across cable platform Telewest first before appearing across digital satellite and Freeview in the next few weeks.

BBC Press Release: BBC unveils new look for BBCi

Yep, no mention of NTL at all.

Obviously I didn’t write the press release but I suspect the reason that NTL didn’t get a mention is because we don’t currently know when it will go live – we have a plan for satellite and Freeview, but for the NTL version, there needs to be some behind the scenes changes first and we currently don’t have a date for that work to be completed.

But the code is done and is just sat around waiting for its day in the limelight. Hopefully it won’t take too long.

Missing Icons

It appears a few people are missing those icons we used to put next to some links. We used to put them next to links to interactive programmes like Test The Nation. Unfortunately we found few people had any idea what they actually meant so we got rid of them.

The icons are down to the fact that BBCi is in effect two different departments – one which deals with the everyday text and video content, and another which does all the interactive programmes, so the original idea was to try and make some way of distinguishing between them, hence interactive programmes had a little i in a box icon next to them.

Except there was a problem. Few people knew what on earth it meant. Of course internally BBCi is two departments and two different kinds of products, but externally the public just see it as one big whole. Test The Nation is not really different in their eyes to News Multiscreen. So why have an icon for one and not the other.

Which is a fair point and it’s why the decision to try the new service without them was made.

And that’s that

So far the views have been reasonably good. Whether they’ll stay that way when we go for satellite and DTT/Freeview, well that really is another matter! We will see!