ITV to launch new idents each week in 2019

A new project, ITV Creates, will see the channel broadcast idents by 52 artists over the course of 2019

ITV’s in-house agency ITV Creative teamed up with Charlie Levine – a curator and former Arts Manager at Camden Council – to find and commission UK-based artists for ITV Creates.

A new ident will be revealed each week in 2019 along with a film showing how it was made. Sculptor Patricia Volk, Turner Prize nominee Mark Titchner and photographer and filmmaker Ravi Deepres are among the first artists to have their work featured and each person has reinterpreted ITV’s logo using physical materials or installations.

ITV has also announced plans to dedicate a whole month to showcasing idents created by students, and will work with art schools around the UK to find and commission emerging talent.

Above and lead image: Patricia Volks’ ident for ITV

The project makes ITV the latest broadcaster to reinterpret its logo on-screen: Channel 4’s 2015 rebrand saw Lambie-Nairn’s iconic design deconstructed and broken down into blocks while BBC Two’s rebrand – which launched in September last year – features a more abstract take on the number two, replacing the fluffy character that was once a beloved part of the channel’s identity.

Commissioning artists to create idents isn’t a new phenomenon: MTV has been letting artists reinterpret its mark since the 1980s and CR and E4 launched E Stings to showcase work from emerging animators and creatives.

The broadcasting landscape has changed massively since the early days of MTV (and even E4), but commissioning idents from creatives remains an effective way to refresh a channel’s identity and reflect a wide range of content.

Ravi Deepres’ ident aired on ITV this week

Tony Pipes, ECD at ITV Creative, says the project began last year and was prompted by the launch of a new strategy – to be ‘More than TV’ – by new CEO Carolyn McCall. (Just this week, ITV announced the launch of a consumer magazine, an initiative also inspired by McCall’s strategy.)

“It was about ITV being a creative force and how this creativity can resonate and stay with an audience,” explains Pipes. “This ushered in an opportunity to look at the channel and how we could reflect this in how it was branded and how it behaved. We knew at once that a traditional set of ident films that stayed the same for years wasn’t going to do this.”

Of the idents released so far, ITV’s don’t feel quite as striking as BBC Two’s, but the channel will commission work from a wide range of talent over the course of the year. In a press release announcing the project, Levine said she was looking for artists with different ways of working to reflect “the diversity of the UK-based art scene”.

Mark Titchner’s ident will appear in the next few weeks

Beyond looking for a diverse group of people, Pipes says ITV Creative wanted to see idents with an element of human craft: “We were very sure that we wanted the pieces to be physical … with the hope that they could be exhibited,” he adds. “This led to more sculptural and installation-focused artists.”

ITV Creative and Levine have selected around six month’s worth of artists so far and the scheme will be opened out to universities in September. For each ident, ITV Creative will produce around five films, showcasing both the finished work and the process behind it. “These get shown over the week, so each artist gets a week [on-air] each,” Pipes explains.

ITV’s new on-air logo, created by ITV Creative and DBLG

ITV will publish blog posts on new idents and the artists behind them throughout the year at itv.com/itvcreates. Alongside the idents, ITV Creative worked with DBLG to create a new on-air logo for ITV (shown above). The cut-out design is made up of three layers and has a more tactile appearance.

With the growth of streaming platforms placing added pressure on traditional broadcasters, it’s little wonder we’re seeing the UK’s longest-running channels refresh their branding and look for new ways to engage viewers. ITV had a strong year in 2018, landing its biggest share of viewers in almost a decade, thanks in part to the success of I’m A Celebrity and England’s World Cup fixtures, but long established channels are having to work harder than ever to keep pace with newer rivals – something we discussed in this episode of the CR podcast.