New visual language for BBC online

A new ‘global visual language’ for the BBC’s online activities by Research Studios is set to be rolled out over the next few months. We have a selection of images from their ongoing work for the network

Dynamic content module with text links

A new ‘global visual language’ for the BBC’s online activities by Research Studios is set to be rolled out over the next few months. We have a selection of images from their ongoing work for the network…

The project, won by the studio in August last year, apparently stems from an intention to unify cross-platform concepts – over both and – and consolidate all design elements, such as typography, colour palette and iconography, into a style guide for the organisation.

News page (left) and embedded player (top right) on baseline grid

From the examples of work that the studio released today, it seems an extensive undertaking, with new grids, templates and fonts emerging, making for much cleaner page layouts. It also suggests a more dynamic approach to incorporating type ontop of imagery and a desire to use ‘carousels’ of scrollable content and some neat-looking embedded media players.

Grid structure

Research Studios worked with the BBC’s various internal teams (including head of user experience and design, Brownyn van der Merwe, and project lead, Ben Gammon) on News and Sport, Homepage, Search and Search Products, Embedded Media Player (EMP), Global Navigation and Mobile.

News page template

“To have been so intrinsically involved in changing and growing the design and philosophy of the BBC’s digital offering has been amazing”, says RS creative director, Neville Brody. “This point in time is a major juncture not only for the BBC but also for all media publishers, and the new ways in which we will embrace and use information and entertainment in the future are being evolved and invented right now.”

‘Drawers’ device with various typographical styling

“The core approach has been to find a simple, modern and compelling experience based around dramatic and scalable editorial concepts,” continues Brody. “Today, BBC online is an extraordinarily expansive offering with over 400 top-level sites, and this is a clearly a work in progress. I envisage more and more inventions and nuanced ideas coming into play as the project evolves and the design starts to reach into the distant corners of the map.”

Concepts for using type on imagery

“Together with the BBC we have to-date established the central philosophy and core building blocks or DNA, and, we hope, to continue to work closely with the organization in depth across differing and different BBC sites in order to expand the language and establish its scalability.”

As part of the style guide created for the BBC online, Research Studios came up with the following colour wheel and neutral wheel (whites, greys and blacks), gradient usage and colour usage guidlines:

And here’s the series of icons created for use on all the BBC’s online channels:

The studio will add more work as it’s completed to over the next few months.

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