The Partners and Lambie-Nairn rebrand TV channel Arte

The new branding positions the Franco-German TV channel as “Europe’s cultural magnet”

Design agency The Partners has teamed up with sister agency Lambie-Nairn to create a new identity for arts and culture TV channel Arte.

Arte was launched in 1992 and is broadcast in France and Germany. The new branding is based around the idea of Arte being “a magnet for European culture” – curating great cultural content from across Europe for its viewers.

Brand idents created with production studio Found begin with an outline of a European map formed out of different objects including water droplets and stars. Objects are then pulled together as if by magnetic force to form the the Arte logo.

Category idents continue the magnetic theme and show various materials being drawn to Arte’s logo. Films represent different strands of Arte’s programming: an ident for its ‘concerts’ series features a drum kit and a guitar and another for its fiction programming shows letters being drawn from the pages of a script. There’s a playfulness to each film, enhanced through some clever sound design.

Shorter four second animations or ‘stings’ are more abstract but feature the same magnetic motion. Brightly coloured paint slides from a canvas and a group of irons glide across a white sheet towards the brand mark.

Typefaces Barna and Barna Stencil are used throughout promos and idents. Letters are broken up into parts and the pieces drawn together to form the names of shows. Titles also slide across the screen from right to left.

The Partners says the identity is designed to appeal to a broad audience and make Arte seem more accessible. Creative director Stuart Radford says previous branding had failed to reflect the breadth of the channel’s programming, leading to the perception that all of its content was “high brow”.

“The content is extremely diverse: some of it is extremely intellectual but some of it is more more accessible and to some degree, slightly more mainstream … and I think perhaps [the previous identity] wasn’t really portraying that,” he explains.

Arte’s identity had also become a little inconsistent over the years as different strands of programming had evolved. Categories from Arte Info (news programming) to Arte Cinema (film) had begun to develop their own look and feel.

The magnet concept gives the channel a flexible device that can be adapted to suit a broad range of programming in a similar way to Channel 4’s deconstructed logo. The concept can be used to create a diverse set of animations and keep viewers entertained in between shows.

“Arte is a bit like the BBC as it doesn’t have paid for advertising, so during those breaks it’s promoting its own content,” explains Radford. “You’ve got a one or two-minute break where you need consistency, but you also need pace and variety and contrast, so the theme had to give us enough flex in that regard.”

Idents feature a mix of CGI and live action footage and Radford says the aim was to create films with a stylised, graphic effect. Motion design reflects the force of a magnet, with content moving slowly at first and more quickly as it nears the logo. The pace of this movement can be subtly altered to suit different types of content.

Lambie-Nairn and The Partners opted for Stencil typeface Barna for its “warm” and friendly feel and because it comes in both stencil and regular cuts, allowing the team to break letters up into shapes.

It gives that variety that we need to create hierarchy … and by the nature of how it’s been crafted and cut, it is a little bit softer than a standard stencil font,” says Radford.

Radford says teaming up with Lambie-Nairn allowed The Partners to put together “the strongest possible team” for the project and draw on its sister agency’s experience of moving image and developing identities for broadcast.

“We have some experience in moving image and have worked on films for the BBC, but they have a vast amount of experience to pool from – from a technical perspective and with regards to the process and also creatively working in that area,” he adds. Radford was creative director on the project and worked closely with Lambie-Nairn producer Joanna Brock and design director Graeme Haig as well as Suzanne Neal, an account director at The Partners.

The cultural magnet concept will also be applied to digital and print communications.

The Partners and Lambie Nairn have worked with Arte’s digital team to create a new digital platform that launches next month. It has also worked with the brand to redesign its weekly monthly and weekly magazines. A new edition of the Arte magazine will feature a magnetic grid in which columns and gutters grow slightly wider from left to right.

It’s a simple concept but one that can be used to create a vast range of content, resulting in a much more consistent and engaging look and feel for the brand.

Project team

Cécile Chavepayre, Creative Director, Arte
Stuart Radford, UK Creative Director, The Partners
Joanna Brock, Producer, Lambie-Nairn
Graeme Haig, Design Director, Lambie-Nairn
Suzanne Neal, Account Director, The Partners
Sam Evans, Strategist, The Partners
Jonathan Brodie, Senior Designer, The Partners
Designers: Katie Morgan, Kev Lan, The Partners
Animators: Nathan Bayliss, Joe Maker, Julien Pietri, James Pykett, Lambie-Nairn
Brand idents: Found Studio
Sound design: Echoic

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