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Designing to engage a television audience: how are different media used in TV ident creation?

Iain Macdonald (School of Arts & Creative Industries, Edinburgh Napier University, Edinburgh, United Kingdom)

Arts and the Market

ISSN: 2056-4945

Article publication date: 5 October 2015




The purpose of this paper is to illustrate how designers attempt to engage audiences through different media in TV idents; and to explore how the human mark (such as drawing and model making) in a hybrid with digital media can not only revitalise traditions in design, but also the reception of illusion in this context.


The study focuses on the work of RedBee Media, a company that has a global market and reputation. The phenomenology of how BBC Three and BBC 2 Christmas were rebranded was examined through interviews with the designers and animators involved. Taking a media industry studies lens to examine an art/technology divide the author will expand the visual culture theory of Manovich’s (2007) metamedium.


The influence of technology on television graphic design is contested and continual. Designers might begin to question rather than rely on technology through the process of design. They can confront generic software solutions and apply more critical skills to explore fusions of heritage and digital processes in a metamedium.

Research limitations/implications

This research was focused on a UK broadcaster and a single UK creative agency with a global influence. Future research should examine leading creative practice in other international markets.

Practical implications

The significance of this research is in understanding the materiality and creativity in the artform of TV idents and how designers attempt to engage audiences through different media.


Academics in media and design history are acknowledging the cultural significance of television branding. Design practitioners need to understand why and how in the work of others.



Macdonald, I. (2015), "Designing to engage a television audience: how are different media used in TV ident creation?", Arts and the Market, Vol. 5 No. 2, pp. 139-153.



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Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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