FROM THE ARCHIVE OF: The TV Room
In February 1991, BBC One launched a new on-screen identity, designed by Martin Lambie-Nairn and Daniel Barber.
It was a further evolution of BBC One’s longstanding globe symbol.
Until the mid-1980s, the various incarnations of the globe were physical models, with a camera pointed at them.
In February 1985, advances in technology revolutionised the globe. A collaboration between BBC graphics and computing departments and designer Oliver Elmes resulted in the much-loved, fully electronic COW (Computer-Originated World).
With the high standard set in 1985, where could the designers possibly take the globe next?
The 1991 design was a rather more abstract take on the globe. The continental land masses were still there but not as obvious as before. This was a word of shadows, reflections and smoky CGI effects. A new stylised ‘1’ sat prominently within the globe.
The simplicity and clarity of the 1985 symbol led some to regard the 1991 update as a retrograde step. But the Lambie-Nairn/Barber design had many fans too.
One characteristic of the 1991 globe that surprised many presentation enthusiasts – and which most only learned about many years after it was decommissioned – was that it was actually a mechanical model.
Here’s a brief video clip, featuring the designers and some behind-the-scenes footage of the mechanical model.
Many thanks to the Rewind reader who donated the clip.
PICTURED: BBC One ident (1991 - 1997). COPYRIGHT: BBC.