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Channel 4 - The Logo




Channel 4 was the first TV station in Britain to embrace computer technology fully for its main logo and idents.  In fact when the elaborate animated logo for Britain's fourth TV network was designed by a London company in 1982, no computer firm in Britain had equipment that was sufficiently sophisticated to create the effect.  So the job of generating its components, making them look three-dimensional and colour-textured, was given to a company in Los Angeles.  Then the graphics were returned to London and animated there.  The finished image consisted of a number of multi-coloured, solid looking segments which appeared to fly in view.  They whirled around, orbiting each other - then fell into place as the figure 4.  

It was the first in Britain to fully use computer technology although many had embraced the technology partly to create computer animated effects.

Tyne Tees is a good example with the feedback effect being computer generated to form the Tyne Tees text at the bottom of the ident.

Channel 4 also remarkably had many variants to the forming "4" logo, with the blocks spinning, or the blocks breaking up, to form later from a different angle.  Channel 4 signified that computer generated graphics were here to stay on British screens.

Later examples of computer generated idents include the highly recognised Grampian ident, still acclaimed as one of the best UK idents ever.

Nowadays, practically everything is computer generated, blocking out "old-techniques" such as chromakey and hand drawn animation.  However computer animation is not always acclaimed for what they are.  The 1999 ITV Generic look is graphically superb, however it is not ideal in everybody's hearts.

A balance always needs to be struck, and this was obviously done well with Channel 4's ident, it lasted for 14 years as its main ident sequence, and the logo itself is still going strong.

Channel 4's next main computer generated effort came in the form of the ITV schools crossover from ITV to Channel 4 in 1987.  Many people praised this animation at the time, some saying it was better than Channel 4's main ident.  It seemed that whatever Channel 4 could do presentation wise, they would be praised in every move (to be proved against through the introduction of the "4 Coffee Stains" in 1996)

However, Channel 4 had introduced itself well into an inferior market (at the time), mainly with the use of a new technology and an ident that will go down in ident history forever.

Idents     |     Regional     |     Your Thoughts

with reference to Reader's Digest - How Is It Done?

Last Updated: February 11, 2020