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BBC: Global Visual Language

Neville Brody and Research Studios have collaborated closely with the BBC to redesign their online Global Visual Language (GVL) and take the organisation and its users into a more compelling digital space. At the heart of the project was the joint desire to bring joined-up cross platform concepts and experiences to users of and now and into the future.

Having been appointed after winning a competitive pitch in August 2009 by Head of User Experience and Design, Brownyn Van Der Mere, Research Studios worked closely with project lead Ben Gammon and teams gathered from across the BBC. Neville and the team have collaborated in a spectrum of design, interaction and strategic challenges. From working together on the strategy and philosophy of the project to the nuts and bolts of a GVL (typography, colour palette, iconography etc). Further work was contributed to look at interaction and developing compelling experiences within the new GVL. During the project Research Studios also worked with internal teams on News and Sport, Homepage, Search and Search Products, Embedded Media Player (EMP) Global Navigation and Mobile. The studio are currently in the process of consolidating all the work into a styleguide that can then be used across the organisation.

Neville Brody, creative director of Research Studios, comments;

“We are very proud to have helped create the new Global Visual Language for the BBC. This is probably the best job in the world! To have been so intrinsically involved in changing and growing the design and philosophy of the BBC’s digital offering has been amazing. To be asked to do this is a huge honour. The BBC is seen globally as a trusted source of information, and as a beacon of engineering and story-telling excellence.

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. To be part of that is mind-blowing.

The core approach has been to find a simple, modern and compelling experience based around dramatic and scalable editorial concepts.

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.

Over the last few months we have worked a huge amount of hours together and produced hundreds of in-depth explorations in order to arrive at what appears to be the simplest of solutions. 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 organisation in depth across differing and different BBC sites in order to expand the language and establish its scalability.”

The new GVL will not be an overnight rollout, but will begin to appear across core properties within over the next few months. The resources involved are massive and managing the process along with daily demands of the organisation are a challenging one but, Research Studios are confident that having worked in such a collaborative and inclusive way with internal teams, the BBC will be able to adopt, embrace and take forward the new GVL as it develops internally.

Much more on this story will be added over the coming weeks so check back here for the latest.

Global and local navigation

Grid structure

Selected fonts

Baseline grid

News page template

Drawers device and typographic styling

Colour wheel

Gradient usage guidelines

Neutral wheel

Colour usage guidelines

Embedded Media Player

Embedded Media Player


Dynamic content module and text links

Typography over images


BBC development work in progress

Posted: February 17, 2010

Tags: Art Direction, BBC, Digital,

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