Room 101

Last updated: 30th October 2019.

On this page, we highlight examples of broadcast graphic design, branding, set design or marketing that we believe fall short of the mark.

If you’d like to draw our attention to a piece of work that you believe would qualify for inclusion on this page, drop us a line (contact details are at the bottom of the page).

Items are listed in no particular order.

If an improved version of any of the items on this page is brought into regular use on air, we’ll happily reassess and allow the item to exit Room 101, where appropriate.

1. BBC Wales Today

Although the titles are a decent enough re-interpretation of the concepts from the original 2008 Lambie-Nairn-produced national and regional sequences, the closing board is rather disappointing.

The heavy font weight for ‘WALES’ is not terribly easy on the eye. The (horizontal) misalignment of the BBC News Wales badge and programme title looks very clumsy. Granted, BBC London News and BBC Spotlight did something similar with the previous version of their respective titles – but that doesn’t make it right.

The vertical positioning of the red logo badge also looks odd against the other elements – particularly where the base of the landmass sits.

2. BBC Newsline

On Monday 14th October 2019, BBC Newsline finally adopted the BBC Reith on-screen graphics that went live in other regions in mid-July 2019. However, the programme’s titles and endboard hadn’t been updated. On Tuesday 15th October 2019, the new endboard appeared. And on Friday 18th October 2019, the updated opening titles were launched. The Gill Sans titles and sting continue to turn up on some editions of BBC Newsline.

The phased and ‘here one day gone the next’ implementation of the new components is undoubtedly sloppy. But let’s take a look at the individual elements in more detail.

The titles and endboard first. We have the same issues here regarding the positioning of the programme title and logo badge that we recorded (above) for BBC Wales Today.

But BBC Northern Ireland didn’t create new titles – instead, they’ve attempted to overlay the new BBC Reith elements. If you look very carefully at the opening titles, you’ll see the old Gill Sans font in some of the frames. And you’ll also see an area of white close to the new logo badge, which is hiding the previous BBC News NI logo.

The addition of all that social media text on the endboard has been described to us by one designer as “hideous”. We tend to agree. The close proximity to the base of the landmass is quite untidy.

On Friday 25th October 2019, the alignment issue with the programme title and logo badge was corrected (6.30pm programme):

However, the old Gill Sans titles, as well as the Reith version 1 titles appeared again subsequently.

The lower-thirds and location bugs seem to have been implemented reasonably well. However, presumably due to the fact that some permutations of the lower-thirds require the programme title to be positioned slightly further up (e.g., the ‘Breaking News’ straps), the programme DOG has been moved from bottom left of screen to top right, in a 4:3 safe spot. Although the brightness of the DOG was reduced initially, it was later increased slightly.

We suspect that most people found the DOG reasonably innocuous in its previous position. However, top right of screen has made it stand out a lot more and it is definitely an unwelcome visual distraction.

We’re not even sure why BBC NI feels the need for a DOG (they’ve had one on this programme since May 2002)? There are plenty of verbal references to “BBC Newsline” throughout the programme and numerous on-screen appearances courtesy of the lower-thirds. No other BBC regional news programme has one. It seems so unnecessary.

On the week beginning 28th October 2019, the DOG was shifted further to the right. It had moved back to its 14th October position on Wednesday 30th October 2019.

RELATED PAGE: we track the usage of old branding elements on BBC Newsline.

3. BBC Logo Watch

There have been many examples of mocked up BBC logos being broadcast by the BBC over the years. We’ve been tracking the issue in a dedicated article: