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The Design and Purpose of Television Idents

Density of Information
After looking at various different popular televisions stations and their
Idents, it is clear that television stations use a range of techniques to
communicate their ident to an audience. Some stations include more
channel and programme information than others as numerous methods
are used by television channels to advertise their station.
Even though all channels use a different approach in terms of their Idents,
almost all television channels advertise an upcoming programme by
including an extract or short- clip of that programme within their Ident.
This is done to try and engage the audience and interest as many people
as possible to watch their channel.
More often than not, television idents consist
of nothing more than the name of the
television station and the logo alongside it.
Relatively large television stations tend to use
this simplistic method of limiting the amount
of information that is displayed on screen so
that the audiences main focus is on the name
of the station and the logo. This is effective as
the audience has no other choice but to look
at the TV channels logo and name.
In contrast to this, other televisual idents use an almost opposite
technique to limiting information on a TV ident. Some television stations
virtually try to create a storyline behind their idents by including various
animations and sketches that have no real relation to the television
station and their identity.

Space and Time

The amount of time on screen that an ident gets is dictated by a host of
circumstances. First of all, the television station will ultimately determine
when and where the ident will be shown. For example, national television
station BBC have no advertisements in-between programmes, therefore,
must showcase their idents just before the start of television shows and

when the programmes conclude. This means that the BBC have quite a
small timescale slot to fit idents that they create as they are only able to
show idents at very specific times.
Conversely, other television stations such as Comedy Central and ITV
show television advertisements regularly. This means that stations like
these have a more open schedule to dictate where and when to display
their idents. As well as showing them at the beginning and at the finish of
various shows, by including systematic advertisements TV stations can
choose to show their idents in the middle of television shows on the
advert break.
Television stations such as Comedy Central tend to design their idents
with more visual and audio content as they are more flexible with their
showing times of advertisements. In addition to this, these also tend to be
the idents that are the most expensive to develop and the most time
consuming to produce. This is because the idents are more detailed and
can include various special effects and CGI animation.

Screen Tempo
The overall tempo of a television ident must be kept to a reasonable pace
to ensure that the audience keeps its interest throughout. Idents that are
too slow could run the risk of completely losing the audiences attention
and make some change the station they are watching all together.
However, making the idents tempo too fast could mean that the audience
fail to understand the ident and confuse them.
Idents with a faster tempo are usually created for youth orientated
television stations such as the one previously mentioned Comedy
Central. This is done to keep the attention of younger people who tune in
to television stations targeted towards them. A slower tempo ident would
not be appropriate for these kind of TV stations as the large majority of
the audience would lose interest and would not appeal to them.

However, slow tempo idents can be effective when showed to the suitable
audiences. Idents shown on television stations such as BBC 4 target a
much older array of people and tend to be a lot slower pace when
compared to idents targeted at younger viewers. These type of idents are
just as effective at advertising a TV stations identity than fast paced
idents when designed in the correct way.
Slow pace idents tend to be minimalistic in terms of the amount of
information and detail that they include. They can also include CGI
animation as well as special effects but only use them on a limited basis
and do not go over- board.
On the other hand, BBC 4 in particular dont often use CGI animations in
their idents. Instead, they opt to include more natural themes and settings
for their idents which sets a more mellow mood, which is fitting for the
more mature audiences they are targeting.

Interaction with Viewers

In general, television idents do not interact with the audience on the same
scale that other advertising formats do, such as common multimedia
advertising. This does not mean to say that televisual idents cannot
interact with audiences on other levels.
A good example of an interactive television ident would be Channel 4,
E4 or BBC 3. Because of the limited capabilities when it comes to TV
idents, interactive idents do not co- operate with the viewer outright.
Instead, they use the short time they have on screen effectively and make
the viewer watch carefully to understand the ident and openly decide
what the ident is about as there are usually numerous ways in which the
ident could be interpreted.
As seen here, this Channel 4 ident begins by showing different lights and
attractions within a city. Then as the ident progresses the iconic 4 logo
comes into the screen with various city signs and advertising billboards
making up each segment of the 4. There are numerous ways I which this
can be interpreted at first as it is not clear what exactly is happening in
the ident until near the very end when the whole 4 logo is in picture.

Information led
Television Idents that are information
driven tend to include more material
on what programmes are on at
certain times, instead of an ident
that chooses to amuse the audience.
Channels such as BBC 1 and 2 have
been broadcasting Informative idents
for several years as they no longer required to create entertainment led
idents that are generally used to boost brand exposure of a channel and
increase overall audience viewing statistics.
Informative idents dont include much when it comes to the aesthetic
design and overall theme of the ident. This is because the informative
idents aim is to give as much advice in small space of time about popular
programmes on that channel.

Entertainment led
As oppose to information led idents,
entertainment targeted idents are used
by channels that are aiming to improve
their viewing numbers and grow brand
awareness. These idents are much higher
tempo and faster flowing in terms of the overall theme when compared to
information led idents. This is to try to keep the audience interested and
engaged throughout the ident so that the viewers are thoroughly exposed
to the brands identity.
In addition to this, these types of idents often contain much more vivid
colour and imagery in terms of the aesthetic design of the ident. As well
as this, background music is generally used on top of this to maintain the
audiences attention and is suited to the pace of the ident that is shown so
that the music does not feel out of place.
The channels logo is often shown repeatedly throughout an entertainment
led ident and the ident overall is generally themed around and focused on
the logo of the television station.
Entertainment led idents are used effectively when targeted at younger
viewing audiences because of their low density of information and fast
tempo, as this generally tends to interest younger people. Television

stations such as BBC 3 and Dave are good examples of the use of
entertainment led idents as they have been creating them for the past
few years.

A television ident is one of the most common and effective ways to
expose a TV channels identity. This could be because there are very few
alternatives to advertising a channels identity and increasing brand
awareness. A televisual ident should be targeted to exactly the same
audience that the TV channels programmes are targeted towards. This is
so that the programmes themselves have a relevant audience
demographic to help increase viewing numbers.
However, If the ident and the programmes that the channel is showing
are themed differently and are aimed at a completely separate set of
demographics than the overall channels identity
can become lost, which could in turn decrease
the channels viewing numbers.

One of the main purposes of a televisual ident is to increase overall brand
awareness of the channel that the ident is shown for. This means that the
ident is supposed to attract an audience that is suitable for the channel
and the programmes broadcasted on that channel. If this is done correctly
than the channel will eventually boost its general brand exposure.

Upon the conclusion of television idents, the aim is for the audience to
clearly recognise the channels logo which should be designed to be as
memorable as possible.
The ident should represent the overall theme and morals of the channel
that it is designed for as well as what the brand
stands for in terms of the television companies

As mentioned previously, the main purpose of televisual idents is to either
increase the overall brand awareness of the channel of to inform the
audience about upcoming and new programmes. Idents that increase the
brands exposure are normally used by channels that are yet to establish
themselves as a globally recognisable station. On the other hand, TV
idents that are designed to inform the audience on programmes shown on
a certain channel are broadcasted by much larger well established brands.
A good example of this are TV stations like the BBC which covers multiple
television channels.
It is important to market the idents shown on certain channels to the
same demographic as the programmes shown on that same channel. This
is so that the idents and the programmes attract the same demographic
of viewers which in turn increases the overall amount of views for that
Some channels choose to slowly evolve their idents to try and attract a
wider range of viewers for their channel. However, if idents are altered too
quickly then the idents can seem out of place and no longer suitable for
the channel and the programmes that
they broadcast.

Most television idents are created using a standard technique that can be
and are used for multiple channels. This standard format in which the
majority of idents are created tend to use various media assets such as
the stations logo, background audio and the TV channels name.
Many channels that are broadcasted globally on TV are owned by a much
larger corporation that are in control of numerous assets such as the
funding that certain channels receive and who the channels are marketed

towards. However, the channels do not advertise the name of the

company that they are owned by. This could be because the parent
company of television channels simply do not want to be publicly known,
for a number of reasons, and instead choose to control TV channels and
the brands identity from a distance.
The idents that are designed by these channels should still follow the
marketing objectives of that company, which
usually includes boosting brand awareness
and audience viewing figures.

The re-packaging of a televisual ident is used by relatively large scale TV
companies that are currently established in the media industry. These
types of idents can be classed as novelty or a one- off from the usual
idents that are broadcasted on a certain station. Also, re-packaged idents
can seem to be more interactive with the viewer, making it unique to each
Re-packaged idents contain a very low density of information when
compared to other standard idents. This is because of the interactive and
entertaining theme of the re-packaged idents that are not made to
provide information or even increase brand awareness to the viewer, but
instead are televised for amusing the audience.

As well as using a TV ident for numerous marketing purposes previously
mentioned, an ident can purely be used to uphold a channels schedule
and be used as a gap- filler between programmes and advertisement
Some information led idents also include a narrator which sometimes
informs the audience on what programme is on next on that channel and
also help advertise a new or exclusive programme that will be
broadcasted on that channel.

Segmentation within

Channels that are as large as the BBC do not include regular

advertisement breaks during the broadcasting of their programmes.
Instead, they utilise television idents extensively to help promote
upcoming and new content, as well as even entertaining their audiences
for a short period of time before the following programme begins. BBC
idents in particular can be over 30 seconds long when programmes
conclude. This gives time for the ident to provide relevant information to
the viewer about programmes on
the same channel and other BBC
affiliated stations.

Comparison of TV idents
There are a number of different ways in which a TV ident could be created
with each individual station having their own identity and theme of idents.
Channel 4 have broadcasted numerous idents in similar ways. Most of
Channel 4s idents are designed to be interactive and entertaining to the
audience. But, with the use of a narrator channel 4s idents aim to also
provide programme information to the audience.
One of the channel 4 idents that is shown here uses visual perception to
interact with the viewer to make the illusion of the 4 floating.

Similarly, to channel 4, BBC 3s

idents are also targeted towards the
younger demographic of people as
channel 4. This means that their
idents are also usually created to
entertain and interact with the
However, in contrast to channel 4, BBC 3 idents often include vivid colour,
imagery and various visual attractions to fascinate the younger
demographic audience.
The ident displayed here uses various colour co-ordinated patterns as the
backdrop theme with the BBC 3 logo and name standing out in the
foreground of the ident.

In contrast to both of these idents, BBC 4

create idents that are purely made to
inform the audience instead of being
entertaining and interactive. This is
because BBC 4s audience demographic
is completely different to that of BBC 3
and Channel 4, so the idents must be
suited to what the channel broadcasts.
This means that BBC 4 must create their idents to suit an older
demographic of people when compared to Channel 4 and BBC 3 in order
to maintain their viewing figures.
Unlike BBC 3, BBC 4 include a narrator to inform the audience of
programmes of the channel and provide extra information on the channels
future schedule.
The BBC 4 ident I have chosen here is fairly straight-forward
to understand and simple when compared to the previous 2
idents. This ident includes a simple background
made up of several flowers with the annotation
Channel of the year. In addition to this the
BBC 4 logo is displayed in the centre of the
screen with the narrator providing information
on channel programmes.