Mechanical idents have been used since 1953 by broadcasters to distinguish between channels and to create an ‘identity’ or branding. The first idents were originally a clock face with the channels logo shown beneath it.
A more famous example of one would be the BBC revolving globe which was brought into service in 1963. Shown on display at The Box is an example of a surviving mechanical model for BBC1 South West which was originally brought into service in 1969. Displayed in black and white a small globe sits inside a cavity in the small wooden black box on a spindle which allows it to rotate on it’s axis like the planet itself. Behind the globe is a concave mirror, giving the viewer a wide angle view of theglobes surface. Labelled below the globe cavity is the BBC 1 South West branding in a white typeface with the letters being made up of lines. This small and almost crude box had a major role to play in nationwide broadcasting. The camera would be set facing the contraption and the mechanical workings of the ident box would be filmed in real time and broadcast live. Colour was later added electronically to the image. The popularity of this familiar and simple form of branding kept it going until 1984, with the exception of a blue and yellow colour scheme in 1974 by British graphic designer Sid Sutton.
The cultural impact of the ident has seen itdevelop into a variety of forms and mediums. With the rapid growth of Television and the increased viewership as accessibility increased these symbols became an integral mand core piece of design history.
Global Ambition, (no date) Available at
BBC Collections – Branding (no date) Available at
https://www.bbc.com/historyofthebbc/collections/branding (Accessed 27/10/21)