• Dixon-baxi-lead

    DixonBaxi: UKTV Yesterday Rebrand (mystery identity)

Graphic Design

This is "Y": We interview DixonBaxi about rebranding UKTV Yesterday

Posted by Catherine Gaffney,

Branding agency DixonBaxi’s been busy creating a new identity for UKTV Yesterday, which is set to launch on July 24 as a design refresh for the history-focused channel. The notion of “entertainment inspired by history” sparked DixonBaxi to produce something that was vivid, immersive, and iconically strong.

Using the letter “Y” as its centrepiece and anchor, the new identity ensures that it can succeed in a range of guises – be it fire, forest, concrete, or lacquer – and exist in tandem with other content or as a stand-alone visual. Here, Aporva Baxi answers our questions about the project, and shows us images of the work as it happened.

  • Dixonbaxi-5

    DixonBaxi: UKTV Yesterday Rebrand

  • Dixonbaxi-2

    DixonBaxi: UKTV Yesterday Rebrand

  • Dixonbaxi-4

    DixonBaxi: UKTV Yesterday Rebrand

  • Dixonbaxi-1

    DixonBaxi: UKTV Yesterday Rebrand

You’ve produced brand new identities for numerous different channels now, how do you keep your approach to the work fresh? 

We’ve actually developed over twenty channels – from MTV to VH1 to Movies Now in India and Kommersant in Russia, to major international channels for NBC Universal and, recently, UKTV Watch. For each we try to learn and develop something new and to figure out new ways of creating a seamless experience from the TV to off-air and mobile. Keeping fresh stems from the differences in content and the viewers, and of course a distinct positioning. There is always something that we try to make unique within each project – an idea, process, approach - and this then allows the work to remain fresh. We also like to collaborate with different artists and musicians to help that process feel different every time.

  • Dixonbaxi-7

    DixonBaxi: UKTV Yesterday Rebrand (flame identity)

  • Dixonbaxi-6

    DixonBaxi: UKTV Yesterday Rebrand (flame identity)

  • Dixonbaxi-8

    DixonBaxi: UKTV Yesterday Rebrand (forest identity)

  • Dixonbaxi-9

    DixonBaxi: UKTV Yesterday Rebrand (forest identity)

How do you go about giving a new personality to an already established brand?

Many times the brand we are working with has lost its way or is in need of new vision based on a business need, new content or product. So for us it’s about being really honest and seeing what works and what doesn’t. Sometimes going back to the beginning to ask why and then going through a strategic process which is still highly creative. Then working with the client to develop a new positioning, which we then bring to life.

Sometimes the client has already identified where they are going and it’s our job to  challenge that and invent a way to make this feel distinct. It stems from a simple, but strong idea that binds the brand and we typically start with a tone of voice. Language that starts to become a visual, aural, tactile expression. And we try to do that in such a way that there is a powerful visual force to the look.

Do you think you’ve become the go-to guys for TV channel branding?

It seems that way of late and we’re certainly enjoying the projects. But there are others that are doing excellent work in this space.

What are the challenges of creating work for a universal audience?

The hardest thing is to find what is unique about the brand and then be very focussed in delivering that. (It’s easier to be generic when talking to a broad audience.) But that is the aim of any good branding. In our case we try to deliver a distinct attitude and voice – not just a look. With many of the channels we make it’s about creating a narrative experience that feels immersive and true to the content. When the programming and tone of voice of the channel are truly aligned the result is a much more entertaining and engaging experience – moving from a channel to a brand which people come back to.

  • Dixonbaxi-making-of-3

    DixonBaxi: UKTV Yesterday Rebrand (making of)

  • Dixonbaxi-making-of-4

    DixonBaxi: UKTV Yesterday Rebrand (making of)

  • Dixonbaxi-making-of-1

    DixonBaxi: UKTV Yesterday Rebrand (making of)

  • Dixonbaxi-making-of-2

    DixonBaxi: UKTV Yesterday Rebrand (making of)

Why did you decide to make the “Y” three-dimensional?

We wanted to create a logo that felt as if it could have been made by civilisations past and we wanted something sculptural. An object rather than a graphic. Something iconic, pure and with presence. It was also about transforming the Yesterday brand and giving it a scale and power it lacked. While developing the identity we had always envisioned fabricating it out of different materials. The facets also create strong areas of light and shade and this is a subtle reference to how sunlight and shadow moves across similar iconic objects, buildings and monuments.

The audio experience in the spots is incredibly powerful, talk us though how you went about producing it?

We loved creating the audio for these idents. In this case the sound design is really important in providing a context to the action. We wanted the audio to feel cinematic and unlike typical channel audio which tends to sometimes be quite passive. 

We used a combination of dramatic almost hyper real sound design and music that adds weight and warmth. We started with the “Action” ident as we had a very clear idea of what this should feel like. We wanted the viewer to be immersed in the action – to be thrown head first into a warzone. We referenced the famous Saving Private Ryan beach scene as well as moments of sound design in the Hurt Locker to give us inspiration for the multi-layered explosions, gun shots, ricochets that are mixed into our sound design. Sounds were stretched and panned across to give a wider panorama to the experience. We worked with Massive Music to build these narratives and did that in live sessions to sculpt the best picture and sound design integration. Giving each ident distinctive texture.

For example, for the “Mystery” ident we wanted it to feel like uncovering an ancient tomb combined with the monolithic quality of the obelisk in 2001. “Forest” required a calmer, warmer approach. This helped differentiate the idents and let us work with the range of themes within the programming. Lastly, “Flame” needed to capture an immersive feeling of fire at the centre of man’s evolution and industry.

What’s the “Y” made from?

We were keen to make the “Y” feel like it had be hewn and crafted from solid materials. As if by artisans from another time. We worked with model makers Einsteins Octopus and looked at lots of materials that might work. Ultimately we settled on a set of four that worked with our theme for each ident. So for “Flame” we used copper sheeting folded around a computer cut “Y” which was then painted green, aged and distressed. The other “Y’s” were made from a solid piece of American Oak, another from concrete – the mixture of which was tested to provide the best explosive dust and debris. The fourth “Y” was made from a japanese lacquer effect which was produced using layers of lacquer and crackle glaze.

As each “Y” was to be filmed very close up they had to look perfect and so each was crafted as a beautiful object in its own right. Seeing them finally made really brought essence of the logo to life – a sculptural, iconic object that could have been made by civilisations past which has now been unearthed.

  • Dixonbaxi-12

    DixonBaxi: UKTV Yesterday Rebrand (shoot)

  • Dixonbaxi-13

    DixonBaxi: UKTV Yesterday Rebrand (shoot)

  • Dixonbaxi-10

    DixonBaxi: UKTV Yesterday Rebrand (shoot)

  • Dixonbaxi-11

    DixonBaxi: UKTV Yesterday Rebrand (shoot)

  • Dixonbaxi-14

    DixonBaxi: UKTV Yesterday Rebrand (shoot)

  • Dixonbaxi-15

    DixonBaxi: UKTV Yesterday Rebrand (shoot)

Portrait13

Posted by Catherine Gaffney

Catherine joined us as an editorial intern after studying at Trinity College Dublin and Central Saint Martins. She wrote for the site between June and August 2012.

Most Recent: Graphic Design View Archive

  1. List-0102-0103-0105-triptych-%c2%a9-david-shaw

    When the Design Museum planned its Women Fashion Power show, which opened last month, it was very much keen to take the “women” component seriously, appointing them to take care of both the exhibition design and graphics for the show. As such, it drafted perhaps one of the most famous women in design’s practices, Zaha Hadid Architects for the exhibition design; with Lucienne Roberts and her team (Dave Shaw and John McGill) at LucienneRoberts+ creating the graphics.

  2. List

    Based in Manheim, Germany, Deutsche & Japaner have a really great sense of what looks good. They have been on the site a couple of times for their stylish graphic design but this work for the Aesthetics Habitat project shows off a bit more of their own personality. The site is described as “a venture all about meeting objects with a personal interpretation, transforming its function and creating narratives” and in essence its curators invite creatives to respond to and reflect on their relationship with a favourite thing of beauty.

  3. List-flyers-for-the-institute-at-sexology.-photography-by-russell-dornan_-design-by-liam-relph-(3)

    London’s Wellcome Collection space always hosts explorations of the things that fascinate us most. It’s covered death, it’s exhaustively explored the human body in all its glory and grotesquery, and now it’s moved on to surely the most fascinating of all – sex, or more precisely, how people have studied it.

  4. List

    Brimming with sophistication and an understanding of what makes great design, Atelier Tout va bien’s portfolio is a glorious way to scroll away the day. The studio is made up of French design duo Anna Chevance and Mathias Reynoird, and it’s the pair’s editorial, poster and book design that really stands out.

  5. List

    The It’s Nice That team recently discussed which discipline we cover on the site would we most like to be brilliant at (it’s the kind of thing we do to wile away the final, dragging hours of these dark winter afternoons). After the appropriate amount of consideration (charts, cost/benefit analysis and the like) I plumped for book cover design and that led me down a little book-design-reminiscence and that led me back to Linda Huang.

  6. List

    Another day, another well-crafted, interesting identity for a topic that isn’t perhaps the most instantly exciting. This time, bringing us issues like “sustainable urban energy planning” and “urban transitions management” (we admit we’re not too sure what this means), is this identity for Sustain, by Filimonas Triantafyllou. Sustain is an academic platform to host discussions between different universities in Europe and Asia about their research into sustainability issues, and it’s refreshing to see Netherlands-based graphic designer Filimonas take such a pared-back, colourful approach to the subject matter. The graphical treatment uses different typographic word-marks for each of the topics being addressed, with each symbol reducing these rather complex issues into a simple motif.

  7. List

    Eschewing the usual white-paged minimalism, Berlin gallery Neumeister Bar-Am boasts a charming identity inspired by all things postage. The gallery is housed in an old Post Office space, and Slovenia-born, Berlin-based designer Neven Cvijanovic chose to look to its former home in designing the identity, using a colour scheme referencing that of the Deutsche Post. The flexible identity system uses icons that recall mail stamps that adapt to each show for use on invites; while other collateral like stationery and business cards are more pared-back. It’s great how the theme is subtle, yet direct – especially in little touches like the yellow tape.

  8. List-dunnamed

    Australian consultancy Sense designed the identity for this year’s Czech & Slovak film festival, which took place in Melbourne and Sydney, creating a look look inspired by the gorgeous hand-printed Czech film posters of the past. The festival was themed around the idea of “resistance”, as a nod to 2014 being the 25th anniversary of the non-violent “Velvet Revolution” in Czechoslovakia – a series of peaceful demonstrations against the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia that worked to end 41 years of Communist rule in the country.

  9. List

    If last week on the site was dominated by terrific Norwegian graphic design, then this week it’s the turn of Finland, and more specifically Kokoro & Moi to step into the spotlight. Teemu Suviala and Antti Hinkula’s studio has been going for 13 years now, and it’s always exciting to get wind of new updates on their site.

  10. List

    No matter how long it is since you left school, Monday morning can still bring back that sense of academic-induced dread. The Exercise Book by South London design agency Calm & Collected may well inspire similar reminiscence but all being well it’ll be of the warmly nostalgic kind rather than the “haven’t-done-my-homework-forgotten-my-PE-kit” pit of the stomach variety. The publication accompanied the group’s recent show LEARN and features hand-drawn graphics inspired by education across black and white, colour and risoograph pages.

  11. List

    Whenever we come across graphic design that features non-Latin script we are always aware of the immediate appeal that comes from these letterforms that are so different to our own. In this case though it’s hard to get round that, because Eric Hu’s A Thousand Characters is a very definite and deliberate celebration of these beautiful alien forms. It is comprised of 1,000 unique illustrations of each letter in a classical Chinese poem that has 1,000 non-repeating characters. “These were drawn with my mouse using a dynamic drawing application I had programmed in Processing then manipulated further in Photoshop,” Eric explains.

  12. List-2.-sign_sympton

    While certainly an innovative and useful tool, tech-based health tracking isn’t, perhaps, the most exciting concept. So it’s great to see the look and feel of a new health and technology platform use such playful, bold design cues. The Beautiful Meme has worked with illustrator Tal Brosh on this great look for Health Tech & You, a joint initiative between the Design Museum and AXA PPP, which looks at new breakthroughs in technology that tracks and monitors health.

  13. List

    A cute little one-eyed book reading a cute little two-eyed book greets us on the site of designer and illustrator Julia Boehme, offering an irresistible invitation to delve into her portfolio, which perhaps unsurprisingly, leans toward all things bookish. The wee anthropomorphised tomes also star alongside pretty girls reading books in some great work for Hungarian University of Fine Arts, for which she’s produced a small brochure explaining the four arts libraries in Budapest. Cuteness is very much the order of the day throughout her work, but she manages to stay just the right side of sickly. We love the simple, tongue-in-cheek Wes Anderson aesthetic of the Year Book project from 2011, which acts as another excuse for us to post some ludicrous, large-specs-based portrait photography.