Once again this year, one television programme had us glued to screens. It’s been another season of not just summer, but love. Each night across the UK, viewers have been making sure they’re home for nine PM for Love Island, to tune into a villa in Mallorca where singletons cracked on, did bits, got texts and four final couples yesterday finally found love.
Beginning in 2005 before taking a break and returning in 2015, Love Island was just another reality TV show at first. It was reminiscent of romance finding shows like Blind Date, but with the added intensity of isolation like Shipwrecked and of course, Big Brother. On every evening other than Saturdays the British public – and the world – began to fall in love with the show too. It pulled in a loyal fanbase across generations and demographics proving particularly popular last year, a fact that continued in 2018. When the most recent season began in June of this year it attracted 4,050,000 viewers becoming the most watched multichannel programme since the 2012 Olympics.
As it has grown from a programme to an app, podcast and a series of spin-off shows, one studio – London-based Potion Pictures, has been entrusted with the typographic choices and logo designs prescribing how the general public would recognise (and gasp at) Love Island news.
Below, the studio gives us insight into the craft behind the graft.
Cracking on with the logo
The original Love Island logo, which remains the same typographically today, was designed by Potion Pictures’ director, David Newton. Its most recognisable element is its glassy like texture, allowing it to be placed on various different backgrounds but remain recognisable and legible. To achieve this, the font went through a treatment of “3D software so that it gets a kind of glassy emboss to it,” the studio’s creative producer, Mandy Smith, tells It’s Nice That. “It blends in really nicely, but it stands out on its own.”
The decision to lead with an almost see-through display text for the show was to answer the original brief that the show would “have young appeal and that seeing text messages on screen would be a big part of the format,” David Newton tells us. “We picked a font that was legible, sleek and modern but also recognisably distinctive without being gimmicky.”
Iterations of the logo also regularly sit next to a heart-shaped emblem shaken up with glitter, “originally a metaphor for the producers’ intention of stirring things up in the villa,” and so David saw the aesthetic benefits of having the type made out of glass too. “I pushed for the logo to be made of glass, partly to tie in with the glass heart, but also because I was a fan of ITV indents at the time, in which the colour was picked from the backgrounds.”
And so, the tubular glass mould spelling out Love Island we’ve come to recognise as it swipes across our screens, was set.
I’m happy with the background, but I could be happier
As mentioned by David and Mandy, a benefit of having the Love Island logo rendered to appear like glass would allow it to work across multiple backgrounds. In particular, viewers will recognise the classic island beach backdrop, actually updated after the second season to appear like “there was a party going on, pushing the colours more to make it feel warm, inviting and colourful” explains designer, Jessy Wang.
Placing a glass texture on top of these scenes allowed the designers to add details, picking up “the reflections and refractions of whatever background,” David points out. For instance, once he saw the beach footage shot by the promotional team, “we made a sky blue and sandy gold as the main colours for the show,” then developing a style guide to share with the wider team across spin-offs.
An issue with relying on backdrops is that Love Island’s logo can only be appreciated when something’s behind it and it became “more important than normal that the logo worked on its own as a silhouette,” David points out. Yet, due to Love Island’s beyond impressive growth in success, this initial attention to detail has paid off “as the franchise’s success has meant the logo has been replicated on everything from t-shirts to iPhone games.”
Secondary typeface society
Maybe even more recognisable than David’s glass logo is the secondary typeface which was more recently introduced titled Pecita. Originally designed by Phillippe Cochy, the addition of the curving scripted font was made by one of ITV’s art directors following the use of the font in the villa. Now, due to the fanatic buying of Love Island water bottles (it takes a reported two weeks for them to arrive due to demand), the use of the Pecita font is possibly more distinguishable than the logo itself.
“It’s unusual,” points out Mandy, “you wouldn’t expect the font for the logo, which is elegant with long ascenders and descends and a classic looking font, to work so well with something that’s a bit more squiggly and neon.” The pairing is now harmonious thanks to designer Jessy giving it a treatment which makes “the two like they belong together”. It’s Dani and Jack but in typographic form.
Although the font was pre-chosen for Potion Pictures, Jessy set to work in giving it that florescent neon feel, “almost like it’s made out of fluorescent tubing and animated to look that way as well,” says Mandy. However with such curved lettering to work with, Jessy admits that “some of the letters that come straight out of the font don’t look great for composition, or the kerning’s not right, so we have to go into 3D software and tailor it to make it feel a bit more fitting and bespoke to the layout,” she explains.
Potion Pictures were also tasked with the colour palette that Pecita would adopt across the programmes titles. As more spin-offs were introduced, this also included what colours the later show Aftersun, for example, would represent in comparison to the programmes’ podcast, The Morning After. To encourage the family of logos to make a cohesive design sensibility, the studio kept the ideas simple. Each spin-off logo uses a colour to describe what is happening. “Each is noted by the colour,” explains Jessy. “The Morning After uses this blue-y yellow like morning time, whereas Aftersun, where the gossip happens uses a neon pink to enhance the vibe.”
Now Love Island 2018 has drawn to a close, Potion Pictures are chuffed with another year of working closely with ITV. Speaking to them on the eve before the final yesterday, the studio admits the happenings in the villa, surrounded by Potion Pictures’ graphic design efforts, has been the daily topic at the lunch table. For who they wanted to win, it was obviously Dani and Jack, and with its history of working on ITV’s spin-off shows such as Chris and Olivia Crackin On, its fingers are crossed for one with this year’s king and queen.
About the Author
Lucy (she/her) is the senior editor at Insights, a research-driven department with It's Nice That. Get in contact with her for potential Insights collaborations or to discuss Insights' fortnightly column, POV. Lucy has been a part of the team at It's Nice That since 2016, first joining as a staff writer after graduating from Chelsea College of Art with a degree in Graphic Design Communication.