Prepare to be engrossed by Channel 4’s fantastic looping idents

Though each ident is confined to a small block in the 4 logo, 4Creative covers huge ground with its scenes of life in Britain.

14 June 2023


Channel 4 is not done shaking up its visuals just yet. A month after a major rebrand with Pentagram, bringing focus back to its original Lambie-Nairn logo, the channel is launching a completely new set of idents, put together by its in-house agency 4Creative in collaboration with Art Practice and Love Song.

The concept is to “create a tapestry of modern British society” through 25 unique looping scenes, which make up a total of five idents, a release says. Though this is an idea UK broadcasters and channels are known for toying with when it comes to idents, Channel 4 has tapped into genuinely fresh territory with its execution and in the variety of scenes present, from the action-packed to the more mundane. Among them is a snapshot of an urban fox in a telephone box, footage of Nowruz, the Zoroastrianism New Year, and a group of high-school leavers on the last day of term.

The idents also vary hugely in style, jumping between live-action, animation and full CG. Seventeen independent creatives, artists and filmmakers were commissioned to create scenes; each were invited to respond to an open brief interpreting one of five themes – Identity, The Land, System, Release and Love. This led to over 500 initial ideas, which were then narrowed down to the final 25. The scenes are unified by a cohesive visual system. Each ident features a fixed camera pan, housed inside one of the famous Lambie-Nairn blocks in the 4 logo.


4Creative / Art Practice / Love Song: Channel 4 idents (Copyright © Channel 4, 2023)

“Our idents reach 50 million people in the UK every month, so we wanted to represent all of us, the rich diversity of our nation, our communities and our passions,” says Zaid Al-Qassab, chief marketing officer at Channel 4. “This is not only a representation of Channel 4, this is the most viewed piece of public art in the UK, that will be seen for many years to come, so it was important to us that it spoke to everyone. Whoever you are, we hope you will find something that speaks to your heart.”

The idents build on the rebrand launched last month, positioning the 4 mark as a traveller through which audiences can access different worlds of content. The final films feature over 70 people, many of them real families, couples and friendship groups. A one-off film has been created to launch the idents with specially commissioned work from British writer John Joseph Holt.

“The Channel 4 idents have a long history of visual excellence and as a marker for British creativity,” says Lynsey Atkin, Channel 4 executive creative director. “We hope that this new set builds on this legacy and delights viewers many times over, with everyone finding a loop that feels like home to them. The idents at their purest represent the unbreakable spirit of Channel 4 – of diversity, challenge and creative risk – and it has been a true labour of love bringing these idents to life with so many brilliant and varied directors and artists. We can’t wait to see them out in the world.”

Gallery4Creative / Art Practice / Love Song: Channel 4 idents (Copyright © Channel 4, 2023)

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4Creative / Art Practice / Love Song: Channel 4 idents (Copyright © Channel 4, 2023)

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About the Author

Liz Gorny

Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. In January 2023, they became associate editor, predominantly working on partnership projects and contributing long-form pieces to It’s Nice That. Contact them about potential partnerships or story leads.

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