Happy Ending upends the conventions of cricket with an ASCII identity for BBC Sport

After being “quite shocked” at the route the BBC picked, Happy Ending Agency says the decision proves BBC Creative’s skill in moving the channel ever forward.

3 August 2023

The brand and communications agency Happy Ending Agency has worked with BBC Creative on an identity to accompany all BBC cricket coverage, one that would connect with passionate cricket lovers, while ushering in a younger generation of fans. Happy Ending were keen to counter some of the traditionalism of cricket with a modern graphical world; one that celebrates the sport, but also tries something new and unexpected.

The agency based the design system around traditional scoring iconography, bringing it to life with bold motion design and an electric colour palette. Lead designer Ioan Davies says that “every layer of the identity focused on embedding the design language within the cricketing world, allowing us to make everything from cool ASCII 3D textured models to multilayered motion assets all connected through one DNA.”


Happy Ending: BBC Sport Cricket (Copyright © Happy Ending / BBC, 2023)

The identity had to be malleable as the design system needed to be used across TV, online streaming platforms and social, in pre-planned marketing content like TV ads, and also in real-time for live reporting events. From a technical aspect, it was vital that everything was “super lightweight”, says Ioan, so that the teams at BBC Creative and BBC Sport can create new content quickly. Happy Ending created a design system that was “changeable”, with hundreds of individual assets to ensure a diverse future roll out.

Stylistically, Happy Ending creative director Ross Popejoy recalls feeling surprised at the BBC’s chosen direction. “We were actually quite shocked at the route the BBC picked especially with the traditional connotations around Cricket, but for us it just goes to show that BBC Creative is there to not just create wallpaper but to move the BBC forward not only creatively but also in the engagement with their audiences.”

The identity first aired during the recent Ashes series between England and Australia. Ross outlines how positive the reception has been with lots of interest from across the globe. “It’s always an amazing challenge trying to talk to different audiences and across such a huge scope of executions, but we believe that this identity does just that with bucket loads of personality.”

GalleryHappy Ending: BBC Sport Cricket (Copyright © Happy Ending / BBC, 2023)

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Happy Ending: BBC Sport Cricket (Copyright © Happy Ending / BBC, 2023)

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About the Author

Olivia Hingley

Olivia (she/her) joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in November 2021 and soon became staff writer. A graduate of the University of Edinburgh with a degree in English literature and history, she’s particularly interested in photography, publications and type design.

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