Though the BBC was created in 1922, a formal BBC brand did not evolve until fairly late in the corporation's history. Initially, a mix of straight type or decorative design motifs were used – see for example the elaborate tracery of the initials found on the mosaic floor of the original reception of Broadcasting House (opened 1932).
This logo would appear before such programmes as Quartermass II.
The first attempt at a proper brand image came in 1953, when Abram Games was commissioned to design an on-air image, probably hastened by the imminent arrival of commercial competition. Games, who designed the logo for the Festival of Britain in 1951, created the logo nicknamed the 'Bat's wings' logo, an elegant and rather ethereal image which captured the spirit of the times. In reality, it was an elaborate mechanical brass contraption, with a tiny spinning globe in its centre – for BBC Scotland, the spot in the middle was replaced by a lion.
By the early 1960s, the 'Bat's Wings had been superseded by the BBC TV logo within a circle, behind which would appear a map of Britain split into broadcast regions. This set the style for a succession of circular images, which became the BBC's recognisable on screen identity.
The channel's most famous emblem, the globe, appeared in its first guise on 30 September 1963. The first such ident featured the continuity announcer speaking the words 'This is BBC Television' over a spinning globe while a BBC TV caption would appear.
A big publicity campaign was mounted to launch the new channel, using the rather playful symbol of a kangaroo with a baby in its pouch, with the even more unlikely names of Hullabaloo and Custard (visuals drawn by artist Desmond Marwood). The evening of the launch was famously marred by a power failure in West London, and at one point candles even appeared on the screen.
The first colour pictures in the UK were broadcast by BBC2 in 1967 when it covered Wimbledon, to be followed by BBC1 in 1969. Then BBC 1 introduced the first version of the now famous 'mirror globe' – a rotating globe with a flat globe as visual behind it. The inclusion of the word 'colour' in the station ident could be
viewed as a subtle reminder to the vast majority of the rest of the viewers still watching in black and white to buy a colour TV set. This BBC 1 colour globe was frequently seen in Monty Python's Flying Circus, which featured spoof continuity announcements.
in the 1980s, the futuristic stripy lettering was introduced for BBC 2 (designer, Oliver Elmes). In terms of its manufacture, this was a major departure – in that it did not use a model nor did it exist on film. Instead, the symbol was played out from a solid state device, which could produce both a static image and a moving
sequence. The BBC 2 logo animation lasted four seconds, and showed both logo and stripes appearing and then magically disappearing. This logo was seen in spoof continuity announcements in series such as Not the 9 o'clock News and The Young Ones.
In 1988, mainly because of growing commercial competition, the BBC decided it needed a stronger, more unified corporate brand image – to be used on and off air, and across all its commercial product. The new image (designer, Michael Peters) looked back to the traditional BBC logo but updated it by slanting the boxes and adding three coloured flashes unbderneath the logo blocks. The latter colours represented the phosphors on a colour television (the primary colours of light).
change in BBC One Controller saw the BBC One balloon image replaced by a sequence of new idents, 'Rhythm & Movement', featuring a new multi-cultural theme, with a range of dancers dancing to different musical styles. Some viewers
accused the BBC of being overtly politically correct, as one of the dance numbers involved disabled dancers in wheelchairs, while other users were dismayed that the longstanding globe motif had been abandoned after 39 years.
After six years, the idents were replaced by a new circular motif, with content much more diverse than previously seen: swimming hippos, motorbike stunt riders, kites, and surfers. Launched in 2007, the then BBC One Channel Controller, Peter Fincham saw the new branding as both a clear recognition of the BBC brand story and of the channel's heritage as well as a new symbol of people coming together – in the way that BBC One brings audiences together.
The first addition to the set came on Saturday 16 June and was seen before - what else - Doctor Who! This imaginitive sequence features a space craft crash-landing on the moon, releasing its own roving probe which forms the BBC One circle.