How ITN rolled out its first major rebrand since 1969

Rudd Studio and Undivided share the process of repositioning the de facto television production company as a “global production powerhouse.”

ITN’s rebranding aims to reflect its evolution from “a former UK news organization to a global player in news, facts, sport, education and branded content” with a new animated logo that responds to its surroundings.

Founded in 1955, ITN is well known for its news programmes, current affairs series and digital services across the ITV network, Channel 4 and Channel 5. However, the company today has multiple divisions across all TV sectors including business, education, Newsrooms and News Production, Post-production, Productions and Sports.

Rudd Studio was suggested for the pre-pandemic rebrand by ITN’s Head of Brand Communications, Ben Haynes, following the strength of the studio’s ITV rebranding in 2012. Founder Matthew Rudd suggested a partnership with Undivided after speaking to ITN and noting “you had to think strategically” about the future of the manufacturing company. In addition to Undivided’s Stefan Terry and Laura Farrell, Rudd has collaborated with animator Oscar González-Diez, print designer Iancu Barbarasa, and graphic designer Eleanor Ridsdale Colussi.

Rudd explains that the Undivided team’s “clear thinking and understanding of where ITN has been in the past and where it’s going in the future” made developing a direction for the visual identity “very clear”.

Development of Undivided’s ITN logo on Vimeo.

While ITN is known for its “truth and trustworthiness,” he explains, it became clear that his work also had “emotional intelligence and a kind of humanity,” with early innovations including pioneering use of live and on-screen news anchors, employing reporters and presenters, and producing coverage of war zones.

The core of the visual identity is the replacement of ITN’s static logo of connected letters with a new animated logo. Rudd explains that since its inception in 1969, the logo has only been tweaked “on a fairly small scale” four times, but “we felt the logo didn’t reflect the humanity and almost chameleon-like quality that ITN has to respond to things in an emotional way,” he says.

After spending months tweaking the old logo, Rudd felt this approach deviated from his “Gravitas” without adding anything new. It also didn’t lend itself to animation due to its solidity and lack of curves, he explains. With encouragement from then-CEO Deborah Turness, he proposed two different creative options, with the option chosen being the more “radical” of the two.

The new logo features monochromatic letterforms for “ITN” that are “typographically similar” to the previous logo and reminiscent of Chermayeff & Geismar’s 1960s media logos, Rudd suggests. This element of the logo, he says, “reflects truth, solidity and trustworthiness as always,” but surrounding it is a soft diamond shape that becomes a “living” cell “responsive to its environment.” Responding to mood or physical stimuli within the content, he adds.

In animation, the cell splits into red, green, and blue — “the primary colors of light and the essence of everything we see in the world and on screen,” says Undivided. “And actually, when you look at the animations, you realize that this simple mono logo is actually made up of a mixture of these primary colors of light, RGB,” adds Rudd.

This ties in with the positioning and tagline of ‘Truth to Life’, which according to Undivided Strategy Director Stefan Terry, ‘sets ITN apart as a brand that can create magnetic, factual content for all types of audiences – Channel 4 viewers for current affairs to true crime lovers on Amazon Prime.”

The logo is used in program end panels for UK and international broadcasters and streamers; via billboards, ITN’s new website, social media; and for meeting rooms, business cards and letterhead.

For the broader brand, an ‘atmospheric’ dark gray is the background from which the colored version of the logo ‘glows’; Alternatively, when headline text is used with red, green, or blue highlight words, the mono version of the logo is used, explains Rudd.

The main typeface family is Lynstone, itself a new design but based on the London Underground typeface Johnston, which maintains a “Britishness” even as ITN becomes more global, explains Rudd.

Rudd comments that the rebranding is important to communicate ITN’s expanded role as ITN’s production side continues to grow. The new branding is “a way to show how ITN is constantly evolving and connecting with diverse audiences without undermining its commitment to truth,” Rudd says.

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