1991 BBC1 - Virtual Globe

Concept and creative process

The ‘COW’ (Computer Originated World) BBC One Globe, designed and implemented by Oliver Elmes in 1985, was replaced in 1991 by the Virtual Globe, designed by Daniel Barber and Martin Lambie-Nairn, as part of the rebranding of the BBC One and BBC Two channels that the Lambie-Nairn consultancy had been commissioned to undertake. The design depicted a swirling world of shadows and reflections, very different to the classical clarity of the globe it replaced. The most prominent feature was the redesigned ‘1’ logo numeral in the centre of a globe, and to a lesser extent, the Michael Peter’s BBC corporate logo design beneath that. The globe was not a traditional representation of the Earth’s rotation. It was highly stylised and impressionistic, with continental land masses that appeared, sometimes moving in opposing directions around the globe, but that were also reflected and ghosted as part of the swirling smoky CGI effects around the outside of the globe. The Virtual Globe remained in service until 1997, when it was replaced by the BBC Balloon Globe series of idents as the new icon of BBC One.