Balloon Above Eilean Donan Castle - ident (1997)

Concept and creative process

In 1997, the computer animated ‘Virtual Globe’, designed by Daniel Barber of the Lambie-Nairn design consultancy in 1991, was finally phased out. The image of the Globe, seen as a major asset to the BBC’s brand identity since its introduction in 1963, was retained at the heart of a new series of Idents, also designed and produced by the Lambie-Nairn agency. The launch of the new Balloon series coincided with the introduction of a new BBC One logo, in a style which coordinated the appearance of all of the BBC channel logos, while retaining their individual personalities. Lambie-Nairn’s concept for the new channel identity was to connect the nations of the United Kingdom by showing them many different aspects of the country, and later of its peoples, as a background to a giant hot-air balloon globe as it flew majestically over the many different landscapes. For special events, like the Olympics, this concept was adapted as required to include iconic images from around the world as backgrounds for the balloon. The idents were filmed from a helicopter for the initial launch and then, as people were included in the concept, the balloon was computer generated and combined digitally with the activities of the people on the ground. The design of the 20- metre diameter balloon was a world map with the land masses in orange and the oceans red with random white cloud cover. This ident, from the first tranche of films shot from a helicopter in 1997, shows the BBC Balloon in flight over Eilean Donan Castle in the Scottish Highlands.