BBC corporate design - Bat's Wings Logo (1953)

Concept and creative process

December 2nd 1953 was the date of the first transmission of the BBC's first animated television ident, with original music by Sidonie Goossens, principal harpist of the BBC Symphony Orchestra. The design was the result of over two years of preparatory work by the eminent graphic designer Abram Games. The symbol was created as a practical electric-powered working model which was filmed live by a camera in the BBC Presentation studio, with additional lighting giving it a three-dimensional effect. Not everyone liked it, however and it was criticised for being too Germanic in appearance, reminiscent of the Prussian spiked helmet and fascist thunderbolts. The BBC's official rationale of the designer's thought process behind the design explained its symbolism: "The abstract pattern consists of two intersecting eyes which scan the globe from north to south and east to west, symbolising vision and the power of vision. Flashes of lightning on either side represent electrical forces and the whole form takes the shape of wings which suggest the creative possibilities of television broadcasting". This design lasted until 1961.