Firecracker - ident (1993)

Concept and creative process

The Two logo, designed by Alan Jeapes and launched in 1986, was coming to the end of its life by the end of the decade. It had originally been created by computer in response to a brief which reflected the then Channel Controller Graeme MacDonald's aspiration for a more sophisticated and highbrow output. In 1987 a new BBC Two Controller was appointed, Alan Yentob, previously the BBC's Head of Music and Arts. He disliked the Two branding and in response to viewer surveys which found the Two to be "too dull and worthy," he commissioned a Brand Identity strategic review and ultimately a redesign from design consultant Martin Lambie-Nairn. The result was that a new San Serif Extra Bold '2' and the BBC Two Viridian green colour became the chief components of the new channel branding that launched in February 1991, using the ‘2’ logo in innovative and visually striking ways. ‘Firecracker’ was one of the new BBC Two idents which launched in 1993. It was designed as a string of firecrackers arranged inside the shape of a ‘2’ painted in the new viridian brand colour. The blue touch paper had been lit, causing the resulting chain of explosions to send the ‘2’ flying in all directions amid flashes and drifting smoke. The ident was filmed at high speed and was accompanied, as were all of the other idents, by specific musical sound design. The new branding had overall a remarkable result on the public’s perception of the channel and with it the ratings.

Model Makers - Bob Hinks, Mark Curtis and Steve Wilsher.

Lighting Cameraman - Doug Foster, Cell Animation.

Animator - Rob Harvey.

Music - Anthony and Gaynor Sadler.

Creative Director - Martin Lambie-Nairn.

Designer/Director - Daniel Barber.