4seven-gfx-224x126Due to their diminutive length the humble ident often gets overlooked for praise or comment outside of design circles -- when was the last time you heard people gathered round the water cooler discussing the relative merits or (lack of) of last night's channel idents? That being as it may, we all watch hundreds of these micro branding films every year and consciously or not, they act as a mental aperitif for the content that follows, setting our expectations for better or worse. That's a lot to handle in a few seconds and the challenge design and motion studio ManvsMachine were faced with when 4creative commissioned them to create an on and off air package for Channel 4's catchup service 4seven. First up, here's the on-screen GFX solution ManvsMachine came up with:

Aside from working as a nice bit of perspective shifting trickery, this treatment of the logo represented the new channel concept while remaining connected to its parent identity:

This corner approach creates a visual signature style akin to the Channel4 coming together of the logo, where the viewer is always travelling around a corner from left to right. This holds all the elements together creating a set of idents which result in a logic defying scene, reminiscent of M.C Escher..

Whilst these design concepts certainly work well in the above graphical treatments, it's when they're transposed to the (un)real world that ManvsMachine's custom camera technique comes into impressively mind bending effect.

The idents were also designed to reflect programming anticipation and reaction, along with the time of day at which they appeared:

The graphic elements take the brand into three dimensions with a reactive seven which reflects the amount of 'buzz' around programming throughout the day. This is combined with a clever touch of a time intelligent OSP where the channel branding gets darker as the day goes on, all graphics adjust as night sets in and the content changes accordingly.

As I said earlier that's a lot of considerations to cram into a short period of time. In this interview for Index Book James Greenfield and Mike Alderson shed some light on ManvsMachine's working practices as they discuss the studio's makeup as a team of creative generalists who all specialise in their own areas, their More4 brand and on-air commission, and why designers need to brush up on their narrative and storytelling skills if they want to make successful moving image work in the future.

Are idents something you pay attention to or have created for yourself or a client? What was your approach to achieving the maximum effect for your limited screen time?

Link: 4seven Idents -- ManvsMachine