Why the change?
During the talk, we were told that although typefaces such as Gill and Helvetica work well in print, they’re not always legible when they appear in small, digital spaces. Over the last 20 years, it is clear that technology has advanced as well as the sophistication of its users. With more people using apps and portable devices to read on screens, the BBC realised that in order to adapt, their typeface needed maximum legibility for readability across multiple platforms.
As the world’s leading public service broadcaster, they also wanted to be able to communicate a coherent identity, and maintain a constant and recognisable voice.
Commissioning their own custom design would also reduce costs for the BBC. Their overall spend would reduce by replacing pre-existing fonts with a typeface that they owned.
The new typeface:
We discovered that the BBC has decided to ditch Gill, Helvetica and Arial, which they have been using since 1997. They are now currently rolling out their new, bespoke typeface, ‘BBC Reith’, named after the BBC’s founder, Lord John Reith. The new design was organised by the BBC’s user experience and design team (UX&D), who hired the type foundry company, Dalton Maag, to take on this huge task.
"BBC Reith was made for tomorrow; a font family that is ready to stand the test of time. We had the pleasure to work together with the BBC to improve upon a central element of their communication." Lukas Paltram - Creative Director, Dalton Maag
The new typeface, which has a “calligraphic human touch” according to David Bailey, Creative Director at the BBC’s UX&D team, will roll out across all BBC channels, websites and social media over the next year. So far, the BBC Sport section has fully adopted it in all their communication.
Exciting things to come for the BBC!