Archive for the 'sport' Category

Creative of Tonbridge Wells

There was a nice article in the Independent yesterday talking about the outpouring of creativity following the new Olympic logo announcement. Send us yours they say, shame they’ve not got round to publishing any yet. The Daily Mail has, along with the Sun and BBC online as well as the 2012 group themselves.

Let’s face it this logo was doomed from the start, the likes of the Mail and Express had probably written the copy months ago, they were only going to be satisfied with the Queen mum dressed as a beefeater upon a union jack draped bulldog jumping Big Ben or something. There’s now a a lot of ‘what’s wrong with the old one!’ (We see this a lot when the Bank of England introduces new shaped currency – though there was little fuss about the new £20 notes strangely) A lot of people want to keep the logo that won us the games, maybe because it’s tied up in our minds with 7/7?

So, as in times past, there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth, outrage, disgrace, and a ‘child could do that’ etc… so far so British. The natural perpetual state of the Englishman is to believe the country’s going to the dogs, to rack and ruin, stop the world I want to get off. We’ve become a nation of complainers, not in a ‘out on the streets storming the barricades’ kind of way, but in a moaning letter writing way, complaining not about erosion of our civil liberties or the right to protest within 1 mile of the ‘cradle of democracy’, but on the choice of contestants on a TV game show – after all it’s far easier to dash off a email or add a splurge a comment on a website about something inconsequential these days that actually do anything about it.

Except in the case of the London Olympic logo lots of ‘children who could do that’ have actually had a go, as well as teenagers and adults. Despite what you think of the logo, you can’t deny it’s been a catalyst for the public to start designing – that’s a good thing I think. No one did this when the Millennium Experience man logo came out, and everyone hated that remember?

Mullenium Man logo

Mullenium Man logo


So a similar outpouring of moaning; ‘waste of money’ looks rubbish – zero creating a better version as far as I remember. Why is that? Well I reckon its two things. One, we have better access to creative digital technology, we can not only create stuff much easier, but we can distribute and promote it much faster too. We’re more visually fluent, we’re taking more and more pictures of our lives, and are world is now saturated in imagery. Second is the fall of the expert – or perhaps that should be the rise of the amateur – With vast amounts of information and increased leisure time, anyone can voice their opinions on everything from creationism to composition.

This isn’t always a good thing mind. If you look at a lot of the entries, they look like t-shirts you see in souvenir and other tourist stalls and shops don’t they?

And I should know having had a job in Athena on Trafalgar square in 97. Is London no more than Big Ben, beef eaters and the underground roundel? We’re often guilty of over-venerating our design classics. The routemaster bus: outcry at its replacement, but they were cramped, noisy, a nightmare for the disabled and most were over 50 years old. Scott’s Phone box: 80 years old and now only used for prozzie cards and for drunks to have a piss in, be honest when was the last time you used one?

You can see how this design came about, ‘we want something youth, something different’ was the brief, it’s in every brief. And so they tried for something different, and let’s be honest, every other Olympic logo has sucked; 5 daubs of abstract colour and the rings, silly mascot, and forgoten before the Olympic flame has cooled – yawn.

We’ve got five years; maybe it’ll grow on us? Here’s my favourite.

World Cup Mode Design Work and Feedback

Some of the design thinking behind the World Cup Mode

world cup mode OFF
We dropped the SPP as a container for the switch for a number of reasons. 1. If you want it off, you want it all off. 2. The semantic way readers scan the page meant the on/off mode had to go under the promo, other wise it would have read the promo, then the whole browse column then the SPP etc.
Match mode was going to have GEO-IP served broadband console links, but we couldn’t adapt Sport’s GEO-IP look up. Also people seem to have found the broadband content pretty well. A few more examples are on Flickr. One thing that caused is a bit of an issue was just how to we actually promote it on the homepage.
This is what I jokingly put together first, using a seldom seen ‘top’ promo

I liked the phrase ‘cupificate’ in a E4 tellybox kind of a way, anyway, then me and a writer went through a 100 versions of this
The trouble with this is, you’re not actually offering a choice, you’re offering ‘switch it on’ or… nothing. In the end we went with a traditional EE promo, and did a ‘credit squeeze’ and put a big fat showy jpeg in.

Feedback wise it’s been a great success too. Here’s a top line of some of the feedback we’ve received from the first weekend of ‘world cup mode’. Again thanks to Doug our (ex) feedback guru.

We received 234 emails of which 50% came on Friday with Saturday and Sunday getting roughly 25% each

People that said “Thank you” “Great Idea” “I am going to use this” etc about WCM
Total comments 141
People who like football/WCM ON 18 (12%)
People who dislike football/all sport/WCM OFF 68 (49%)
People who just said thanks 55 (39%)

3 people said this was a bad idea (one mentioned a hatred of football)
1 person asked why we assumed everybody liked football missing the point of why we are offering an ON/OFF switch

2 people supported the breaking news policy

10 people said they just dislike football
11 people left non-football comments

What else should we cover
22 people said we should also do this for Wimbledon
About 10 asked for cricket
14 asked us to provide a switch for TV, mostly on Saturday when out of 48 hours of BBC1/BBC2 TV coverage only 4 hours was football related

Other coverage
8 people wanted Spring Watch updates
15 people wanted Doctor Who
about 10 people said we should promote the latest BBC TV and Drama
7 Want more live music coverage
~5 (I lost count) culture/arts/books etc
~5 want alternative TV schedules during the games

Finally 1 person asked for 24/7 Archers


So the predominant feeling is ‘well done, I’ll have it off please’. Which is a positive negative, but a good thing. This information has been invaluable as it’s allowed us to throw out the schedule and put together editorial promotions based on what users have asked for. Today’s promo is a result of that. Ideally I’d like to have Mrs Jones of Cheadle asked for X in today’s promo.

Another success has been not having to do any world cup promotions like we’ve done in the past. This project has really allowed our small team to concentrate on what we do best, putting together distinct editorial messages from the best has to offer, and leave the juggernaut that is dealing with the World Cup to the sports gang, there’s over 20 of them working 24 hours a day here and in Germany, there’s four of us working 9-5. Hooray for working smarter!

Where next? Well, this would be great for Wimbledon or the cricket, but we can only have one mode in the space at one time, due to the horrendiously complex de-duping of the headlines against each mode. But it would be for non sport things too, Glastonbury springs to mind. Who knows….? Though if England get to the final, well then we’ll have to do something really special.

‘World Cup Mode’ on the BBC homepage

The World Cup, Love it or hate it? And how do we reflect those two oposite feelings on

The greatest Sporting event on the planet is one of the few things that can really polarize people, far more so than the Olympics or any other sporting event. With this in mind me and some very talented people have been working on a special World Cup Mode that will launch this Friday when the Tournament starts, but for now here’s a sneak peak [World Cup] homepage. It’s a kind of ‘steroid’ version of the Breaking Sport Technology that grew out of the Breaking News mode that we did. But it’s able to be selected by viewer preference and has the addition of a few more extras. It also looks a lot better that BYB does. If you go to the ‘what’s this?’ page, there’s a full explination of why we’re doing this and a way you can let us know what you think.

Now if this works out well, I can see it working for things like Glastonbury, the Olympics or the Proms.  I’ll post more of the design thinking that led to this tomorrow, but in the meantime, hope you like it.

This blog is no longer being updated

I've left it here for historical purposes. Please visit my new blog at


These are my personal views and not those of Channel 4 or the BBC
January 2020
« Dec