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Neville Brody’s Channel4 fonts are the most talked about of the month

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ith a prodigious move, Channel 4 has launched a refresh of its branding, centred around a bold dynamic and playful take on its classic logo. Featuring idents from Jonathan Glazer and two new fonts from Neville Brody, the rebranding comes ten years after Channel 4’s last refresh. Chris Bovill and John Allison, head of the channel’s in-house creative agency 4Creative (which is behind the concept for the new identity, alongside creative agency DBLG), describe the challenge of rebranding as “Our starting point was that Channel 4 is so much more than just a number,” says Chris Bovill, the head of the channel’s in-house creative agency 4Creative along with John Allison. “We’ve actually got something to say, we’ve got a remit – to be original, alternative, innovative, to be surprising, to be bold. We stand for this – let’s make the branding reflect that” he added.

Whilst famed director’s Jonathan Glazer “idents” (those distinctive short films that run before and after ad breaks), are extremely odd with The Independent calling the work as “brave and bizarre, the concept behind the channel’s use of type is more straightforward, even though the blocks remain central to it.

Designed by iconic British designer Neville Brody – Dean of the School of Communication at the Royal College of Art and founder of Brody Associates – these two bespoke typefaces are named after the streets that Channel 4 sits on. Horseferry and Chadwick come in three and five weights respectively, with Horseferry intended for display purposes, and Chadwick for information.

“We focused on creating a scalable typographic language which was based on the idea of a new British Gothic, one to which we then added imbalanced flourishes and imperfections, celebrating the idea of our nation as one of inventors, eccentrics and individuals,” says the designer – who worked as an art director for The Face magazine in the 1980s.

Chadwick takes its reference from “the dependable language of our motorways, railways and information systems”, while Horseferry is “a corruption of this into a more unpredictable form” he added. With the angled cuts of Horseferry echoing the graphic shapes of the Channel 4 logo and Chadwick’s rounded, geometric shapes designed to be legible enough, these spiky fonts bring an element of surprise to this daring rebranding of UK’s groundbreaking tv channel.

“Horseferry is built out of Chadwick and in it you can find all the little blocks. They’re all buried within it,” says Alice Tonge, creative director at 4Creative. “It’s got loads of character – it’s occasionally spiky, sometimes smooth, sometimes goes against the grain, doesn’t always follow type rules. Full of personality, and only something that Channel 4 could own. That was the big thing – to create something that when you look at it, you know it’s Channel 4.”