Tuesday, 6 October 2009

We Interrupt This Blog For a Fangurly Squee-Flash

Best laid plans and all that, but I HAD to take time out to comment on this:

New Doctor Who logo, © BBC.  The word "squee" was invented for moments like this.

Britain's favourite time travelling alien gets a brand new logo to launch the 2010 series, when Stephen Moffatt takes over running the show from Russell T Davies and the brilliant David Tennant is replaced in the title role by the equally brilliant Matt Smith.

If I'd just seen the words on their own, I would have felt a bit "so what?"  It's the new idea of the DW TARDIS insignia that's the beauty of this design. Just a D, a W and a glowing chevron. Yet they have the confidence in their brand to know that's all it needs to get across the title of the show.

In fact, ignore the words.  Yes, they'll probably get used in the title sequence, but the Smith-era merchandise allows the option to just feature the insignia.  Having that on a T shirt, badge or whatever is a classy, grown up alternative to the character action shots that are aimed at the kids, but it leaves room to have those as well.  That insignia on its own says, "I love Doctor Who.  You can see I love Doctor Who.  You don't need to see the words 'Doctor Who' to know that.  You and I are more intelligent than that."

Then once the initial impact's over, the details start to make themselves noticed.  The brushed metal texture. The cool blue taking over from the fiery red and orange of the old logo. The way the serifs on the D and W exactly match the base and roof of the TARDIS.  The fact that the serifs in "Doctor" face left and those in "Who" face right.  The very slight bevel giving the effect of it being cut out of steel, making the DW TARDIS look all the more tangible (especially with the reflection underneath).

Then there's the animated version, which you can see below courtesy of the official BBC Doctor Who site:

This is really going to grab people's attention.  I can imagine it vworp-vworping its way onto screen at the start of every episode, followed by the opening scene and then the full title sequence.  Then fading up again at the end of the episode to introduce the "coming next" sequence and maybe even vworp-vworping away to blackness at the end of the credits.  I'd actually be very disappointed if they didn't use it as a 2 second sting trailer in the run up to the 2010 series.  This year has been a bit of a Who-drought and to see a "blink and you'll miss it" flash of the DW TARDIS will have millions of fans up and down the UK so excited there'll be serious danger of spontaneous Who-fan combustion.

The best test of a design classic is trying to imagine life without it.  Doctor Who's been on screen for 46 years (give or take), surely somebody somewhere must have come up with the idea of turning the D and W into a TARDIS shape.  What, they haven't?  Wow, it's so obvious when you think about it but, in all those years, we've never had it.  Now we do.  It's bold, cool, sophisticated, clever, iconic and instantly recognisable.  I only wish I knew the name(s) of whoever designed it, because they deserve a HUGE namecheck for their inspired brilliance.  It's been less than 2 hours since I first clapped eyes on it and already I know I'm looking at a design classic.

*That is the end of this squee-flash.*


  1. Huh. I was on the fence, and was going to write a whole post about the identity/logo design, and whether or not it works.

    You've convinced me, and covered it all. Great post.

  2. I read your comment over at Blogtor Who and just had to follow you over to your own blog... I totally agree with you and since you mention it, now that it's there before us it's so obvious I'm gobsmacked that nobody has thought of it before. I put it on my desktop and I keep staring at it... it's quite beautiful actually. And I think it probably was intended for a brief, instantly recogniseable intro, and possibly a conclusion to each episode. I can imagine peole sitting glued to their tv sets waiting for it to appear at the moment of the old sonic boom that concluded the theme.

    Great post -- you've eloquently summed up exactly how I was feeling and then some!!