The piecemeal rollout of the BBC Reith font across BBC News continues. On Monday morning, the BBC Business Live titles were updated to BBC Reith. Naturally, all other graphics used within the programme (e.g., lower-thirds, markets graphics etc) continue to use Helvetica. All makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? Why not just wait another few weeks, and introduce the updated titles in line with the changes to the BBC News logo, lower-thirds etc?
And surely the tweak of font in the title sequence would be a fairly simple change, yes? Hard to imagine anything going awry there? Well, they’ve managed it. If we have a quick look at the old titles, you’ll notice the word ‘LIVE’ is displayed in blue; the vertical line on the left of the programme title is teal. Seems reasonably sensible, since these colours also occur in the programme’s globe device.
Then compare this to the Reith version: the word ‘Live’ has changed case (not a big problem) – but the colour has also changed – it’s now a slightly darker shade of teal than the vertical line. Such a slight difference in shade that it just looks like a mistake. So no hint of blue there now – in spite of references to blue on the set and in lower-thirds. And then there’s the fact that the ‘L’ of ‘Live’ doesn’t line up with the edge of the ‘BBC BUSINESS’ text – very clumsy.
The vertical/line spacing between ‘BBC’, ‘BUSINESS’ and ‘Live’ is also inconsistent (the wrong type of inconsistent – I’ll explain in a moment) – using a mixed case ‘Live’ doesn’t help in that respect, the tittle of the ‘i’ sits higher than the top of the ‘L’; but the positioning of the top of the ‘L’ is arguably the priority, visually. The inconsistency of the line spacing is not the problem though – the line spacing can be inconsistent and look right. ‘BBC BUSINESS’ is a brand in itself and any text sitting beneath that should not have line spacing that is less than the gap between ‘BBC’ and ‘BUSINESS’ – to do such as thing is effectively impinging on the territory of that brand. Having the line spacing consistent between all three rows would work (as the colour and size of ‘Live’ clearly distinguishes it as a separate element from the ‘BBC BUSINESS’ brand), or, alternatively, a slightly larger line space between ‘BUSINESS’ and ‘Live’.