BBC News had been re-branded by Lambie Nairn in 2008. By 2010 Newsnight was the last of BBC News programmes not to have been brought on-brand.
Newsnight airs on BBC2, and sees itself standing slightly apart from the main BBC News. This meant that while it needed to reflect the new BBC News style, the branding couldn’t be as overt. Their requirement for a digital backdrop with two main presenting positions at either end is always problematic to due to overlapping shots and competing needs of each end of the studio.
Starting work at Christmas 2009 – Newsnight needed to be on-air ahead of the 2010 general election – we produced a range of designs to answer the original brief. While the designs met the brief, they weren’t felt to be right for Newsnight. This led to Newsnight abandoning the original brief well into the project. Our response to the new brief was incisive.
The current abstract screen backdrops were liked, so in redesigning the backdrops we adopted their tone and content and developed a highly stylised night-time cityscape. This was defined by dark building silhouettes, window lights and animated car lights. For depth, we created a sparse interior space beyond the screen and populated it with glass screens onto which we projected abstract city lights. The deep blue sky matched the Newsnight timeslot and ambience, with texture introduced through a blue aurora effect. This allowed greater scope for achieving successful shots across the entire studio space.
Despite seeing the original brief abandoned at an advanced stage, we produced a much more appropriate and powerful design in a restricted time. Newsnight was pleased to see how the updated design improved previous designs and provided a richer backdrop. Despite no longer being on air, this remains one of our favourite designs.