||A major contributor to this article appears to have a close connection with its subject. (August 2010)|
Martin Lambie-Nairn in 2008
|Born||4 August 1945|
|Occupation||Creative director Heavenly
Founder of Lambie-Nairn & Company
|Known for||Channel 4 "Blocks" logo
BBC1 "Virtual Globe"
BBC Two 'The 2s' idents
The Personality 2s
Rhythm & Movement
S4C Dragon Idents
ITV Powergen Weathergens
BBC One 'Balloon' idents
|Relatives||Cordelia Lambie- Nairn|
Martin Lambie-Nairn (born 4 August 1945) is one of the most influential British graphic designers. He was the founder of his eponymous branding agency, Lambie-Nairn & Company, and is currently the creative director of branding agency Heavenly Group Ltd. His work mainly concentrates on brand identity for television. Martin is acknowledged for having redefined television brand identity design – merging the graphical qualities typical of printed communication with the range of possibilities offered by the media of television. His philosophy of making complicated things simple remains a core part of his career as does balancing commercial imperatives with creativity.
Amongst his most celebrated works are: the original Channel 4 logo and idents created in 1982; the ground-breaking batch of 30+ idents for BBC Two that first aired on February 16, 1991; and the 1997 corporate rebrand for the whole BBC. He, in conjunction with his agency, also created launch packages for certain other BBC channels.
Martin was educated at University College for the Creative Arts at Canterbury. His career in television began in the 1960s as a temp at the BBC. Roles as a graphic designer at Rediffusion, ITN and London Weekend Television followed. Martin set up his own company, Robinson Lambie-Nairn, with fellow partner Colin Robinson in 1976 after leaving LWT, and he went on to develop new graphic presentation techniques for Weekend World. To coincide with the business' substantial expansion the company was renamed Lambie-Nairn & Company in 1990.
Computer animation enabled him to produce what became regarded as a revolutionary identity for Channel 4, the "Blocks" logo, with help from visual effects technicians based in Los Angeles, California. This identity launched the fledgling TV channel on 2 November 1982. This identity remained at the heart of the channel’s on-air presentation for 14 years, having a profound impact on both television graphic design and advertising. In 1981 he created the original idea for the UK TV series Spitting Image which ran for 11 years.
Following the success of Channel 4 and Spitting Image, he worked as a director of computer animated commercials, producing the first ever 30 second computer generated TV advertisement in the UK, which was a commercial for Smarties.
The BBC years
For nearly 12 years in the 1990s and after he became consultant creative director at the BBC, his first relationship with the BBC since his early career with them as a temp in the 1960s. During this period Martin and his company designed a series of what were to become phenomenally successful idents for the BBC, including those shown on BBC Two that were talked about as much as the programmes[neutrality is disputed] and commissioned by then-controller Alan Yentob. Most of the idents in this set and additional idents that were added later in the series' run were mainly practical and employed traditional camera methods, with the CGI-generated Optics ident being the notable exception. Meanwhile, for BBC1 he forsook computer animation in favour of these camera methods to remake its popular globe ident, replacing the previous ident, the Computer Originated World.
In 1997, he wrote Brand Identity for Television: With Knobs On, which was illustrated with colour stills, models and preliminary sketches from his own notebooks. He used the book to reveal how key identities, symbols and sequences from his career were achieved.
He would be appointed again by the BBC that year to design and build the famous red hot air balloon that was used for a new series of idents aired on BBC One from October 4, which aimed to capture the idea that the channel gave a view of what was happening all over Britain, and more idents for BBC Two that also began on October 4. He also co-conceived the Rhythm & Movement idents for BBC One first shown on March 29, 2002. In 2001, he worked with American visual effects technician Mic Graves to co-design BBC Two's 2001-2007 Personality 2s series of idents, which featured robotic figure 2s, each displaying individual personalities, which went on the air on November 18. Martin also designed ident packages for BBC News 24 (now called BBC News), BBC Choice, CBeebies, CBBC and BBC Four.
In April 2008 Martin left the practice he pioneered to join Heavenly as Creative Director, leaving in 2010.
Martin now has his own consultancy, ML-N, based in London.
Martin has been acclaimed for his work and creative excellence. He is an RDI (Royal Designer for Industry), Fellow of the Royal Television Society, and was, for a time, the president of the Design and Art Direction Charity. He has received a Gold D&AD Award for his work for Channel 4, a Silver D&AD Award and a BAFTA Award for his work for BBC2. He has received many industry awards, including a Lifetime Achievement honour at the Promax UK awards for excellence in marketing in 2007. He is also Visiting Professor at the Faculty of Art, Architecture and Design at the University of Lincoln.
Bibliography↑Jump back a section
- TVARK | Channel 4 | 1982
- Spitting Image
- Martin Lambie-Nairn, Smarties Commercial 1987 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
- BBC - The BBC Story - The BBC logo story
- BBC - Press Office - BBC ONE idents history
- Brand Identity for Television: With Knobs On: Amazon.co.uk: Martin Lambie-Nairn, Jeremy Myerson: Books
- RSA - Current Royal Designers
- Royal Television Society - RTS Archives - People - About - Fello
- Past Winners and Nominees - Television - Awards - The BAFTA site
- Inside Story: Martin Lambie-Nairn - King of the idents
- Martin Lambie-Nairn - Visiting Professor