Britain’s broadcasting station More4 recently unfurled a new branding campaign, a series of montages featuring colorful plastic fins that seem to flap like Rolodex cards in the breeze. In reality, the flippers run on individual motors that simulate random motion.
"Our aim was to create a series of idents that were satisfying rather than impressive in the hope that this gives them a longer shelf life," says Mike Alderson, a creative at ManvsMachine, the London agency that led the branding effort. That meant recording live action and no computer-generated imagery. The tableaux also hint at a change in direction for the channel, which began importing American comedy shows and is now shifting to original lifestyle and arts programming to compete with BBC and Sky Arts. "There is a very tactile theme running throughout the core shows," Alderson says, "so we wanted a very tactile honesty to the motion design, hence the satisfying flip motion associated with various real-world objects." The choice of contexts, ranging from a residential stairwell to a beach boardwalk, also reflects the new content, which includes homegrown shows like Gok’s Fashion Fix, Kirsty’s Handmade Britain, and Beeny’s Restoration, as well as documentaries such as Graffiti Wars and Strictly Bolshoi—a lineup that no doubt puts American TV to shame.
To rig and install the flippers, ManvsMachine enlisted Jason Bruges Studio, a fellow London firm. "We made life especially hard for them by insisting that, unlike traditional flip-clock mechanisms, these must work equally well at all orientations, whether it be on the floor, wall, or ceiling," Alderson recounts. "They nailed it from start to finish."