Established in 1933, the British Film Institute was created to “promote greater understanding, appreciation and access to film and television culture.” The BFI also serves as a repository for film, film stills and film posters; it runs the National Film Theatre and London Film Festival, as well as the BFI IMAX Cinema; and it also releases films in cinema and on DVDs, publishes books and runs educational programs. In other words, the BFI knows film. And was in need of an identity that established it as a leading organization in the crowded film industry. Stepping away from film clichés London-based johnson banks designed a cinematic identity around the idea of lens flares, creating a sense of movement and layering and, perhaps romantically on my part, a portrayal of those magical moments in film where you are momentarily brightened by a line of dialog, a great chase or a real display of emotion. Johnson banks’ solution might seem complex and highly illustrative, specifically compared to the old logo — which I particularly like — but considering that this identity will live mostly on screen and in 4-color posters it is a refreshing departure from traditional identity design and quite appropriate for the client and audience.
The identity features four different “angles” — although an unlimited number of configurations does not seem impossible — to provide flexibility and variation to the institute. And when used appropriately — the logo does not look as good in some sections of the web site — the logo looks quite fantastic in its applications, even as a one color mark.
The only thing missing from this identity is — what else? — a tune. Yes, a tune. Or “Aural Identity”. Until January 19, the institute is running a competition to create a tune that accompanies the beautiful logo animation at the start of every BFI film on DVD or cinemas. Start whistling.