Diamonds should have been forever… 

10 February 2007

What seems like an age ago, I designed some Flash files for the BBCi Cult website. However, I was reminded of them the other day when I noticed that the 1972-1974 BBC 1 COLOUR strapline from one of them was appearing in the “Life On Mars” trails.

Watching these promos, something suddenly struck me.

In 1997 the BBC spent 5 million pounds of licence payers’ money over three year scrapping this diamond logotype because it “wouldn’t work on digital”. As my friend Andrew Wiseman reported, the sides of the diamonds were straightened from their 17.5-degree slant, and the typeface was changed from Doric Italic to Gill Sans.

Now, ten years on and 5 million pounds later, I’ve seen the Life on Mars promos on DTT on BBC 1, 2, 3, 4 and BBC News 24.

And the diamond device looks absolutely superb – better than the current Gill Sans cameos, in fact.

So, why did the BBC blow 5 million quid?

A Transdiffusion Presentation

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Liverpool, Friday 29 September 2023