Most TV channel branding uses the same monotonous forms of motion graphics that even MTV abandoned before it gave up on playing music. Once in a while, though, a channel’s on-air identity (the promos and furniture that surround programmes to remind you which one of the 5,473 channels you’re actually watching) breaks new creative ground. This is what Artillery Design’s rebrand of FX does.


Most TV channel branding uses the same monotonous forms of motion graphics that even MTV abandoned before it gave up on playing music. Once in a while, though, a channel’s on-air identity (the promos and furniture that surround programmes to remind you which one of the 5,473 channels you’re actually watching) breaks new creative ground. This is what Artillery Design’s rebrand of FX does.

The highlight of the project is six idents that make ingenious use of VFX, instantly setting the channel apart from many of its cable and satellite rivals and positioning it closer to mainstream channels such as BBC 1, Channel 4 and Sky 1 – while retaining its edge.

FX is best known for showing US dramas, such as The Wire, Dexter, and NCIS, and building buzz around them before they hit mainstream success on terrestrial channels. Artillery redesigned FX’s on-air and off-air identity – beginning with its on-air packaging (bumps, menus, and idents), and creating elements for its marketing and advertising materials.

For the project, the team had to work within few creative constraints, says Artillery’s creative director Richard Tilley.

“We had the scope to completely strip it out and start again”, he says, “as long as the original logo colours – red, black and white – stayed the same.”

The only other stipulation was that Artillery tied in each ident to a particular genre, such as comedy, drama or crime. Once again, flexibility was key – providing Artillery created the right tone, it didn’t need to follow the brief too rigidly.

Tilley says the redesign’s key aims were “to give the brand a new sense of scale; to keep it clean and light with an entertaining tone, and bags of personality; and to balance style with substance. We wanted our work to have a sense of scale and grandeur.”

Tilley was convinced that if his team could pull this off, they would succeed in positioning FX as a top-tier channel providing high-quality, original programming. The aim was to make it stand out from all the channels that surround it, which largely show re-runs.

On the Tab
For the idents, Artillery chose a VFX-driven mix of 3D CG graphics integrated into live-action footage. One of the most striking elements was the FX Tab, designed and animated in After Effects. This stylish animated bright-red bar, with a white FX or FX HD logo (depending on whether you’re watching in SD or HD) stands out from, but doesn’t overwhelm, whatever sits behind it.