Modular construction and anamorphosis in Channel 4 idents: past and present

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In the 30 years since the first appearance of Martin Lambie Nairn’s ident, Round and Back, Channel 4 has established a reputation for screening idents that are both innovative and pleasingly familiar. While many texts have acknowledged the significance of these artefacts, there has, as yet, been no sufficient exploration into the precise behaviours that make these idents so distinct. This article explores the construction of the Channel 4 logo from independently moving parts, and the alignment of static parts prompted by tracked navigation, showing how these behaviours are made possible by the modularity of the Channel 4 logo. These behaviours are likened to anamorphosis, in which a privileged viewing zone reveals to viewers an alignment of forms, and a fleeting moment in which separate pictorial objects collaborate in the presentation of a more significant numerical configuration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-110
JournalJournal of Media Practice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Channel 4
  • idents
  • logo
  • Gestalt
  • anamorphosis
  • typography


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