BBC Global Experience Language (GEL)
Design and prototyping for the BBC
2009 — 2010
We were mid-way through redesigning the BBC News website for the first time since 1996. Since no one knew when this was likely to happen again, the BBC decided to bring together all its digital products and services under a coherent brand language. To avoid this descending into infighting, Neville Brody’s Research Studios were brought in as consultants and a central BBC digital design authority was set up to oversee the process.
I was working on the BBC News website redesign. GEL was basically a project about how this redesign could be scaled up into a brand language that could encompass everything the BBC did online. I defined and prototyped the web typography scales, grids, interaction patterns and initial brand elements. I worked with BBC Worldwide to develop a grid around new advertising formats. I also spent a lot of time liaising with Research Studios about the technical feasibility of translating their more experimental ideas to HTML and CSS, including issues about accessibility and touch interactions. And I prototyped responsive and mobile interpretations of GEL, and variants with Gill Sans embedded as a web font.
The News website redesign was the first product to launch using GEL, arriving shortly after the similar Metro design language from Microsoft and signalling the death of skeumorphic design. See also: BBC News website redesign
BBC News creative direction by Paul Sissons, with design from Toby Bradbury, Caroline Galipeau, Adam Hutchinson, Nina Monet, Dan Ogunkoya, and Dan Shallcross. Working with Neville Brody’s team at Research Studios, Chris Hankins and Duncan Swaine at BBC Worldwide, and the central BBC Design Working Group led by Liz Citron, Ben Gammon and Andrew Greenham.