Martin Lambie-Nairn

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Martin Lambie-Nairn
Martin ln.jpg
Martin Lambie-Nairn in 2008
Born (1945-08-04) 4 August 1945 (age 69)
Occupation Creative director Heavenly
Founder of Lambie-Nairn & Company
Known for Channel 4 "Blocks" logo
BBC1 "Virtual Globe"
BBC Two 'The 2s' idents
The Personality 2s
Rhythm & Movement
Indonesian Channel
BBC One 'Balloon' idents
Relatives Cordelia Lambie- Nairn

Martin Lambie-Nairn (born 4 August 1945) is a British graphic designer. He was the founder of his eponymous branding agency Lambie-Nairn & Company and is currently the creative director of branding agency ML-N. His work mainly concentrates on brand identity for television. Lambie-Nairn is acknowledged for having redefined television brand identity design, merging the graphical qualities typical of printed communication, with the range of possibilities offered by the media of television.

Amongst his most prominent works are: the original Channel 4 logo and idents created in 1982; the batch of 30+ idents for BBC Two that first aired on February 16, 1991; and the 1997 corporate re-brand for the whole BBC. He, in conjunction with his agency, also created launch packages for certain other BBC channels.


Early work[edit]

Lambie-Nairn was educated at University College for the Creative Arts at Canterbury, now the University for the Creative Arts. His career in television began in the 1960s as a temp at the BBC. Roles as a graphic designer at Rediffusion, ITN and London Weekend Television followed. Lambie-Nairn set up his own company, Robinson Lambie-Nairn, with fellow partner Colin Robinson in 1976 after leaving LWT, and he went on to develop new graphic presentation techniques for Weekend World. To coincide with the business' substantial expansion the company was renamed Lambie-Nairn & Company in 1990.

Computer animation enabled him to produce what became regarded as a revolutionary identity[1] for Channel 4, the "Blocks" logo, with help from visual effects technicians based in Los Angeles, California.[1] This identity launched the fledgling TV channel on 2 November 1982. This identity remained at the heart of the channel’s on-air presentation for 14 years. In 1981 he created the original idea[citation needed] for the UK TV series Spitting Image[2] which ran for 11 years. He received the credit that the show was "based on an original lunch with Martin Lambie-Nairn."

Following Channel 4 and Spitting Image, he worked as a director of computer animated commercials, producing the first ever 30 second computer generated TV advertisement in the UK, which was a commercial for Smarties.[3]

The BBC years[edit]

For nearly 12 years in the 1990s and after he became consultant creative director at the BBC, his first relationship with the BBC since his early career with them as a temp in the 1960s. During this period[4] Lambie-Nairn and his company designed a series of idents[5] for the BBC, including those shown on BBC Two commissioned by then-controller Alan Yentob. Most of the idents in this set and additional idents that were added later in the series' run were mainly practical and employed traditional camera methods, with the CGI-generated Optics ident being the notable exception. Meanwhile, for BBC1 he forsook computer animation in favour of these camera methods to remake its popular globe ident, replacing the previous ident, the Computer Originated World.

In 1997, he wrote Brand Identity for Television: With Knobs On,[6] which was illustrated with colour stills, models and preliminary sketches from his own notebooks. He used the book to reveal how key identities, symbols and sequences from his career were achieved.

He would be appointed again by the BBC that year to design and build the famous red hot air balloon that was used for a new series of idents aired on BBC One from October 4, which aimed to capture the idea that the channel gave a view of what was happening all over Britain, and more idents for BBC Two that also began on October 4. He also co-conceived the Rhythm & Movement idents for BBC One first shown on March 29, 2002. In 2001, he worked with American visual effects technician Mic Graves to co-design BBC Two's 2001-2007 Personality 2s series of idents, which featured robotic figure 2s, each displaying individual personalities, which went on the air on November 18. Lambie-Nairn also designed ident packages for BBC News 24 (now called BBC News), BBC Choice, CBeebies, CBBC and BBC Four.


In April 2008 Lambie-Nairn left the practice he pioneered to join Heavenly as Creative Director, leaving in 2010.

Lambie-Nairn now has his own consultancy, ML-N, based in London.


Martin Lambie-Narin joined the research company, TNS in 2011[7] as creative director.


Lambie-Nairn is an RDI (Royal Designer for Industry),[8] Fellow of the Royal Television Society,[9] and was, for a time, the president of the Design and Art Direction Charity. He has received a Gold D&AD Award for his work for Channel 4, a Silver D&AD Award and a BAFTA Award[10] for his work for BBC2. He has received many industry awards, including a Lifetime Achievement[11] honour at the Promax UK awards for excellence in marketing in 2007. He is also Visiting Professor[12] at the Faculty of Art, Architecture and Design at the University of Lincoln.


See also[edit]


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