Martin Lambie-Nairn, the acclaimed designer behind BBC and Channel 4 idents, died aged 75 on Christmas day. Tributes have poured in from media and marketing colleagues, as well as the companies his unmistakable designs brought to life, to mark the passing of a man who helped "shape the public consciousness".
The designer was behind some of the most recognisable visuals in UK TV including Channel 4’s original block idents which persist to this day and key identifiers for BBC channels that many remember fondly. His eponymous agency also developed the bubble branding for O2.
He founded celebrated branding business Lambie-Nairn in 1990 before selling it in 1999 to WPP, which would later merge it into the new branding behemoth Superunion.
A statement from his branding agency ML-N said: "In a career spanning five decades, Martin was widely acknowledged as one of the leading graphic designers and creative directors of his generation.”
He also helped create, conceive and bank-roll political satire Spitting Image, one of the most memorable TV shows of the 1980s.
Former Apple design boss Sir Jony Ive said Lambie-Nairn “defined part of my visual landscape growing up”.
Further tributes from the late designer's colleagues and clients have flooded in:
We’re taking a moment to pay tribute to design pioneer and creator of Channel 4’s iconic 'Blocks' logo, Martin Lambie-Nairn. Rest In Peace. pic.twitter.com/9AfEWzUypw
— Channel 4 (@Channel4) December 28, 2020
So sad to hear the news of the death of Martin Lambie-Nairn, one of the world’s most brilliant designers and a truly wonderful person. As the founder of Lambie-Nairn, one of the original agencies of Superunion, his genius lives in our memories and his legacy, in our hearts pic.twitter.com/ygotLerixr — Superunion (@SuperunionHQ) December 28, 2020
The Channel 4 logo alone is quite some legacy but Lambie Nairn is responsible - directly or indirectly - for the look of much of modern British broadcasting. https://t.co/X1xzu8Hsfm — Matt Wells (@MatthewWells) December 28, 2020
Martin Lambie-Nairn (5 August 1945 – 25 December 2020) was the founder of his eponymous branding agency Lambie-Nairn and is acknowledged for having redefined television brand identity design, being the first to embrace computer technologies to apply branding to screen-based media https://t.co/jw6blAHFwC — Raju Narisetti (@raju) December 28, 2020
So sad to hear that designer Martin Lambie-Nairn has died. Grew up experiencing so much of his amazing work Here's just a short selection of some of his wonderful @BBCTwo idents. Experience more here https://t.co/mCeqKeFDm1pic.twitter.com/pBLsJS8rHP — lizo mzimba (@lizo_mzimba) December 28, 2020
So so sad ro hear this news. He was a massive inspiration and I had the pleasure of working with him a few times. Learnt so much from this design genius — David Sheldon-hicks (@davidsheldonhic) December 28, 2020
Martin Lambie-Nairn was one of the greats of our industry, with an extraordinary legacy of work that not only entered but shaped the public consciousness. Our deepest condolences to his family and friends https://t.co/qJqwQBkOVEpic.twitter.com/KjCdtHsdQZ — WPP (@WPP) December 28, 2020
So sad to hear of Martin Lambie-Nairn’s passing. A true titan of branding. Had the privilege to meet him a couple of times at design events and he was one of the great personalities of our industry too. RIP.
— Nick Carson (@nickcarson) December 28, 2020
The sad news about the death of Martin Lambie-Nairn also reminds me of soooooooooo many meetings in the early 2000s with BBC channel people about their websites who only cared about whether the “channel ident” or “channel barker/trailers” would autoplay on the homepage — Martin Belam (@MartinBelam) December 28, 2020
His work with the BBC was iconic too. You should watch this video about his rebranding work. Loved working with him. Thinking of his family right nowhttps://t.co/YoGwvADPt9 — A O I F E ☘️ (@aoifemcardle) December 27, 2020
This is very sad. Martin Lambie Nairn was instrumental in building the @BBCNews brand as it still exists today. He was a brilliant designer and a thoroughly lovely man. Sleep well Mr. https://t.co/Dp7IUgj4KX — Chris Cook (@chrisckmedia) December 28, 2020
Sad to learn that the man who designed so much of the UK's TV branding since the 1980s - Martin Lambie-Nairn - has died. He brought us the BBC One balloon, flying here over Strangford Lough in 1997. pic.twitter.com/u0L6Z9TlQQ
— Mark Simpson ️ (@mark_simpson) December 28, 2020