Those new Sky News graphics


Bigger, bolder, blacker. Sky News responds to News 24’s toning-down of its on-screen graphics by making yellow its colour for breaking news, and loading up a new fatter font for its big headlines. Blue has more or less disappeared from the colour palette – replaced by heavy use of black. Yes folks – red, white and black, same as News 24, same as a tabloid newspaper (in the old sense of the word).

The SKY NEWS logo is now a rotating cube, presumably a deliberate reference to Fox News, their much-derided cousin across the Atlantic – and, frankly, I’m surprised they would do anything to invite comparison. The time rotates too, to be replaced by the date, which is surely an enhancement nobody ever wanted. And I suspect there are still some glitches, since the morning weather symbols are disappearing off the edge of my widescreen TV, which has never happened before. (And apparently I’m not the only one.)

Overall, the response on viewers’ editor Paul Bromley’s blog is not good. Perhaps that’s inevitable in matters creative, especially when you’ve got so many people who take these things so seriously. But in Sky’s defence, fair play to them for leaving all the bad stuff up there, for all to see. Mind you, criticism like ‘worst graphics in the history of television news’, though, is so extreme that you can’t take it seriously.

I’m not going to condemn them, myself: they are functionally successful, and that’s really all that matters, although they aren’t perhaps the choices I would have made – admittedly, coming from a screen design background that is entirely web-based. It’s still basically the same (increasingly tired) formula: clock, logo, ticker. It’s about time someone really re-thought the requirements.

No changes on the website yet… meaning, not for the first time, the web presence is out of step with the on-screen presentation. But I understand a new Sky News website design has long been scheduled for Easter or thereabouts.