ITV’s iconic visual identity has been given a fresh rebrand for Pride Month with a nod to Manchester’s Gay Village.
Throughout June, idents shown across the ITV channels in-between programmes and advert breaks will feature a new artwork created to represent the LGBTQ+ community.
Designed by contemporary fine artist Thomas Wolski, the artwork features queer iconography, such as drag queen wigs and transgender symbolism.
The project came about after representatives from ITV contacted Thomas in December last year about collaborating together.
“I thought it was a spam email at first,” Thomas, 37, told the Manchester Evening News .
“They mentioned they were working on a Pride ident and wanted to collaborate with me after seeing my work.
“It was pretty much out of the blue, so it was a bit of a shock, but it was all very flattering.”
Thomas, whose previous work includes creating limited edition black and white packaging for Skittles, spent three weeks creating the designs for the ident.
It was then created in Manchester as part of a two-day shoot.
The finished result premiered on ITV at the start of June with new idents being rolled out throughout the month.
“It’s the first time ITV has created a month-long ident for the LGBT+ community," Thomas added.
"The only time they’ve ever done something for the month which is just one continuous artwork all round is for Black History Month.
“I felt very proud, but it is a big responsibility. Even the artwork has to be relevant, interesting and educational.
“There’s things drawn on it like the Beacon of Hope from the village, candles from the vigils and placards from activism but then there’s also fun stuff like burgers and disco balls.
“I left some fractures in the artwork to showcase the diversity and the fact that there’s room for everything to mould together. It’s very conceptual."
In quite a stray from usual Pride-based content, Thomas uses black and white colours for his work. He says it was a challenge to think how to incorporate themes of Pride into a new piece of work.
“I prefer things in black and white because it’s fine lines and feels more clean,” he said.
“It was a challenge to find a way to show Pride in motion undulating with some colour but without just projecting a Pride flag over it.”
To help with light and colour, the ident was created alongside multimedia artist Rebecca Smith, who goes by the name of ‘Urban Projections’.
Two-thirds of the sculptured ident is covered with Thomas’ signature freehand illustrations while the lower portion is projection mapped by Smith.
The projection features the remaining third of Wolski’s scanned drawings along with colour compositions of her own design.
Rebecca, 39, who lives in Nottinghamshire with her wife and two children, said: “Technically it was a big challenge as Tom’s artwork is incredibly detailed.
“We had to carefully balance the scanned projection and the inclusion of colour so that we avoided something clichéd or unbalanced.
“We had so much fun on set trying different things. Neither of us tend to work with colour so using that in a way that represented the vibrancy of the community rather than just throwing up a flag was central to what we wanted to create.”
Speaking about the opportunity to create something that will be seen by so many people, Thomas, who has a studio in the Northern Quarter, added it was crucial to make something ‘authentically LGBTQ+’.
“I am honoured to have the opportunity to do something so impactful that will be seen by millions of people around the world,” he said.
“It was quite daunting at the beginning as we were so conscious of connecting to the ITV audience whilst representing the whole LGBTQ+ community.
“We were really passionate about making sure it was an authentically LGBTQ+ project and not just another corporate organisation ‘rainbow washing’.
“ITV blew us away with how much that also meant to them, and the full creative control gave us the chance to play with the art and projection to do something that challenged us both artistically.”
In total 12 versions of the ‘Prident’ will be shown throughout the month of June on ITV’s main channel and is accompanied by a short ‘Making Of’ documentary available online.