BBC iPlayer Has a New Font for Cost-Saving Reasons

By Gary Cutlack on at

The BBC has done the modern thing that thing Netflix has just done, creating its own family of fonts for use online so it can avoid paying licensing fees to the original creators. The BBC's font family is called BBC Reith in honour of founder John Reith, and has replaced the likes of Helvetica and Arial on the iPlayer this week. Perhaps as many as three people noticed the change, as it's not a hugely wacky design. The letter i is not dotted by a heart.

When announcing Reith earlier this year the BBC said some guff about it being for legibility and distinctiveness reasons and so on, but what's clearly the driver is Point Three, where the corporation explains: "By owning our own typeface family, incorporating a range of styles, we can significantly reduce our annual spend on licensing third-party owned fonts. This saving can then be put back into producing world-class content."

So less money to the foundries, more to Chris Evans. Typography enthusiasts within the BBC are pretty pleased about the launch of Reith, so much so that they're presenting each other with framed prints of the new typeface to lovingly display at home.  [BBC via Twitter]