Martin Lambie-Nairn, co-founder of Spitting Image, Dies at the age of 75 | graphic design

Martin Lambie-Nairn, co-founder of Spitting Image and the man behind Channel 4 Logo and other TV brands, at age 75.

The graphic designer died on Christmas Day, the consulting firm he co-founded, ML-N, announced Monday.

In 1981, he came up with the original idea during a business lunch for the satirical puppet show Spitting Image, which ran for 18 series between 1984 and 1996 and was watched by 15 million viewers at its peak before he restarted the online subscription service BritBox this year.

It’s earned accreditation from the show’s makers, who said the series “is based on an original lunch with Martin Lambie-Nairn”.

The designer also helped produce some of the most iconic visual elements for British television, including the original Channel 4 animation logo in 1982 and a series of BBC IDs – the sequences between programs that define the channel – including the globe balloons used by BBC One between 1997 and 2001 and BBC Two identities, like one with spray paint horizontally across two.

A statement from ML-N described him as “one of the leading graphic designers and creative directors of his generation”.

“His exceptional work, kindness and infectious creative spirit has affected many people’s lives. He will be sorely missed by everyone who has had the privilege to work with him over the years,” she added.

Sir Johnny Ive, former head of design for Apple, said he was “fortunate” to have Lambie-Nairn “identified a part of the visual landscape that I grew up in.”

He said, “His work for the BBC was very nice, thoughtful and beautiful. The identities that are driven by beauty and not a marketing agenda are very rare and very valuable.”

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Lambie-Nairn brand agency also produced the bubble logo which was used by the O2 mobile phone company.

The designer was a consultant creative director at the BBC for 12 years before moving on to other projects in 2002. He also supervised the Blue Peter competition in 2012 to design the official logo for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

He was a colleague in the royal family the television Society and was a Doctor Emeritus at both the University of Lincoln and the University of Northampton.

BBC News Creative Director Chris Cook tweeted: “This is so sad. Martin Lambie-Nairn played a pivotal role in building the BBCNews brand because it still exists today. He was an amazing designer and a totally likable man. Sleep well sir.”

Mark Reed, CEO of multinational advertising company WPP, tweeted: “Martin Lambie-Nairn has contributed a lot to our industry and created some of the most iconic identities that have stood the test of time around the world.”

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