The Open University

From Audiovisual Identity Database

Descriptions by
WyraachUr, PAV123, and Thisisanswer


The Open University is the UK's largest university, founded in 1969 but didn't start enrolling until 1971. It also used to broadcast course-based programming on the BBC as a part of their core classes, a unique form of education for the time, but they were eventually phased out by 2006. They still produce semi-academic programming alongside the BBC from time to time.

1st Logo (1971-1991)

Logo: On a yellow background, we see the blue text "THE OPEN UNIVERSITY" in Optima, centered on the bottom of the screen. Then, a blue circle rotates onto the background while two parts of a rounded shield wipe in. The circle rotates until it appears as a yellow circle, forming the Open University logo.


  • Starting in 1984, the logo would be presented in a different color scheme and the text at the bottom would be replaced by a different logo.
    • BBC1 (1984-1985): Yellow logo, blue background, BBC1 wordmark in white.
    • BBC1 (1985-1991): Gold logo, black background, BBC1 wordmark in gold.
    • BBC2 (1984-1986): Yellow logo, black background, BBC2's clock logo.
    • BBC2 (1986-1991): Powder blue logo, white background, TWO logo in dark blue.
  • Throughout most of its life, the logo would used chroma-keyed models as the animation as it lead to some wonky-looking end results sometimes. Later on, the logo would be remade with computer animation.
  • When the Open University broadcasted on BBC2 before 1984, the OU shield was replaced by the "Striped 2" logo.
  • On closedowns, the logo plays in reverse.

Technique: The formation of the shield.

Music/Sounds: The first five bars of "Divertimento", composed by Leonard Salzedo, followed by a continuity announcer saying (usually) "This is the Open University".

Availability: Extinct. There are flash remakes from and BBC Cult, though.

Legacy: This logo and its successor are infamous among British audiences (much like American audiences and the Viacom "V of Doom") for frightening young children.

2nd Logo (1991-2000)

Logo: On a black background, shining rays are seen coming out a black circle, looking like a solar eclipse. A bright light then shines on the circle, revealing the shield and a translucent black bar with either the BBC1 or BBC2 logo at the time. The light then changes position and the bar becomes solid. The light then disappears and some blue and white clouds behind it. The shield then changes to yellow and blue and "The Open University" appears below.

Technique: The lights.

Music/Sounds: A mysterious synth tune with the community announcer.

Availability: Extinct.

3rd Logo (2000-2006)

Logo: On a yellow blueprint background, the familiar OU shield is seen with glasses, a mouth, an eye, hair, and a body wearing a lab coat tying on a computer and holding a beaker surrounded by science stuff, including a violin. He moves a bit and the pictures changes to become a geographer with a ponytail, dress, jacket, and yellow lips holding some kind of case and binoculars surrounded by geography stuff. She moves a bit and blinks her eye before she and the pictures change to a construction worker with a nose, mouth, hard hat, plaid shirt, and different pictures. The construction worker is holding a walkie-talkie and a clipboard. He then moves and talks into the walkie-talkie and everything disappears but the shield. "The Open University", in the same font as before, uncrumples itself and then lays flat.

Technique: 2D stop-motion animation

Music/Sounds: A violin tune.

Availability: Extinct.