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What is Broadcast Design

Mar 12, 2024

In the constantly evolving world of media, broadcast design stands out as a critical field that merges creativity and technology to shape how we consume visual content. At its core, broadcast design refers to the creation and integration of visual elements in television production, ranging from news graphics, channel logos, and show packages to animated elements and set designs. It is an art form that requires not only a keen eye for aesthetics but also an understanding of storytelling and technology.

Broadcast designers are tasked with the challenging job of creating visuals that are not only engaging and eye-catching but also align with the branding and message of the channel or program. Viewers often don't realise the intricate work behind the graphics that appear on our screens, but these elements play a crucial role in setting the tone and enhancing the viewing experience.To better understand this dynamic field, let's delve into some key terms that every broadcast designer should know:

10 Broadcast Design Terms You Should Know

1. Lower Thirds

A common term in broadcast design, "lower thirds" refers to the graphical elements that appear in the lower area of the screen. These often include names, titles, or other key information about the person or subject currently on screen. Lower thirds are vital in providing context and additional information without obstructing the main content.

2. Chyron

Derived from a popular brand that manufactures broadcast graphics equipment, "Chyron" has become a generic term for any on-screen text graphic. This can include lower thirds, opening titles, or any other textual information that appears over the video.

3. Bug

In broadcast design, a "bug" is a small logo or symbol that usually appears in one of the corners of the screen. It serves as a constant brand identifier for the channel or program. Bugs are often semi-transparent and unobtrusive.

4. Sweeps

"Sweeps" refer to dynamic, animated transitions used to move from one scene or segment to another. They are often stylistic and can be tailored to match the theme or mood of the program.

5. Keying

Keying is a process in video post-production where a specific colour (often green or blue) is removed from the video, making it transparent. This technique allows designers to overlay graphics or other images in place of the keyed colour, commonly used in weather reports and virtual sets.

6. Mortise

"Mortise" refers to a graphical element where a section of the screen is dedicated to displaying information or graphics, often in a boxed area. This allows for the simultaneous presentation of content and additional information or branding.

7. Motion Graphics

Motion graphics are animated visual elements that bring static graphics to life. They are extensively used in broadcast design to create engaging and dynamic content. Motion graphics can include everything from complex 3D animations to simple text animations.

8. Bumper

A bumper is a short transition clip that serves as a bridge between different parts of a program, such as between segments or leading into and out of commercial breaks. Bumpers are typically accompanied by music and feature the show’s title or theme graphics.

9. Package

In broadcast design, a "package" refers to a complete set of visual elements created for a specific show or segment. This includes intros, outros, lower thirds, transitions, and other graphical elements, all designed to have a cohesive look and feel.

10. Snipe

A "snipe" is a graphic, usually animated, that appears on the screen during a program to promote upcoming shows or content. It's a subtle way of advertising without interrupting the current viewing experience too significantly.


Broadcast design is an integral part of the media we consume daily. It combines artistic talent with technological prowess to enhance storytelling and brand identity. Understanding these key terms provides a glimpse into the complexity and creativity of this field, highlighting the importance of broadcast design in shaping our media landscape.

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