Affectionately referred to as ‘The Worm’, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) logo was submitted in 1965 by staffer Bill Kennard. An ABC staff competition had been running for two years in the search for a symbol for the government body. Space engineer Doug Rickard suggested a design based on the waveform of an oscilloscope. Senior graphic designer Kennard, who had been brought to Australia from his previous role as a lettering artist for the BBC, and designer John Spatchurst reworked the idea and presented their squiggly suggestion (technically termed a ‘Lissajous curve’), for which they were paid £25. The words ‘Australian Broadcasting Commission’ (as it was then known) were added to the logo and it remains Aunty’s consistently comforting visual shorthand, undergoing only a few tweaks over the past 47 years.
Kennard, who began his career as a lettering artist in the British film industry, was recruited from the captions department of the BBC in London, during a drive to attract overseas talent to help build the Australian national broadcaster.