We have a surprise coming up in a few weeks - brand new bumpers appearing at the start and end of our programmes! 

On the right, you can see sketches and stills from the new bumpers in our photo gallery.

The new bumpers - which are only a few seconds long - have been created by Deaf animator James Merry (below). Here, he tells us all about his idea for the bumpers and about his career in animation.

j1.jpgTell us what bumpers are?

Bumpers are short bits that go at beginning and end of a film, or television programme. They are usually only a few seconds in length.

They can be still or animated, or even footage, but their main purpose is to announce the brand identity of the studio, producer or broadcaster attached to that film or television programme. 

What was your concept for the bumpers?

Obviously I needed to stay conceptually close to the original logo, so I tried to think of something that would complement it. I also wanted to do something involving hand-drawn frame-by-frame animation.

So I decided to make it a sort of circular sweeping motion as the hands transition into the logo.

Beyond that, I wanted to keep it as simple and clean as possible, so I only used the colours that are already in the logo - dark grey, blue, and white.

The different coloured hands are an allusion to diversity and inclusion.

You've contributed animations to some Deaf films and programmes before. Tell us more about that!

That's right. In my personal work, I have made contributions to some of BSL Zone’s own productions, including The Fingerspellers (I created the opening sequence) and My Song.

I also did some animations for the Deaf short film Hands Solo, which won an award for Best Special Effects at the Clin D'Oeil festival in 2011.

What was your first ever animation?

My first ever animation was drawn on paper with oil pastels, and shot onto super-8 film. It had a clown, some gangsters, and a large cake in it! 

My first professional job was in my late teens. I animated a teddy bear for a CD-ROM, aimed at helping to teach British Sign Language to young children.  

After I qualified from the Royal College of Art with an MA in Animation, I spent six or seven years working freelance in London, on TV programmes, commercials and some pop videos.

Where do you work now?

I have been at a company called Squint/Opera for most of the past decade, where I’m usually responsible for trying to inject a bit of visual life and creative flair into what can sometimes initially appear to be very technical and dry information.

Most of our work has been for architectural clients, and urban developers, although more recently we have been getting more work for museums, and we are also moving into television production with a new CBeebies series, which is due for broadcast next year.

Look out for our new bumpers which will appear on the BSL Zone's new programmes from 7th July.