The director and graphic designer, Nicola Mills, thrives in the
often overlooked world of TV idents and stings. Her most recent work,
through Lambie-Nairn, is a revamp of the BBC news title graphics, which
manages to be utterly modern and yet reminiscent of the old RKO cinema
In her appropriately playful idents for UK Play, the cable TV
entertainment channel, a human sperm communicates with a computer mouse
and a zipper slides up and down to reveal ludicrously red Y-fronts.
Mills graduated from the London College of Printing in 1991 and formed
her own company, Sensuous, to work on graphics that were integrated into
pop videos and commercials made by other directors.
An early test film for Mazda, through HHCL, proved a little restrictive
with the client requiring lingering shots of the car. Mills managed to
add some creative touches, including her trademark liquid bubbles and
ripple effects. These visual strengths were utilised more successfully
in a later COI public information film, made through Duckworth Finn
Grubb Walters, which featured unusually loving shots of needles and
The client’s brief must take precedence, Mills emphasises. ’Advertising
is about selling a product and not just producing a beautiful piece of
work,’ she says. She recently signed to UFO Film, a move that she hopes
will push her back towards ads and promos. Having once almost abandoned
graphics for live action, she now realises that ’there is absolutely no
reason not to marry the two art forms’.