2018 NETWORK REBRAND
ABC tapped The New Blank to design and develop their 2018 network rebrand initiative, bringing it in line with the direction the network has been moving over the last several years. Programming on ABC has become increasingly inclusive of all walks of life found in America whether rich, poor, differently-abled, politically left or right, black, white, gay or straight, therefore we set to work on branding that told that story.
We created a look we called “Echo” which was inspired by the idea that we are seeing on screen the lives of the people we see around us rather than a singular, idealized vision. ABC programming reflects America herself. The tagline “Americas Network” is central to this theme.
Graphically, a large part of “Echo” is the idea of ABC turning the camera onto the audience, so the viewer is seeing themselves reflected in the lens. The rings and circular typography which form our graphic armature is inspired by focus rings and lens information found when standing in front of a camera, while the ABC logo acting as the glass itself.
Branding | Design | Motionography
ABC is America’s Network
Directed by: Bobby Hougham
Design Team: Vince Diga, Eric Edwards
Design and animation team: Eric Edwards, Marcus Kulick, Andy Musser, Sam Rohr
Creative Director: Eric Edwards
Executive Creative Director: Bobby Hougham
Executive Producer: Sevrin Daniels
VP of Brand and Creative Management: Pash Pashkow
Executive Design Director: Lucas P. Aragon
Senior Design Post Producer: Gilda Reinert
Design and proof of concept
The 2018 network rebrand was nearly a year in the making. We were approached by ABC in the fall of 2017 to develop a brand looks spot showcasing their new tagline and brand direction.
Upfronts Proof of Concept
After the brand looks spot was finished, they approached us to see if the look could be extended into a multi-screen environmental presentation for the 2018 Upfronts in NYC. This was to act as a sort of proof of concept, testing the flexibility of the look as well as the viability of the style as a brand. We refined the design to work between ABC as well as Freeform for the presentation, changing brand colors and logos and typography while maintaining the Aperture graphics. We developed a template that altered color and text by ticking check boxes that applied choices throughout the package and across all 25 screens. At this point we also developed print templates for one sheets, banners and postcards that were then leveraged out for all print considerations.
Once the Upfronts finished and left the stage, ABC began in earnest to start the actual 2018 network rebrand. Even though we had technically been working on this for 7 months by this point, we approached this as though it were a fresh project. We knew what the direction was but we had a bunch of branding related problems to solve, such as how this can flex between genres of programming as well as different formats, daytime versus nighttime, and print and digital extensions, etc.
We simplified a lot of the package by reducing the logo colors from 3 to 1 and further reduced supporting graphics to red. The idea being that ABC wanted to only have one look for network specific communications and promotions because they were shifting to focus on programs in promotion and the network brand presence was only being used to support.
The ‘programming forward’ approach provided some unique opportunities for network brand integration. We developed a scheme of assets that could be colored to match the primary and secondary colors as well as typography of individual program branding, while leveraging layouts and animations from the network branding.
We also developed “uptempo” and “dramatic” tool kits to aid in customizing promo marketing to better suit the subject matter. Our “uptempo” had a fast, snappy animation style with large, bold typography whereas “dramatic” typography was more sophisticated with a wider tracking, and smaller point sizes. The animation is graceful and deliberate emphasizing the genres it is paired with.
Templates and delivery
After all the different assets of the 2018 network rebrand were designed, animated and approved, we created a series of After Effects templates, flexible enough to fit any need, simple enough to accommodate rushed promotional schedules and accommodating for affiliates around the country with a huge range of AE comprehension. In the past we have created brand packages where simple, easy to use interfaces were built for rapid, on the fly customization to be executed without a lot of After Effects knowledge. While impressive, that approach posed challenges in practice for the ABC in-house team as they tended to break a lot of the scripting in order to execute the volume of assets they needed to create. We developed new techniques that allowed the user to duplicate assets without breaking our scripting while keeping the individual projects fast and easy to customize. ABC wanted the 2018 network rebrand to roll out in stages so we prioritize our workflows and delivered specific assets by key dates. Each delivery uploaded directly to their in-house servers for immediate ingest and dissemination.
We developed an animation toolkit to provide the various production teams assets. The kit consisted of easy to use pieces and parts that could be mixed and matched to create virtually any promotional need while remaining familial and visually cooperating. Variants were crafted to accommodate affiliate logos, streaming and tune in information.
Variants were crafted to accommodate affiliate logos, streaming and tune in information. As different production teams would be digging into and producing content from this package we developed the template to accommodate different size and shape logos, automatically scaling and positioning them appropriately while retaining brand animations and timings. This was to ensure consistency across the brand regardless the region or market.
While we knew the individual assets needed to stay individual for the ABC workflow, we found that automating our templates with expressions and scripting within those projects was going to provide powerful customization capability for the individual production teams, ultimately augmenting the end result. For example, our lower thirds automatically sense character placement and shape to mask the animated line work to avoid unfortunate overlapping.
Pieces and parts
All deliverables were created in both the Uptempo and Dramatic styles which included nighttime and daytime options (dark grey background and light background) as well as keyable options (over imagery). Below, you can see examples of how the system worked with multiple aspect ratio deliverables, required for most assets to be used for social media and banners. Additionally we produced a print package that included a toolkit of graphic elements and typography placeholders.
With a Network rebrand deliverables list multiplied by 3, then by another 3 of assets needed in various specs for different platforms, you guys delivered a flawless and beautiful package while keeping track of my birthday countdown!
ABC Is ‘At The Heart of Every Story’
May 5, 2017 by Brief Staff in PromaxBDA Daily Brief
ABC showcases some of its best and most powerful programs—including American Idol, The Bachelor, Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy, Splitting Up Together, Speechless, The Middle and more—in this new image spot for “America’s Network.” Design agency The New Blank also rethought…