In Canada, the rights to Disney-branded TV programming were held by the local Family Channel until this year, when the rights switched. Family Channel had also operated local versions of Disney Channel spin-offs Disney XD and Disney Junior. As a result of loosing their Disney programming, the channels were rebranded in September, with the English and French versions of Disney Junior rebranded as Family Jr. and Télémagino, respectively. The visual identities and graphics for the two preschooler channels were developed by LA-based creative studio Roger.
The graphics package uses paper-textured animation throughout, giving it a playful and tactile feel. This is reinforced through the use of custom handmade typeface. It also features a cast of whimsical paper characters, created through a combination of stop-motion and computer animation. They are used to tell small stories in the idents.
A montage of the new graphics package can be watched here.
From a press release:
“Roger’s interpretation of the Family Jr. and Télémagino brands, which are all about encouraging active imaginations amongst our young viewers, reflects what we aspired to capture in launching this new brand and look: the wonder and creativity of young minds, as well as a world to which both kids and parents are instinctively drawn,” remarks DHX Television Creative Director Jason Gordon, who previously collaborated with Roger on a brand refresh for the tween-focused Family Channel in 2010. “The collaboration with their creative team was exceptionally smooth, as usual, and Rich not only brought incredible concepts and design chops as a creative director, but also invaluable insight as a parent of a preschooler himself.”
The new Family Jr. graphics package is highlighted by a cast of geometric, paper-textured characters that come to life to tell engaging micro stories. Behind a team of animation talent with extensive character design and children’s entertainment experience, including film credits for Toy Story, Shrek, Alvin and The Chipmunks and Peanuts, Roger combined stop motion-like techniques and 3D designs with hand-drawn character limbs and eyes to create photorealistic characters that were distinct to Family Jr.
From the outset, Roger and the network creatives emphasized making the Family Jr. brand tactile, simple, playful and smart. Paper, a time-honored kid’s art medium for drawing, coloring, cutting and pasting, was the obvious choice for conveying tactility through various textures across the package. A clean, modern design and color palette reinforces simplicity, which was integral to making the content digestible for kids. This idea was also reflected in the playful sensibility of the brand, from a loose animation style to the handmade custom typography. In addition, Roger developed sophisticated, narrative-driven branding concepts in order for Family Jr. to equally resonate with parents and caregivers, the viewing decision-makers.
“The team at Family Jr. embraced forward-thinking, ambitious ideas while never once shying away from pushing the creative and exploring new solutions,” says Josh Libitsky, Executive Producer at Roger. “They were supportive of our team throughout, making the collaboration effortless and enjoyable.”
Roger created two custom typefaces for Family Jr., a handwritten font and a modern sans serif font. Both are clean, bold and geometric-inspired; the hand-drawn font has a pencil grain aesthetic, while the sans serif appears to be a paper cutout.
Like the characters in the station IDs, the new network logos -- for both Family JR and Télémagino -- are created from primitively designed geometric shapes, which are playfully stacked together like building blocks.
“Family Jr. was exceptionally cognizant of their audience going into this rebrand,” says Scurry. “Although they can’t yet read, these young viewers are still receptive to letters and basic shapes, so we made the logos intuitively and visually relatable to them. We also spent a great deal of time making what were complex animations intentionally unrefined.”
According to Roger, the on-air branding package will be used as inspiration for Family Jr.’s print and digital elements.
“We weren’t just trying to put a skin on the network,” concludes Scurry. “We wanted to craft a voice that could embody the spirit of the network, live on any platform, and provide a foundation for Family Jr. to grow.”
Full production credits:
Project: Family Jr. Network Rebrand
Agency: DHX Television
Production Manager: Nancy McCreight
Creative Director: Jason Gordon
Art Director: Nicholas Vitacco
Production Company: Roger
Creative Director / Lead: Rich Scurry
Executive Creative Director Roger: Terry Lee
Executive Producer Roger: Josh Libitsky
Head of Production / Senior Producer: Brandon Stevenson
Live Action Producer: Winston Smith
Editors: Benjamin Rohel & Matt Miner
Designers: Rich Scurry, Grace Kim, Angela Zhu, Karen To, Kay Kim, Yuki Yamada, Belinda Rodriguez, Andy Bernet, Yu Kito Lee, Rigel Yaluk , D’ara Nazaryan, Hugo Codinach
Animators: Justin Wilcott, Rich Scurry, Matt Salas, Benjamin Rohel, Yu Kito Lee, Jake Portman, Hugo Codinach, Geoff Ciccarelli, Matt Everton, Rigel Yaluk, Shawn Lee
Character Rigging: Kevin Yee, Geoff Ciccarelli
Character Animators: Evan Mayfield, Alfonso Alpuerto, Geoff Ciccarelli, Rob Fox, James Lane, Eric Molina, Tom Gurney
Storyboard Artist: Kiva Singh
Director of Business Development: Drew Neujahr
Associate Producer: Brianna Conrad
Production Assistant: Mark Melchior
Technology: Roger designed and animated the package using Maya, Cinema 4D and the Adobe CC Creative Suite.