Thursday, July 27, 2017

Trollbäck gives Oxygen true crime look with a twist

Back in May we reported on NBCUniversal introducing a new logo for women's channel Oxygen as part of its transformation into a "true crime" channel. The new logo and accompanying graphics package was designed by New York-based Trollbäck + Company, who recently revealed their participation in this project.

Building on Oxygen's goals and research, the aim of the redesign was to create a "holistic true crime experience" for an engaged audience through graphics that "elevate the network's crime offerings and powerful storytelling across all platforms". The package makes use of crime imagery, starting with the 'crime scene' tape for the logo. But the overall design is more feminine than typical crime branding and takes its inspiration from contemporary news typography.

From Trollbäck's press release:
“We asked Trollbäck+Company to conceive an impactful way to hit true crime fans,” said Nancy Mazzei, Vice President, Brand & Design, Oxygen Media. “By creating a package born from investigative cues meaningful to this genre, such as the use of our crime scene tape in our logo, and using copy to reveal our stories, we feel they delivered a fan-centric campaign that reflects our research and is sure to resonate with our audience.”

Led by Chief Creative Officer Alex Moulton and Creative Director Jorge Peschiera, Trollbäck+Company analyzed Oxygen’s audience research and began flagging potential hurdles on the creative approach to the rebrand.

“We saw an opportunity to do something totally different from what other crime-focused channels are doing; something more nuanced, from an unexpectedly female perspective," says Peschiera. “We also had to design for maximum impact to begin building brand recognition right away, which started with a redesign of the Oxygen logo."

Trollbäck+Company looked to contemporary print design for inspiration, as well as investigative materials like police records, court documents, and news headlines. Art Director Erin Kilkenny’s surprising use of Times New Roman -- a font originally designed for newsprint -- perfectly aligned with these creative goals. The result is an intriguing, multi-platform brand identity driven by fragmentation, contrast, negative space, and surprising rhythms.

“We wanted a stylish look that also reflects the qualities of any good detective story,” says Peschiera. “Nothing is ever spelled out, but pieced together from hunches and fragments. Navigating these intricacies is what makes the crime genre endlessly fascinating. Every visual, sound, and narrative element we created strikes at the heart of this concept. In fact, our animators were given almost the same brief we shared with our sound partners, YouTooCanWoo.”

The resulting sonic branding, in which elements feel sampled, incomplete, and always shifting between eerie calm and jarring action, reflects Trollbäck+Company’s music-forward tradition to motion and branding. Layers of environmental recordings, overheard conversations, and carefully crafted music beds bring a tactile, emotional resonance to Oxygen’s on-air visuals.

“We wanted to make sure that Oxygen was equipped with a comprehensive, cross-platform brand,” says Moulton. “To ensure a consistent voice across all touchpoints, we considered every detail of the identity and how it could evolve. A large component of this process was realized in building effective tools to help the Oxygen team develop future creative work.”

In addition to detailed brand guidelines, Trollbäck+Company delivered a modular, user-friendly graphics toolkit that allows Oxygen’s team to generate a variety of visual elements while significantly reducing the amount of labor involved.

“We are so thrilled to continue our collaboration with the team at Oxygen,” concludes Moulton. “Oxygen’s leadership understands our creative approach and shares our design values. We were very lucky to have their complete trust, and it allowed us to deliver a wildly innovative brand that stands apart from everything else in the ‘True Crime’ genre.”

Full credits:
Chief Creative Officer: Alex Moulton
Creative Director: Jorge Peschiera
Art Director: Erin Kilkenny
Senior Designer: Sarah Cohen
Senior Animator: Fionna Mariani
Animators: Olga Povarchuk, Dave Rogers, Yussef Cole, Patrick King
Executive Producer: Erica Schrager
EP Business Development: Elyse Roth
Producer: Betsy Jones
Music and Sound Design: YouTooCanWoo