Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Laundry creates colourful party planet for MTV's flanker channels

The amount of music videos shown on Music Television (now known only as MTV) has famously declined over the last few decades. In many regions, MTV does however operate a series of so-called "Flanker Channels" that do mostly play music videos under names such as MTV Base, MTV Dance, MTV Classic, MTV Hits, MTV Rocks, MTV Live and MTV Music. The full range of channels is available in the UK, while the offering differs in other countries. The flanker channels were recently given new looks, created by Los Angeles-based animation and design studio Laundry in close collaboration with MTV World Creative Studio.

The brightly coloured graphics tie the flanker channels together through a common visual language that also allows them to affirm their own identities through genre-related imagery. The package was built around the idea of MTV as a "virtual reality planet where each sub-channel is a genre-specific continent – inhabited by party animals" that appear in the animations. The basic channel logos did not change, but were given new and more varied colours.

The new graphics launched on April 4.

Recoloured logos.

From a press release:

“We were faced with the challenge of finding a conceptual and visual thread that connected everything,” says Maximiliano Borrego, Creative Director at MTV World Creative Studio. “Something unique and identifiable across the channels that would, above all, entertain our audience. It was a big visual creative puzzle.”

“Adhering to MTV’s ‘Kill Boring’ mantra was a welcome license for us to make bold, creative choices that the network can own,” says PJ Richardson, Partner/Executive Creative Director of Laundry. “All seven Flanker identities reveal something distinct and unexpected, yet holistically fit within the larger brand ecosystem of the MTV family of channels."

Laundry developed a comprehensive graphics system for the rebrand based on “Wireframe + Skin,” MTV’s visual framework to branding. This conceptual and modular design approach dictated how they composed and arranged graphic content to interact. The resulting assets included IDs, bumpers, key art, on-screen graphics, endboards, background animations, invaders (loopable animated elements), 3D logos (on-air and online), container boxes, and crawls for each flanker channel.

“We pictured MTV as a virtual reality planet where each sub-channel is a genre-specific continent -- inhabited by party animals,” says Anthony Liu, Partner/Executive Creative Director of Laundry. “They're the perfect visual metaphor for the diverse music genres and fans of the world; different in their influence and location, but same in their fandom and human spirit.”

The party animals are 3D characters rendered to look graphic. Each one distantly references a real animal representing the music styles of the specific channel: an eel reflects the smoothness of electronic music like a glow stick, and a crab with a speaker-like shell is a nod to Jamaican dance-party vans. The creatures were designed to provide a lot of latitude across different moments in animation. For MTV Rocks, a 24-hour alternative music channel, Laundry built a frenetic mosh pit-inspired character made of drumsticks and guitar picks. While the animation is not specific to any one band or type of rock music, it captures the overall wild energy of the genre.

"We applied this reflexive thinking to each individual channel,” says Liu. “For the key art, however, the challenge was to portray the dynamism of the identity through a static image."

In total, Laundry created more than 300 elements for the MTV International Flanker Channels. The team also developed insanely vibrant layouts that reinforce MTV’s “Kill Boring” mission statement by combining the invader graphics with off-the-wall logo treatments and color palettes. Once the entire rebrand was brought to life, Laundry created a style guide with templates, so MTV teams across the world could use the assets consistently, but with enough flexibility as to not be repetitive.

“The MTV World Creative group really understood viewers’ shortening attention span, but increased appreciation of creativity, which was a vision we shared,” concludes Richardson. “Challenging in all the right ways, what made the collaboration so spectacular was the process of evolving the look and feel of the rebrand to nail both of those things and make a final package we’re all super stoked on.”

Full credits:
Client: MTV Networks / Buenos Aires, Argentina
Creative VP: Sean Saylor
Creative Director: Maximiliano Borrego
Design Lead: Charx Alemagny
Operations & Production Director: Josefina Marfil
Production Manager: Delfina Chiesa
Design & VFX Company: Laundry / Los Angeles, CA
Creative Directors: PJ Richardson & Anthony Liu
Executive Producer: Dan Masciarelli
Producer: Rebecca Park
Designers: PJ Richardson, Anthony Liu, Brett Albert, Nicole Choi, Eddie Bong, Cynthia Lou, Janice Ahn & Will Goodman
Animators: Brett Albert, Yang Liu, Samantha Liu, Yongmin Park, Kasey Allen, Aziz Dosmetov, Samuel Baese, Andres Barajas, Richard DeForno, Jesse Nelson, Brock Boyts & Jim McDaniels
Rigging: Brett Morris
Editor: Justin Freedman
Assistant Editor: Jonas Dickson

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