The Creative Brief.
The MTV World Design Group challenged us to create a consistent design & animation brand identity across MTVs 7 different channels worldwide. Each channel needs share the same brand spirit as the main MTV channel , adhering to the ‘Kill Boring’ mantra. Visually that meant doing things differently, taking risks and being fresh and unexpected. Practically speaking, the deliverables need to follow the wireframe and graphic skin template of the main brand while looking unique to their native channel and audience tastes though.
The Project Challenge.
How do you make MTV’s visual language consistent across all channels? How do you make each individual channel have its own genre specific personality? How do you make it entertaining for an audience with a short attention span?
Built around the idea of a party animal being the ultimate music fan, we created genre specific ‘animal’ characters that dance, shake and move to the DNA of each channel. What ties them together are color hues, fonts and layouts while the graphic elements themselves assume a unique channel specific tone.
1a. Concept: The party animal
Think of a party animal. They’re the wildest person at concerts, the hardest rocking at parties & generally a free spirit. They’re the coolest, craziest, most rebellious music fan out there much like MTV as a whole.
Now, picture MTV as a virtual reality planet where each sub channel is a genre specific continent. Who lives in each place? Party animals of course, a visual metaphor for all the different music genres and fans of the world. Different in influence and location but the same in their fandom and human spirit.
1b. Character development: What does a party animal look like?
The party animal is an animated genre specific dancing character that unifies the look of each channel. They’re designed in a way to feel of the same family as MTV1 and each other visually but with their own individual personalities.
For MTV Rocks for instance, a bit of a harder moodier channel rock music wise, we built a character made of darker drumsticks and guitar picks. It moves frenetically almost like in a mosh pit. Not specific to one band or type of rock music, but capturing the overall energy of the genre by its frenetic energy. It is this type of reflective thinking we apply to each of the channels individually.
Initially our interpretations of the party animals were very flat and abstract. Almost more like digital collages but in real world settings. Two obstacles emerged though. They got too specific to any one location and connotation along with it, and, a flat and collage based character limited how expressive the movement and energy would be.
Going back and forth with the client, we developed 3d characters rendered to look graphic as the solve. Each character distantly references a real animal that we felt matched the style of music of the specific channel. An eel for the smoothness of electronic music like a glow stick, or a crab with a speaker like shell as a nod to Jamaican dance party vans. Each was designed to give us a lot of latitude across different moments in animation.