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Ever wonder who's behind those cool identity graphics on broadcast and cable TV networks? Come take a peek behind the scenes at Troika Design Group, the leading firm for branding television networks. The members of the exceptionally creative team at Troika explain how they go about creating unique and dynamic on-air brand identities for some of the biggest networks in the world, including ABC, FOX, Oxygen, and ESPN. They show how the company organizes projects, develops its team members, and nurtures a highly collaborative and creative environment. Troika's employees show their creative solutions and tell the stories behind the work. The company begins with a deep understanding of the client's needs, and develops solutions that may include live action elements and a whole range of graphic animation techniques. This installment of Creative Inspirations takes viewers to the very epicenter of TV network branding.
Dale Everett: Troika's core competency is network brands, network relaunches, and these are really large projects that can take as long as nine months, as long as a year and so they require our collaborative culture to really get through them. And we start off each week with a meeting of all the departments where we all together in the common area and we go through what's going to be happening and that's a time for -- we do it by project and it's a time for the creative directors or the heads of each project to kind of say, okay, this is a week where I am going to need some extra help because I am coming up on a delivery or a presentation and there is going to be a bottleneck and I am going to need some extra help and as for when we work with the producers to make sure that we can free people up.
So we can work together to get through those kind of most pressing phases of the production and one of the strengths of the culture is if you look at the very top, and it flows throughout, but if you look at the very top in terms of the creative directors. Of the creative directors we have here, each of us has a very different skill-set; we have each come from very different backgrounds. To solve some of these problems, I know that I am going to have to reach out to these other creative directors that have different backgrounds, different areas of expertise to collaborate with them, to have them punch -- give their own particular view of what I have done and punch holes in what I have done, ask questions, challenge what I have done to make it the best it can possibly be.
Kristen Olson: And similarly just like you do with the creative directors, the designers work together that way. They actually are all seated together in a room so that they can share ideas even if they are not working on the same project, they can look over one another's shoulder and work together. The animators are seated together in a couple of different areas but that way they can ask questions to one another, challenge one another and we really foster an environment where people are working collaboratively and sharing ideas, sharing thoughts, brainstorming and really pushing one another. I think the creative is better because of that.
Dale Everett: A year or two ago we launched the CW. It was UPN and the WB were being joined to form the first new broadcast network for quite a while and so we pitched in one and we launched the CW. That was a project really -- was really fantastic because it did involve everybody. We set up a war room where we had -- it was a huge room that we put corkboard walls up and reference went up there, ideas, writing went up there. It was a way that we could very fluidly move ideas and visuals from category to category and it even proved to be a sort of interactive room where we had the -- in this case, we had the manager being able to bring the client into the room and since everything was pinned on a wall and not printed out on sheets of paper but literally pinned to the wall and cut up with scissors, he could point the things and say, you know I like this thing but I think it would be better in this category. And we could just pull things off and move them to the other one and so that was a real process both of all of us working together and even a collaboration with the client in that he was able to come in and physically move things around to kind of like build the categories that we wanted to present.
Kristen Olson: So that was a really refined process because we were working towards some very specific goals. Sometimes, at the start of a project, we will get everyone into a common area with a dry eraseboard and we will just start sharing ideas and helping the team that's working on that project really just to get the juices flowing and so what's great about that is everyone is involved. Dale Everett: In these brainstorms, you never know where the great ideas are going to come from and so having everybody in here, from the receptionist to the production assistants, you never know. It may not be the creative director, it may not be the designer, pieces of puzzle can come from everywhere. I have worked at places where the culture haven't been as collaborative as here and it's hard and it doesn't produce as great a product and the size of the projects here really necessitate this kind of mutual sort of support system that we have for each other, the creatives and the producers. Producers laying and being flexible and laying out this path for us but knowing that we may take turns along the way and it's that working together that enables us to get through these very large and very difficult projects.
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