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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.
Reid Thompson: Designing for TV has many challenges, certainly technologically, but also conceptually. It's not like print where you design something and that's a finite object that's kind of finished. We are establishing toolkits and things that are passed off to internal teams of the networks that -- the brands are alive everyday, so they are using them. Things are changing and that's sort of on the day-to-day usage of our elements. But then on a conceptual platform, it's really establishing themes that can grow and change, but all still feel like they are of one identify.
Heather Kim: We meet up with clients beforehand to make sure to checkout their facilities, see what they have in terms of like what the systems and software they have and its aspects. Reid Thompson: Yeah, it's s big deal. If we use an After Effect's plug-in that they don't have, for a corporation to have to buy that plug-in for all of their After Effects stations can go into thousands and thousands of dollars. So we have to be very conscious about that and make sure we are designing to their technical requirements.
The technology, I guess, of TV is always changing so you have to grow and change and learn with it, yet even the design. Heather Kim: Design, like before TiVo came into the picture ,we were designing things for the lower part of the screen and now because TiVo is covering the lower part of the screen, some companies want info to be on top of their screens now. Reid Thompson: On Oxygen, we designed the lower thirds to come up along the side of the frames. We call them 'TiVo busters.' So it's really just trying to stay ahead of the curve on the technological challenges and then also thinking about the way people are using TV. We are not like a commercial where it's like a one 30 seconds spot that's finite. We are creating all these elements that people see different ways. It might take 200 viewings before they recognize, maybe even realize that they are viewing it.
But that single ABC logo say and the way it's crafted and the things that happen around it, the impression that it makes is the brand. It happens hundreds of times across the network every day. And that it's not one little story; it's happening in little ways, it's every way that the logo operates. It's always the stuff between the commercials and the shows; it's like those little elements. If we get ten seconds to do an ID, that's like a world. It's a long format for us.
To be able to convey the spirit of something in -- I think the ABC seamless is isn't even a second and a half, but to be able to convey like a corporate personality, a brand personality in such a short amount of time, that takes a lot of thinking and everything is a very purposeful and thought-out about each element that's in there. Heather Kim: Which I think comes across the Style Guide that we make as well. Another big thing is building style guides for us, which is very -- it can be very laborious, but a style guide is basically a summarization of the whole project, from the base concept writing to telling you what the RGB values are in a typeface.
So it's like when a person gets it over at the studio, the internal team gets the style guide. It's a way of connecting back to what we were thinking when we made the project and they will be able to take that style guide and use it for specific daily, day-to-day like tasks. Reid Thompson: Yeah, and it's as much as it's creating stuff for the network itself, I always think about the audience. When is this person in Kansas going to view this and will this make them laugh or will this make them think this channel is cool. Or what can we do to create impressions to the people out there.
That idea of pop culture is really interesting to me. I mean I love -- we are holding ideas and just this idea of creating something that's out there ephemerally and you don't know how the impressions are happening. But I think it's fun on a big launch like CW where we had billboards and on air and web and it's just like a pop culture assault. I love that.
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