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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: Oxygen was a fun project. It happened really quickly. At the time we were pretty busy and we weren't even really sure that we could be involved in the pitch, but the client wanted us to be involved in it. So we kind of came back with our plan of what we could do to establish our themes and be able to really give them a brand that they could work with. But we knew that we only had a few weeks; we had about three weeks or something like that to do it, to get the pitch together. On Oxygen what we did very early on was establish and work with the client in New York, but establish our process and a lot of it was working with mood boards and just taping stuff up on this wall actually.
We would just find things and rip things and put them up, there were found objects and just stuff that was working. We had two other - first we had three different themes which a lot of it came, actually there was a week of working with writers and kind of thinking about the idea. What Oxygen is, it's a women's network but it's not kind of in the women's ghetto of soft curvy stuff, it's how women -- Heather Kim: No pink. Reid Thompson: Yeah no pink. It's how women live today; I mean it's kind of real women.
Heather Kim: One of our tag lines initially was 'mix it up' and so that's the reason why we would take this variety of objects and graphically we would tie it back to the O, like all of these would be different objects but graphically they would resemble an O. They were brought together to represent the different aspects of a woman's life. So it was an assemblage basically. Reid Thompson: And real textures -- it was very important that things like we had fur Os, shiny Os, disco ball Os and it's like all that stuff really became things that you could think about tactfully and that was fun for us to start to design objects and purses and unique things that felt that way but also could be own-able to Oxygen.
Heather Kim: Because the demographic are very trendy people. So they are going to know immediately when something resembles something. But it still has to have to style, the trendiness or that sophistication. So it was a lot of product design as well. We had to basically product design a lot of our elements. Reid Thompson: And work with 3D modelers to come up with these objects, but the great thing is it's a brand theme. The first show was Tori & Dean or something like that. So we knew it was like silver pacifier, some baby stuff.
There was a lot of stuff that reflected Tori's life. The next show was Janice Dickinson. Completely different type of person, fake lips and we had weights and wax lips and -- the fun thing is -- now there's this themes so you would just always think about what the show is and what objects would represent them. So it's a brand that's alive. It's going to keep changing and it actually needs a little more work because you have to figure out these objects. It's not just plug-and-play in After Effects. But at the same time to me it establishes this personality for the channel that's interesting, different, a little cheeky and kind of fun I think. A lot of little shoots, just in our conference room where we would set up and -- okay we got that board approved. We need a lime, a candy ring and there is always some weird Nixon stuff -- Heather Kim: We are shooting basically every week, every week. We use Houdini in parts because we wanted to express powder, like women's powder as kind of the energetic spirit of makeup, that energetic spirit of the motion, the trajectory of objects and so we built kind of these powder-like objects in Houdini as well. So it's just another kind of note to say that we're mixing all these techniques together, so very interesting process.
Reid Thompson: Yeah it was fun. The funny thing to be is like it comes off very light. When you watch it you don't even think about it. But whoa, that was a lot of work. 3D people are always like oh, there is a lot of 3D in there. Heather Kim: Yeah, it was interesting because the women were designers but we had a lot of animators and 3D guys. Who were guys. So they were like okay... Reid Thompson: Yeah, they still had... Heather Kim: So every guys had to have a supervising kind of like female touch to make sure that they understand what they were getting into because it is a women's network, even though it embraces the male audience. Definitely there was a lot of kind of explaining- awkward to do.
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