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Showtime

The Chi Season 4 Trailer

Context

Develop promo packages for Showtime series and specials, including Season 4 of the Chi and Stephen Colbert’s 2020 Election Night coverage.

Strategy

Draw artistic inspiration from the topical nature of each program, channeling the creativity and energy of each show’s creators to design compelling and thoroughly enjoyable show marketing.

Solution

The Chi S4 becomes Showtime's most-streamed series ever, while Stephen Colbert’s special wins awards from the WGA and Emmys.

The Chi

Creative Context

The Chi Season 4 focuses on the stories of three young boys following an incident of police brutality.

Our promo package for the drama is designed to set up a new season that sets out to reveal what it means to be Black in America and how policy and community shape Black lives.

Shying away from the violence and trauma and instead toward the community, strength, perseverance, and joy that threads through the series, we set out to develop a package that embodied more than a place – but a feeling – the perfect backdrop for an emerging storyline where a community takes matters into their own hands to protect themselves and each other.

Promo Package

True stories, harsh realities, and powerful pop culture poetry formed the foundation of our design system.

Our promo package combines graphic typography, hand-drawn illustration, impactful type animation, and live-action shots of urban environments to promote, message, and title the series.

Early on in the creative process, we commissioned Chicago-based artist Nikko Washington to create custom illustrations for the package – which were then designed and animated across title cards, end cards, promos, and more. The result is a living, moving system that blends imagination and reality while touching on the themes, settings, and motifs featured in the show.

Showtime The Chi Instagram Post iPhones
Showtime The Chi Truck

Social Toolkit

We also designed and developed a social package that brought the on-air identity to life on every platform.

From social show opens and tune-ins to title cards, animated backplates, and more, we gave Showtime all the tools it needed to tease and promote the new season digitally – from versioning out fresh vertical and horizontal formats, to creating custom templates for every content scenario.

We then threaded out this design strategy across cast announcements, quote posts, episode setlists, and more, with a major focus on native tools and authentic messaging whenever possible that tied both back to the on-air show package, and the creativity and characters that guide us through the narrative.

Stephen Colbert's Election Night 2020

Showtime Stephen Colbert Election 2020 Stars Graphic

Creative Context

Introducing Democracy’s Last Stand: Building Back America Great Again Better 2020.

In the midst of a global pandemic, political infighting, and one of the most chaotic fall election seasons ever, we had two weeks to design and animate a promo package for Stephen Colbert’s live election night special on Showtime — a patriotic duty we took in stride as both fans and designers. To drum up interest for the live, one-hour special, we immediately looked to Colbert’s savvy, satirical sense of humor as a starting point. This is American kitsch, amplified.

Promo Design

Over-hyped, over-designed cable TV election night specials were our main inspiration.

Our red, white, black, and blue promo package draws visual motifs from old-school campaign stickers, Constitution-style typography, and gaudy, patriotic graphics packages used by the likes of cable news giants like CNN, MSNBC, and FOX News. We then added in treated stock photography of face masks, coronaviruses, and rogue statues of liberty to further play up the pandemic hyper-reality of the special — ultimately conveying Colbert’s sense of humor, anxiety, and morbid realism about the state of the nation.

Package Animation

Pop-up pandemic imagery, title cards, and hyper-patriotic animations added to the uncanny effect.

In motion, we imbued a bouncy, cartoon-y animation style to all promo graphics to drive home the comedy of the special. Logo animations and social swipe-up CTAs spring and unfold like unhinged pop-ups. Transitions shoot across the screen in dizzying wipes of patriotism. Flashing, red white and blue mortises snake around show footage in over-stimulating marquees. The result? A flexible, customizable, all-out promo package leading fans across platforms into Colbert’s world.

Services

Visual Identity –– Design Strategy –– Animation Toolkits –– Toolkits

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