Motion design and production studio Royale recently completed a comprehensive re-design of Discovery Channel's on-air look and branding. Playing with the idea of "discovery," Royale created a high-energy package that exhibits Discovery Channel's repertoire of stunning show footage and imagery in unexpected ways.
"Royale brought an idea to the table which brings to life the awesome, unusual and authentic moments found in our programming by combining a series of stills with dynamic 3D animation," says Heather Roymans, Creative Director of Marketing at Discovery Channel. "Brilliant. Working with Royale was such a pleasure; the collaboration came easy. They brought such spirit, creativity and an impressive work ethic to this project."
"Royale showed amazing technical savviness in creating a simple interchangeable system generating unlimited combination of visuals," adds Amie Nguyen, Art Director at Discovery Channel. "Their commitment to the quality of their work made the process a strong experience."
The dynamic transitional device, developed by Royale, evokes the magical, elemental nature of experiencing life and learning. Images break into 3D cubes, flipping and unfolding like an enchanted mosaic that reflects the mystery and charm of discovering.
Impressed by their promo package for the Discovery Channel show, "Mythbusters," Royale was asked by SVP Creative James Hitchcock and VP Creative Dan Bragg to refresh the network's on-air identity and branding.
"We're all 'Discovery Channel' junkies so it was a huge honor to work on this project," comments Jayson Whitmore, Royale Creative Director/Partner. "Our goal was to create a simple clean package that would visually embody the idea of 'discovery' and unify the look of the entire network for years to come. In exploring different techniques, we were able to establish the right expressions of energy and anticipation through the animations."
"Our design had to carry us from image to image in fluid yet surprising ways," explains Brien Holman, Royale Creative Director/Partner. "The cube elements were given dimension without being cumbersome or requiring the Discovery team to use 3D to produce. It looks sophisticated, with the cubes seeming to magically come out of the screen, but it is actually a technically simple and easily adaptable system."
Holman, Whitmore and their team animated everything by hand -- parceling the images into squares, and rendering numerous mattes of the correlating shadows. The client could then throw any texture or footage onto the mattes and break up the images into 3D cubes.
"This was a heavy After Effects delivery for us," comments Holman. "Hundreds of squares can become a mess very quickly so it was key to have good solid animators with keen design sense. We had to determine how the images and storylines would flow from one to another in the most visually compelling way."
Royale was also tasked with refining the Discovery Channel logo, which had undergone a design overhaul last spring. The studio revamped the network's signature globe icon, giving it dimension and finessing the typography. The new logo is currently being used across all of Discovery's collateral materials such as letterhead and business cards.
The comprehensive package for the Discovery Channel includes branding elements, IDs, show menus, transitions, and lower thirds, as well as a generic toolkit of graphics and animation.
"This was such an organic collaboration with the Discovery team," says Whitmore. "They were calm and trustworthy, and gave us the creative space to do what we needed to do. We greatly appreciated each other's input."
"We created a contemporary branding characteristic that is uniquely theirs," concludes Holman. "It's the foundation for everything they're doing on their network now. It was a nice vote of confidence to help evolve such a well known brand as the Discovery Channel."