Creating a series of nostalgic, yet viscerally contemporary spots, Buck, the design-driven creative company specializing in animation, visual effects and live action, recently designed four IDs for TV Land, the popular network that provides classic television to discriminating viewers.
Together, the four short station IDs manage to pay respectful homage to the last four decades of creative designs through 3D animation techniques that are distinctively cutting-edge. The result is an irresistible blend of reminiscence and modern design.
"TV Land has done a lot of research into their target demographic," explains Orion Tait, Creative Director and Principal at BUCK. "The results gave them a much more specific sense of their audiences, who tend to be very modern and media savvy, yet appreciate the old television shows in a wistful way. We wanted to make nostalgia fun and cool, but without pandering in any way. It was a balancing act, but TV Land showed a lot of confidence in us."
In "TeeVeeLand," the most complex and engaging of the IDs, viewers are taken on a colorfully psychedelic, completely 3D thrill ride involving a bevy of imaginative, yet oddly familiar, characters. Traveling through a pinball-like landscape of frenetic checkerboards, undulating ramps, trampolining hamburgers, and fried egg fish, a series of walking television sets represent four decades of changing fashions and technology. Wood-paneled sets skip along wearing knee-high platform shoes before giving way to sleeker units gliding along on roller skates. The skating sets are just as quickly supplanted by winged remote controls tuning into the TV Land logo.
"That was probably the most challenging of the four IDs," says Ryan Honey, Creative Director and Principal at BUCK. "We spent quite a bit of time developing an '80's airbrush look, building on a number of influences that we found in books, including the translucent goo on the ground and the fried egg fish. We purposely included a bunch of references to that past era within the characters and environments, but we did them in 3D to make them feel fresh and modern. To appeal to TV Land's 40-something demographic, we really had to find a hybrid technique. I mean, the channel hinges on time-tested retro media, so the imagery has to reflect that, but these viewers feel just as young and vibrant as they did in their 20's, so they don't just want nostalgia."
Using the latest versions of Cinema4D and After Effects software, the BUCK team also succeeded in fusing all-too-familiar fashions with decidedly futuristic graphic designs. "Hairstyles" opens with a Presley-style pompadour and large sunglasses before traveling quickly through a Mary Tyler Moore-like bob and an iconic Mr. T Mohawk, arriving finally at long glitter rock locks. "Footwear" uses quickly changing dramatic backgrounds to envelope a progression from two-toned saddle shoes through brightly colored platforms and plain white rollerskates, to end up at mid-cut Adidas sneakers. "The Hand" uses a design technique reminiscent of album cover art to pay stylish, organic tribute to vinyl LPs, towering afros, and soft ice cream.
"We loved doing these pieces," enthuses Tait. "Essentially, we set out to have some fun by juxtaposing three decades of very different lifestyles. In researching those eras, however, we came across a lot of truly amazing, stylish designs that inspired us. It was fantastic opportunity to have a job where these designs could be treated somewhat respectfully, and not just trendily. We still poked some fun at those eras, but in a lighthearted way."
"These IDs are more like good psychedelic trips than retro cartoons," agrees Honey. "We were able to approach this great imagery with our toolset and animation approach, and the contemporary feel just comes through on its own. It was a challenge to convey a thirty-year transformation of styles in just five seconds or so, but we got it done. In that, we were helped a lot by Insurgent Music's Chris Wei, who did the original composition and sound design for these pieces."
Specializing in design-driven creative, Buck's directors and artists use animation, visual effects and live action to collaborate with clients, from concept to delivery, producing work that is visceral, diverse and innovative.
From offices in New York and Los Angeles, Buck works with a broad range of clients in the advertising, broadcast, retail and entertainment industries.