April 11, 2016
How do you capture almost two decades worth of social change and political shifting and turn it into a show brand? That was the question we faced teaming up with Jeff Cooperman and our friends at Left/Right to create a graphics package and a show open for National Geographic’s series Generation X. Bottling that special brand of Gen X attitude — a powerful mix of resilience, cynicism, independence, and edge — would be tough, but essential.
We started with a long look in the mirror, reflecting about our own lives and what it meant to us to be part of that generation. Through several lengthy conversations with Jeff, we developed a visual storytelling device that transports the viewer from a singular moment that defined Gen X back through time, in the end revealing the root of the event or, in some instances, the problem.
The technical revolution from the seventies through the nineties became our inspiration — the shift from rotary to mobile, from vinyl to tape to CD, from film to video. The physical changes to daily life and how we live, capture and catalogue it led us organically toward mixing the mediums. We combined contact sheets, zoetrope motion effects, digital readouts, and photography and video of all kinds to create a single, dynamic graphic look for the series.
The time we spent meditating on our individual histories prior to our design work was not only fun and interesting, it paid dividends throughout the project. The collaboration with the fantastic Left/Right team became more personal for all involved. Our work was not only creatively rewarding, the end product — our graphics fused with their series — resulted in a fresh, new take and much-deserved spotlight on a generation once dubbed by the Pew Research Center as “America’s neglected middle child.” Break out that flannel shirt and have a look.
April 11, 2016
Founder / Exec. Creative Director
Josh Norton, Co-founder and Creative Director of BigStar, always had a hard time being told what to do. After graduating from the highly regarded Savannah College of Art and Design and cutting his teeth at top production companies like Imaginary Forces and Version 2, it seemed only fitting that he would break out on his own. With longtime friend, Alex Krawitz, Norton started BigStar over a decade ago with the idea of providing clients with powerful, effective communications through quality and timeless design work. But more than that, Norton wanted the work that came from his studio to stir the emotions of his clients and viewers.
In achieving that goal, Norton plays a hands-on role in all levels of production, setting the creative tone for all projects and overseeing all motion graphics, animation and live-action production. Touching every part of what BIGSTAR generates is an extension of his client-driven focus. He is a collaborator by reputation, one that has helped a range of clients identify and achieve their goals. From major networks like HBO, Showtime and AMC, to Academy Award-winning directors, to global advertising agencies, BigStar’s client base continues to expand with every new commission.
"Design and communications overall have a lot of subjectivity and a lot of personality that goes into the craft, so you have to connect with people", Norton said. "We find the best solution and take into account what our clients are dealing with. We’re here to make their lives easier and do great creative work."
Norton says it never really feels like work; the world of motion graphics combines so much of what he loves — animation, illustration, typography, film, sound, music and story.
"I’m constantly listening to new music, and thinking about sounds, motion, and physics. The combination of worlds is what keeps it exciting."
He also looks for inspiration in the worlds of fashion, photography and graphic design, but is just as easily moved by a walk through his downtown Manhattan neighborhood. Though his beard and his cat might indicate otherwise, he does not live in Brooklyn.