Volume 9

August 16, 2017


The Documentary Group Rebrand

The Documentary Group has been a creative partner of ours for the past few years. When they came to us looking for a rebrand, we took it as a chance to get to know their process, message, and goals on a deeper level.

TDG Design by Doug Chang

The Documentary Group name as a whole tells their message, but we wanted to condense the logo into 3 letters, focusing on which letters had the most impact and meaning. We dissected the words down to TDG and used a mix of bold and thin letterforms to highlight the DG.

Logo Design Exploration Poster for TDG office

We also wanted to introduce a mark that could live and work on print, digital, and black and white backgrounds. After exploring many shapes and colors, we landed on a circle that served as our device to separate the acronym from the full title, and add a level of punctuation and strength.

This circle also played simply to the idea of a record button, and we brought that idea into animation in a subtle way.

TDG Final Logo Animation no. 1 by Amber Xu & Liu Chialung

Once we had our first round of animation, we knew we wanted footage to live inside the letters, as if you were passing imagery in a subway car or filtering through different mediums — never quite seeing the full picture until finally landing on the shot that brings you straight into the action. Ultimately, we delivered two types of final logo animations, business cards, letterheads, and presentation deck templates.

TDG Final Logo Animation no. 2 by Amber Xu & Liu Chialung

It’s always a pleasure to work with our friends at TDG, and the rebranding process was highly collaborative and rewarding. Thanks again to the team for the experience!


August 16, 2017

MTV SafeWord

Show Package

MTV’s new show, Safeword, introduces top celebrities hashing it out through daring games and comedic challenges. When Matador asked us to create a graphics package, we knew we had to create a sexy, colorful and youthful look.

As with most broadcast show packages, we began researching different ways type and color could work across multiple platforms and what elements and approaches we could take to create the right mood.

Our research allowed us to explore some really interesting and fun avenues, and we explored bright colors and spaces for our talent to live.

We landed on a neon approach for our main title. The words move around our talent, highlighting them as the central focus and framing them in the title of the show until the final resolve.

Once our look was defined, the network wanted to customize the main title for each episode. This allowed us to create episodic opens for each new celebrity to be introduced in a unique and crafted way.

Using the neon and gradient across the board, we were able to translate the main title into the lower thirds, score boards, and social media elements.

It was great to work with our friends at Matador and build our relationship with MTV — we look forward to continue developing stories together down the road.


August 16, 2017

Nobody Speak

Graphics Package

Luminant Media’s most recent documentary, Nobody Speak, follows the 2016 trial between Hulk Hogan and Gawker and the verdict that would effectively define freedom of speech in the media. When they came to us, we were entrusted with creating a look that brought the real-life drama and energy surrounding the high-profile lawsuit into a digital space.

Chapter Heading Design by Steve Fuller

After some research, we got to know the details of the case and cases alike, leading us into three design concepts. After just one round, we had the story we wanted to tell, so we shifted right into animation.

While the open tells the story in a streamlined way, we wanted to build each graphic card to stand out. We featured the top players involved, placing them in a dark space. Pulling from the base tones of the Gawker logo, we applied a louder color treatment to our main characters, while occasionally playing with color channel separation to make them really pop.

Open Design by Steve Fuller
Open Animation by Diksha Watwani & Annalise Murphy

To fully embody media outlets in the digital age, we decided to have the type write on in a journalistic “record-keeping” animation style. We also used elements from our own craft by using bounding boxes to bring information in and out of the scenes.

We top off the moments with a computer screen texture, and intermingle newspaper headlines to marry the print and digital worlds of media, creating an overarching tone of “public-eye” exposure.

Chapter card animation by Annalise Murphy

Our chapter cards mimicked the style created for the open, and we carried our bounding box idea across the board, implementing the animation to the location IDs and lower thirds.

A big thanks again to the intrepid Luminant team. We can’t wait to see what they do next.


August 16, 2017

Artist Spotlight: Kevin Sanchez

Designer & Animator

Kevin Sanchez is a freelance motion designer and animator with powerful 3D chops. He’s been freelancing with BigStar for almost a year now — getting his hands on some of our favorite Octane projects such as Game of Thrones and the One Show 2017, to name a few.

Kevin dives into projects without limitations, incorporating a mixture of approaches, elements, lighting techniques, and realism to each story. We’ve enjoyed his collaborative nature and can’t wait to see what we create together down the line.

Q&A with Kevin Sanchez:

What drives you as a designer/animator?

I love the development of an idea. Having the opportunity to tell a story using a combination of techniques from typography, graphic design, to animation is pretty rewarding.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a designer/animator?

I guess when I was a kid. I was always drawing, I wanted to be a 2D animator so bad. I remember seeing disney artists going back and forth between a couple of sheets of paper on a peg bar. Seeing those drawings come to life really blew my mind.

3D Animation for Superheroes: Decoded by Kevin Sanchez

Having the opportunity to tell a story using a combination of techniques from typography, graphic design, to animation is pretty rewarding.

What makes you love what you do?

I love the creative process early on in a project. Exploring different ideas and concepts, the collaboration between other artists and limitations of a project are something I look forward to.

What perspective do you bring to the design/graphics world?

I don’t want to just focus on a particular area of design but if I had to, I’d say I’ve been focusing more on title design. I enjoy the mixture of elements used to tell a story. Being mostly into 3D I’m really trying to fine tune my typography skills. I like exploring the different bevels and extrusion a type face will catch once light and shadow come into play.

Texturing by Kevin Sanchez

What is your ultimate goal, as an artist?

I’d like to continue to work on challenging and engaging projects, meeting talented creatives along the way and hopefully, tell better stories.

What were you working on before coming to BigStar?

Before coming to BigStar, I worked on the rebrand for Marvel Studios over at Perception.

I assisted in projection mapping, lighting, shading, calibrating shaders as well as implementing a C4D to Octane pipeline. This helped out tremendously during rendering. I’ve been using Octane ever since.

Other Design Work by Kevin Sanchez

What/who has influenced you the most?

I guess everything form old movie posters, vintage t shirts, music, film, scores, the weather even.

Going for a walk in New York City doesn’t hurt also.

Do you have any side-projects you continue to work on?

I try to disconnect from the computer every now and then but the idea of doing live visuals for concerts is something I’ve been playing around with.

What are you most passionate about professionally? What most excites you about your work & the contribution you can make?

I’m constantly after that golden frame and striving to push the over all visual direction of a piece.

The ideal of introducing color to help tell a story or evoke a mood into a scene is something that really drives some of my design work. I love lighting, creating realistic materials and dialing in those fine details that help sell an idea.

Hopefully, I can create a visual language that reaches audiences regardless of language barriers.

Volume 8

Next Project: Volume 8
Telling the Bigger Story