Tricky Dick

Series Design

Client

Left/Right

Year

2019

Partnering up with the team at Left/Right, we collaborated over several months to develop the look for Tricky Dick, a 4-part docu-series for CNN. With the unique structure of a series made entirely of archival materials, we needed to establish a strategy that would bring new life to imagery from the era, while simultaneously creating a look of consistency throughout each episode.

Initial Design Exploration by Ross Henderson and Ivan Viaranchyk

We needed to establish a strategy that would bring new life to imagery from the era, while simultaneously creating a look of consistency throughout each episode.

Initial Color Animation by Chris Scales / Final Animation by Brian Landisman

We started our initial design exploration by incorporating bits of light exposure and blocks of color to bring vibrancy to photo treatments. In the end, we found our most successful designs were those that let the archival material speak for itself. We used subtle contrast to make the blacks in each photo as rich as possible and worked to incorporate bold type and occasional instances of double exposure for a splash of modernism. These methods were implemented across the board, from parallaxed photo treatments, to newspapers, date sequences, location ID’s and more.

Newspaper Sequences by Brian Landisman and Stephanie Swart
Date Sequences - Animation by Brian Landisman
Subtitle and ID Sequences - Animation by Brian Landisman and Jane Wu

Using a parallax technique on important photographic moments played a key role in bringing dimension and drama to our sequences as well. We were lucky to have a plethora of never-before-seen images of Nixon that were given a customized feel with this animation style.

Parallax Photo Animation by Stephanie Swart and Brian Landisman

To tie off our series design, our approach to the main title needed to feel bold and grandiose, while still insinuating the secrecy and mysterious nature of Nixon and his presidency. We landed on an approach that uses pieces of Nixon photos sliding and shifting behind semi-transparent blocks of type, starting with his younger self, leading up to the character he became by the time of his resignation.

Main Title Design by Josh Norton and Ross Henderson
Main Title Animation by Brian Landisman

This was an exciting, fascinating process that we’re grateful to have taken part of. Thank you to Mary Robertson and the Left/Right team for entrusting us with this very special and timely series!

-BGSTR

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