The first element of the show package we tackled was the title sequence because it would set the tone for every other deliverable. The competition and show were shot on location at Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch, a human-made wave pool designed to deliver the perfect wave every time. With a rad home base flush with sick surfing footage for us to play with, we set about designing 4-5 different directions for the client to explore.
Check out some of the team's styleframes below - Graphic Supreme and Waveform.
The design boards gave a variety of directions for us to move in, some cinematic, some graphic, some retro-- all leaning into various tropes of surfer culture we wanted to showcase. Ultimately, we moved forward with a cinematic concept ideated and designed by Josh Norton, BGSTR’s Founder, Executive Creative Director and resident office surfing ambassador.
Once we’d defined our direction, we were off to the races...or waves for this particular project. Our approach was rooted in the cinematic design we’d originated and was built out to have a young and fresh color palette. A repeating and mirrored imagery technique pulls out some of the retro vibes of the sport’s origins.
One question we like to ask ourselves when designing a show package is, “where will this live?” The Ultimate Surfer being a primetime show for ABC stayed front of mind and was the driving element behind the tone of the package: elegant and cinematic, but also a lot of fun so as to play up the spirit of surf culture.
The overlay texture seen throughout the package originated in the show’s title sequence but was delivered as an element that could be used throughout the edit, inserting that vintage vibe whenever the footage called for it.
We focused on the main title, ending on an edit everyone was really stoked about. After the solid response we’d received from the clients, we moved on to deliver all of the toolkit elements including: backplates, overlays, transitions and lower thirds.
A clear perspective on our end and a great relationship with our client made for a beautiful package and a smooth delivery. We love being challenged to set the tone for a project with our design and here we had the perfect storm - footage, expertise and a connection to the sport of surfing to come together for a package that was as off the hook as the competition itself.
The precise artistry resulted in a culminating shot that frames McKelvey in a way that’s reminiscent of a Renaissance painting or an album cover, delivering a surreal environment that still feels authentic.
A series of interconnected tubes animates as the opening track begins to play. The tubes continue to animate as if electrified, the sound waves and gamer inspired graphics taking it up a notch until McKelvey’s face is revealed in a pullback along with the show’s logo. The concept’s intentionally glitchy transitions add to the futuristic tone and contribute to the overall vibe that McKelvey has experienced his own evolution, leading us through his journey as a person.
"It was an absolute pleasure solving the creative challenges of this campaign with BGSTR. Their ability to constantly remain creatively collaborative, fluid, and flexible elevated the artistic execution of this campaign. When you are building a campaign with high expectations and an evolving creative brief, you need a partner committed not only to being able to pivot on a dime but to never sacrifice the integrity of the creative regardless of the new wrinkle. BGSTR exceeded all of my expectations."
John Cena comes with a hugely dynamic personality, and we wanted to design a visual language that celebrates that energy. BGSTR shared several directions with our partners at Fox Sports with the team landing on Art Director Carol Cai’s design forward concept featuring a young and punchy graphic language. We built on this initial look creating an animation style to fit the upbeat tone Cena adds to a project, and bright pops of neon to dial up the energy and give a nod to the summer season.
We had a great amount of footage to play with and used it as the foundation for a strong animation language, keeping Cena at the center while adding in text and elements that could be interchanged for other featured wrestlers. The bold textures we designed infused depth to the spots, creating a layered look that has a bit of an edgy feel and calls back to Cena’s original wrestling persona as a streetwise tough guy.
It was a lot of fun taking the Hollywood Cena back to his roots and injecting the spirit of some of his vintage traits into the promos, which give the spots a ton of personality.
We delivered a full package with spots starting from :5 seconds all the way up to a full minute promotional teaser. The package was so well received by our clients at FOX Sports that we stripped down the elements from the Cena spots and created a toolkit that WWE will be using for SmackDown for the rest of the year.
The animation language is designed to feature some really cool superhero moments of WWE wrestlers while packing in some action to ramp up excitement, so we’re thrilled to see it get more airtime.
It was an absolute blast working with the team at WWE and Fox Sports. We can't wait to do it again.