We played with type, explored transitions and chapter cards, and tried out different aspects for a single episode until we were able to creatively land on something that was working and felt on par with Arnold and his oversized persona.
The design style we landed on feels very suited to Arnold; it leans in to his personality as a whole but also his brand. The series is divided into three episodes, each reflecting one of Arnold’s eras— bodybuilding, acting and politics. The animation language stays generally the same across episodes, but modernizes across the eras.
For episode one, covering Arnold’s early history and bodybuilding career, we designed with bold type and flashy animations. We treated a lot of photos and early competitions and wanted to keep the animation punchy and upbeat, channeling the feel of a sports documentary.
As part of the series design, we also designed the main title sequence which is a full minute for the first episode and then a main title sting for the next two episodes. Arnold’s personality is the key influence in all of the design, and his bold and commanding presence comes through loudly in the title sequence.
This project was an exciting one throughout thanks to the vast amount of archival we had to work with, thanks to both the public and Arnold himself. Photo treatments, documents, headlines, footage treatments and mortises, international posters, and quite a bit of family photos and personal accoutrements as well.
To complete the series, we included a bespoke piece for each episode. A weightlifting passbook for the first episode, box office treatments for his films for episode two and an election ballot for the third and final episode covering his political career.
The project was expansive, and we worked closely with the production team including Chilcott and also Allen Hughes throughout. Our great working relationship really empowered us to push the design to a premium level, adding lots of layers and pushing the envelope with how much energy we could infuse. The blend of punchiness and oversized elements really cements a design that was built around Arnold’s massive personality and charisma, grounding a documentary that is sure to be an instant Netflix classic.