The international journey that is the premise of the show finds Chef Reynolds exploring the culinary worlds of Mississippi, Oklahoma, Appalachia, South Africa, Italy, Jamaica, Peru and Los Angeles. We were immediately invested in the idea of exploring the versions of soul food beyond the American South and clicked with the creators of the series who wanted a bold and edgy look to suit the chef’s personality.
From the outset, we wanted Chef Reynolds’ personality to exude into the graphics and so we focused on finding a design in our exploration that was bold and energetic, but also kind of cheeky. We were given a ton of room to explore during the expansive discovery process and push the limits of our creativity. With each round of feedback, we had license to push the boundaries just a hair more.
Once we landed on the vibe, we designed the historical and cultural explainer sequences that appear in each episode, aiming to find the balance of quirky and informative. We kept the design fun, but also ensured that the necessary thematic elements were being shared in order to keep the episodes cohesive. As these came together, each episode really developed its own identity and style. The design was so collaborative that a ton of BigStar artists contributed to at least one element that appeared in the final edit of an episode.
By the time we moved into animation, we really sped up our process and had found a narrative language that suited the series. Seeing the episodes in motion helped us know what elements needed fine tuning and where to tweak to get the design right. Overall, the look of the series leans into the cultural style of soul food and the personality of Chef Reynolds, and our design reflects that while still remaining uniquely BigStar.
Collaboration is at the heart of soul food, and working with our creative partners at Onyx Collective on this amazing series really allowed us to embrace the community element of soul food. Watch all eight episodes available to stream on Hulu, now.