With designer and director, Dayday, at the helm, we began to explore a look for the series open through the lens of Black life in America. Using black & white photography as the main focal point, we profiled people, places and faces, within various constructs - from a map of the U.S. to the idea of a picture frame collage on “grandma’s wall.”
With a unanimous decision, we felt that photography exposed against the American topography spoke volumes to mirror the series tone. We pushed forward making footage and photography selects that could truly encapsulate Black life and Black joy - along with shifting our color treatment to keep the general tone black & white but keeping skin tones and location highlights intact.
The opening sequence would of course help inform other toolkitted elements, from chapter cards and episode titles to lower thirds and locators.
In addition to the show package, we were able to create a unique graphic ask for their episode about Afrofuturism - a concept that explores the intersection of the arts and science fiction through a Black lens and Black culture.
Inspired by things like Hair Love and the Boondock Saints, the ABC team was looking for a comic-book-inspired sequence to help explain what Afrofuturism is and its importance in celebrating Black pride and escapism from a tumultuous world.
Building off of the ABC team’s “star-child” concept, we landed on an illustrative direction by Art Director and Illustrator Jane Wu. Our illustrated sequence begins with Star-child in their bedroom, dressing up in a crafty, DIY superhero costume, and opening the door to chaos. When they open the door again, they’re transported to Ytasha Womack’s planetarium universe. And by the end of the episode, Star-child has become their fully realized self, in a shiny well-made costume, zooming through the galaxy, ready to take on the world.
Using cel animation and parallax techniques, our illustrators and animators really brought each piece to life, from the moment Star-child wakes up in their bedroom to the spin move of the fully-realized hero in space.
Thanks so much to the ABC team for entrusting us with such an important series.
Check out new episodes on ABC and Hulu.