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“I have a job for you”.
I turned as Makumi ambled into the office at “ARK”. He had spoken with a friend of his, a person he knew when he worked for the premier Kenya web company.
“What is it?”
“Motion graphics. Sam wants some graphics for a TV show.” I look at him. “Samantha, haumjui? (you don’t know her?) She wants to do a show on TV.” Sam owns a company known as Projam Enterprises and was in talks with the Nation TV, then a two-year old outfit set up by Nation Publishers, the largest newspaper printer and distributor.
Small town. I had met Sam before, around 2005, at a company she ran where a good friend of mine, Ted Kenya worked as a “Flash” designer. Ted called me to fix an Apple “Mac Pro” that had a blinking light and couldn’t come on.
This is mid 2008 and Kenya had just gone through an election that had traumatised the country. The “Grand Coalition” agreement had just been signed, three months before we made our proposal. Kenya needed “happy” stories and Nation TV needed to get local television content to separate itself from the other two TV stations then.
“What’s the name of the show?”
Makumi sat down and we discussed the idea, proposing that James “Ashi” would do the brand design and I would work with the brand elements to animate them for television. Ashi designed the brand identity for the show.
A typical job like this started with the logo design. So the logo had to be:
- Feminine – Both the colour and form has to appeal to the targeted audience and be able to sit well among sponsors on banners and gift hampers.
- Memorable – This is television we are talking about. This a reality-TV show that would change someone’s experience. The audience would share that experience.
- Different – Most of the brands involved in the women beauty market were not “loud” in terms of colour, especially the anchor sponsor for the show.
Ashi came up with the brand identity motif as vector artwork in Adobe Illustrator. This was important so that once we begin to animate it, it would always look sharp on the screen.
You can immediately see the movement in the hair, a sense of freedom. I needed to capture that with the logotype. So I started by writing out the word "Magic" with some flair. This would make it different enough since there was no "off-the-shelf" font that was used.
I fleshed it out made it a 3D element in Cinema 4D. I wanted a shiny, reflective surface that reflected a bit of the brand colour and that would add some drama when animated.
Ashi and I put together the brand identity, with a 'ready for tv" look, including the logo of the anchor sponsor of the show.
Once Makumi was happy with it, we put together the style guide and showed it to the client who was very pleased. Have a look at it here - Magic Makeover Style Guide.
Samantha later introduced us to Matthew Mwania of Kamwaki Productions, who were producers of the Magic Makeover show for television.
One of the things I enjoyed the most, looking back, is working with people who demanded excellence. A number of nights were spent rendering the “almost” final video entries with changes being made up “to the wire”.
The show went on air for four successful television seasons from 2008. As Afroshok, our pipeline, collaboration and a healthy obsession for quality made us strong partnerships with other television industry players.
A link to the news then - http://www.nation.co.ke/lifestyle/saturday/1216-493236-okm8yb/index.html
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