Can Anyone Suggest Political Art

Can anyone reading recommend me some political design of some kind? There must be a decent bit of it out there, considering all of the politics stuff I also hear is going on. And I don’t mean the cheesy caricature artists so perfectly parodied in the The Day Today.

Why? Well last week we got the most painful amount of work dumped on our desk for the next few weeks. The reason the workload will be so painful isn’t because of how much they’ve given us but rather how little. They’re open briefs for the most part, perfect for filling with ideas I’ve had in my head for ages but haven’t had a project to apply them to. Now to find those ideas in the first place.

The first project I’m covering is with BBC. We’re to concoct a new concept for a TV show and then produce a title sequence for it. I know we aren’t TV execs but I’m thinking way too in depth about the show itself. I’ve decided to go for a show that encourages the younger audience of BBC Three into founding some interest in politics. A current affair show for the Twitter generation. Newsnight not for old blokes. You get the idea.

First things first is to try and develop some sort of brand for the show. TV shows are intriguing, like sub-brands of the major channel, which should act much more like a skeletal template to house the brands of the shows within. Would’ve been nice to know that prior to my TV channel project, but ho hum. So like I said, politics. Political things. The big issue is how to sell this to a younger generation without perpetuating news sensationalisation similar to every 24hr scrolling news channel in the nation.

First I looked at what was out there already and I was struck by the prestigious Wolff Olins rebrand of Al Gore launched US channel Current. It’s bout of business now, but LOOK AT THE SHINY!

Courtesy of Wolff Olins

Courtesy of Wolff Olins

They’ve taken a really fantastic a bold, no-nonsense attitude and applied it to a previously voiceless brand. The logo is a stroke of genius, and a lot of the imagery is very challenging, confrontational and almost aggressive, when accompanied with the vibrant colour scheme (like a ramped up version of every colour scheme of every news studio in the US.)

The brand values appear relatively bare when executed so succinctly – simple, uncompromising and honest. I think it’s a nicely dramatic feel, but worry it could get out of hand and completely blow current events out of proportion. Its unforgiving tone would get a bit tiresome after a while to be honest. So like this maybe, but less.

I’ve been trying to think over my own brand values now, taking the same approach I did with the whisky project to try and nail a description of what the brand should be. This is, once again, a brand looking to introduce a new audience to the subject matter, this time current affairs and politics. Some shows do this with humour, which might be an okay route to take if I can think of a funny or two. For example one of the most popular shows on BBC Three is Russell Howard’s Good News.

Courtesy of BBC Three

Courtesy of BBC Three

It’s more of a comedy and clip show than a current affair show though. I’d be looking to introduce discussion, debate and general discourse to my show. Generally quite clever sounding things. Sort of like Channel 4’s recent 10 O’Clock Live show featuring the likes of Charlie Brooker and David Mitchell. Funny but it didn’t have an aesthetic worth shouting about, not in the good way at least.

So I’ve got two very different angles I could take it from. Take it from a dramatic route and get a cool relatively gripping brand that risks being overly sensationalist or a funnier style which avoids that but risks being irrelevant light entertainment, of which there’s plenty. Ultimately I’d love the best of both worlds, to challenge the viewer, yet not scare them off with big monolithic title sequences. The ideal best of both worlds which probably doesn’t exist is therefor my aim. Thanks, politics.

Ultimately the brand of the show should be accessible. It should be challenging. And it should be honest. There, three word brand summary. That wasn’t so hard. Accessible, challenging and honest.

When it comes to the sequence itself  I’m always tempted to tell a little story through the title sequence, but it isn’t going to be any opening of Pixar’s Up anytime soon. At the same time the story shouldn’t be too specific so as to be irrelevant in a few months time. Hmm, choices choices. But it’s maybe getting a little ahead of myself to be thinking about that just yet. Let’s look for names, aesthetic identities, etc.

The first name that sprung to mind was ‘State’. Sort of a play on the dual meaning of it being ‘the state’, a governing body, or ‘to state’, to make your opinion heard. I think I’ll stick with it, it’s simple, memorable, maybe a little American, but what they hey! This could spawn a theme I explored for my D&AD project of speech, freedom of speech and communication. Images of speech bubbles and censorship boxes instantly come to my head. Just opinions of the masses would be the main theme here I think.

Maybe even messing about a bit more with type might be something different to add to my portfolio. For example I was looking at the work of Glasgow motion graphics studio Playdead. I was lucky enough to have one of the members, Jonny Harris, as a lecturer last year. Looking at their shiny new website I saw a cool project they tried out. It’s thematically totally irrelevant, but boy does it look pretty!

Courtesy of Playdead, Glasgow

Courtesy of Playdead, Glasgow

The idea was simple, write something you want to do before you die. There’s some good laughs in there for sure, but the look of chalk on blackboard has got images already floating around in my head of a globe with all these opinions and comments coming off of it, in a very handdrawn sort of style. Definitely an image worth keeping in mind.

Alternatively it could be more focused on the dissemination of ideas. Yes, I know what that word means, thank you! But looking at modern media rather than people’s opinions, and trying to separate itself from that. A weird example but why not take the music video for the late Capital Steez. His video for Save The Robots is more focused on old analogue TV effects, something I’ve toyed with a couple of times now, so it’s another option. Wait and see. Wait and see. I’m just riffing here. A 1142 word riff, but whatever.

Listening to: Pro Era Freestyle Session

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