I ain’t done with competitions yet!

So the results have come back for the D&AD 2013 competition. I didn’t make the cut (though Kit Russell of DJCAD’s 4th year illustration did, congratulations to him!) but I’m determined it seems. Next week I’m attending the Marketing Society Awards, as one of 6 candidates in contest to win the Creative Student Award. I’ll be sure to keep you updated on that one…

But if that doesn’t go according to plan there’s one last hope before 4th year starts, and once again it all rests with Channel 4. It’s that time of the year that E4 is holding its annual Estings Competition.

Courtesy of Channel 4

This is an annual contest where E4 open their brand and welcome artists, designers and animators to produce new stings and idents for their channel. If you win or are a runner-up it’ll result in having your work shown for the next year on the channel. The stakes are pretty high, and typically the standard of entries can be even higher. I’ve done a fair bit of research on past entries and past winners, to get a taste for what the panel might be into. The ident below is a personal favourite of mine…

It’s beautifully and smoothly animated and has the sense of humour that fits right in with what E4’s brand image prides itself in. Something quirky, random and humour driven seems the order of the day here. Also the quirky 80s look suits the E4 colour scheme right down to the ground. So maybe there’s something I can learn from this ‘E4 Man’. It really hits the right spot for the E4 target audience, with the ironic 80s slickness.

I’ve been thinking about the premise behind the ad, adding a little intellectual rigour to it, and thinking how I can play around with the idea that life goes too fast, and that E4 provides that half hour of not having to think about uni work or your job. Basically – life’s too fast. Let E4 help slow it down a little. So anything with funny slow motion in it would work just fine.

I’ve yet to set the idea out on sketchbook yet, but I’ll draw up a few ideas and post about them here. Ultimately I’d like a more slick aesthetic to the whole thing than my usual 50s inspired look, something with an almost 1980s neon and Back To The Future-Delorian sort of sensibility. But maybe it’s just E4 man making me think that. One artist that I’ve had in mind is the fantastic Dan Matutina, an illustrator who typically goes under the moniker of Twisted Fork.

Courtesy of Twisted Fork (Dan Matutina)

Courtesy of Twisted Fork (Dan Matutina)

It’s not a far cry from the style I used for my 4seven project either, but textures and flashy lighting would make a big difference.

Another possible source of inspiration is this recent internet hit – Dumb Ways To Die. If you haven’t already seen it take a look – it’s hilarious and incredibly clever all at once.

It’s far more cartoony and basic, but it’s got oodles of charm and wit, and would be incredibly easy to fit the E4 colours and branding imagery.

These examples are purely stylistic though. The concept needs nailed first. For the conception of the sting and the storyboarding it’s also important to keep in mind just how short this piece should be – about 10 seconds. If the storyboard is anything more than 2 or 3 frames there’s too much going on. If anything it’s almost a snapshot, as brief a glimpse of a story as a painting or photograph is. I’ll need to look at how static formats tell in-depth stories and suggest these in-depth stories and try to apply this to my sting. Length was most definitely an issue with my ident for 4seven – I don’t want to make the same mistake twice.

Listening to: Raft Easily by Rooftops

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