All posts by ogmog

Various stages of the Prank Panel titles

When our friends at Funny or Die needed a show logo, opening titles, and graphics package for their TV pilot Prank Panel, with Trevor Moore, we were more than excited to lend a hand. Our clients were the development executives at Funny or Die, as well as the team behind Prank Panel: executive producers Adam Small and Fax Bahr (who cut their teeth on In Living Color, and created the hit sketch show MADtv) and host Trevor Moore, star of the cult IFC sketch show The Whitest Kids U Know.

Jesse Benjamin, one of our go-to creatives, took lead on the design and animation, with Ogmog principal Jacob Reed creative directing. Now that the dust has settled, we took some time ask Jesse about his process.

Ogmog: How did you kick off this project?

Jesse: It started as more of an informal conversation with the show’s star and executive producer Trevor Moore and Ogmog’s principal creative director Jacob Reed. We sat down at a picnic table in the backyard of the Funny or Die offices and just got to talking about the challenge at hand: Creating a cool look for Trevor’s prank show. The twist was this prank show was couched in a late night talk show format, with panel guests and a dedicated set. Our job was to find a way to bridge the gap between the assumed “off the wall” and “anything goes” nature of a prank show, with the comfy and cool style of a late night show. There are a lot of very formal steps that happen when working with any client. For me, the dream scenario is what happened withPrank Panel: sitting at a table with the important folks I need to talk to and having a conversation – especially for a project like this, which has to capture Trevor’s personality. You can learn so much more by listening to someone than by reading over a belabored network brief.

On set: guests Erin Gibson, Pete Holmes, and Eric Andre with host Trevor Moore

O: How did you come up with the aesthetic and specific visuals?

J: In addition to some preliminary edits sent to us by Funny or Die, I remember one really helpful thing was when I asked Trevor what kind of music he heard when imagining the opening theme. More often than not, this can help nail down the tone of show titles super quickly. He mentioned Queen of the Stone Age’s “Go With the Flow” and immediately I thought, “Okay. I get this.” So the first part of my research was listening to that song over and over again and thinking, “What kind of talk show would have this as a theme song?”

Additional research was pretty typical in that I looked at opening titles from all the big late night shows. Surprisingly, there wasn’t that much I could pull from as references, as most of these shows have very lackluster design, or skew to a much older crowd. I’d have to say Rob Ashe’s fantastic titles for Conan were the only ones that felt inspiring, flat colors that lived mostly in a dusk or sunset hue, subtle textures, big confident type. That was my launching point.

O: You’ve worked on multiple motion graphics projects for us. How do you tackle a TV show, as opposed to a web show or other motion graphic job?

J: I come from a TV background, having previously worked in Comedy Central’s On-Air promo department, so I have to assume TV is my default way of thinking. Show packaging is my first language, working on anything else requires some translation. If I’m being honest though, I’d say the consideration I bring to a web project vs. a TV project is specifically not treating them any differently. There’s a tendency for designers to think, “This is for the web, so I can kind of get away with half-assing it.” I try to go into every project assuming hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people are going to be looking at it; there’s no reason every aspect shouldn’t be designed. Also, at this point, is there a difference between web at TV? Those lines are going to be blurred into extinction sooner rather than later.

O: The Prank Panel titles have a unique combination of stylized grunge with sleek, modern forms. How did you achieve this specific visual style?

Here’s a little (completely fake) story I heard about the Ramones once that I think perfectly encapsulates my design philosophy. Whoever was teaching Johnny Ramone guitar taught him the four basic chords, and, when this teacher was ready to move on to other stuff, Johnny said, “No that’s all I need.” It’s an insane story that’s completely a lie (I read Johnny’s auto-bio; he’d hate anyone saying he was a simple guitar player), but I love this story because it’s a good design philosophy. Do a lot with a little. Be unique with the simple tools you have available. Also, I’m no virtuoso with design. I like to keep things simple and punchy, not unlike a Ramones song. This is all to say, I didn’t use anything you don’t already have when you first open After Effects.

Main title before and after light leaks

As far as breaking down the actual design: we kept the sexy dusk colors, but also needed to find a way to make it feel a little filthy and grungy. The light leaks were a great way to add an organic element to contrast the slickness of late night talk shows, but also didn’t feel like we were painting this a “Punk Rock Talk Show,” which is a nauseating idea. The the word bubbles turned out to be a great design element to carry the weight of moving us around and supporting all the typography. It also worked in the context of a panel show, where some of the biggest laughs came from Trevor and his guests – great comedians like Pete Holmes – talking about the pranks he had done, which honestly were funny enough on their own.

O: In addition to the opening titles, what were the total deliverables created for the show?

J: The deliverables were pretty standard for a TV pilot. In addition to designing the show logo, we created the opening titles, lower thirds, transitional bumpers, mortise, etc. What was unique about Prank Panel was the talk show element; the opening titles would need to include different celebrity guests each episode, which meant we weren’t delivering just a rendered .mov file. Instead, the final deliverables included a complex After Effects project with layers and drop zones that could be updated by someone else, possibly someone on the network side. This meant keeping our internal file structure as organized and clearly labeled as possible. The big difference between a professional and amateur motion designer is looking at how organized his or her project is on the inside. A great way to make enemies is to have a bunch of layers labeled “Layer 12 copy.”

O: How many revisions were necessary before reaching the final concept?

J: Here’s a funny story about the pitch process for Prank Panel. Typically, Ogmog’s process is to have an initial consultation and brainstorm session with our clients, after which we present three distinct design approaches, and revise as necessary. In addition to the development executives at Funny or Die, the main team we were pitching to were the two EP’s [Adam Small and Fax Bahr] and Trevor. We all gathered in the conference room at Funny or Die, and, after Jacob and I presented our three concepts, one of the EP’s said, “Well I think it’s pretty obvious what the winner is.” Trevor and the other EP agreed quickly. What happened next was kind of a designer’s nightmare and dream come true – each one picked a different approach. Three guys in charge, three directions to go in. I can’t imagine a more flattering situation for a designer, or a more harrowing one. They had a chuckle over it, but in my head I’m going, “Oh crap, I have to find a way to melt all of these ideas down into one.”

Various stages of the Prank Panel titles

Of course, that happens from time to time and, in the end, we took elements of each design and combined them into the final titles. I’m really happy with how the whole project came together and think Trevor and the EP’s made a lot of smart decisions on how to package the show. They also put a tremendous amount of trust in Ogmog, which is a real gift for any design firm.

Prank Panel graphics package
Creative Director: Jacob Reed
Lead Designer/Animator: Jesse Benjamin
Original Music: Daniel Walter 

Want to see more? Check out the Prank Panel stills in our portfolio.

Jesse Benjamin is an illustrator and animator. You can check out his doodles and pictures of his dog, Maggie on instagram.

CAcover

Curious how a virtual creative agency like Ogmog works? To get an in-depth look, Communication Arts profiled Ogmog as one of  ”the country’s leading virtual creative agencies” for their March/April 2014 issue.

Read some excerpts of the article below – or check out the whole thing here.

“For an industry built around forward-thinking ideas and a universe of inventive minds, you’d think someone would’ve reimagined the traditional creative firm long ago. Sure, offices have gotten facelifts, spaces are more open and cubicle walls have been lowered. But for the most part, brick-and-mortar design and advertising workplaces have barely evolved. Of course, if ain’t broke…you know the drill. But something’s obviously not jiving. There’s a growing unrest among experienced creatives disillusioned with conventional agency methods, so much so that the desire to create meaningful work in more cost-efficient, flexible, and personally satisfying environments is pushing talented folks to think outside the walls – literally.”

“A lot of the veteran talent is freelance–they hit a ceiling at agencies and move on,” says Marlowe. “So what we did and still do, is utilize all this experience by building specialized teams for our client’s exact needs. Not only do our clients get access to incredible talent, we can ebb and flow with our business. One month, we might work with 10 contractors, another month 25.”

“That’s one of the big strengths of the virtual agency–talent comes on board for specific jobs, as opposed to traditional agencies, where the staff might not have the experience, but you have to use them anyway,” says Los Angeles-based Jacob Reed, principal and creative director of Ogmog, a virtual design firm that works with clients like NBC, Ask.com and Funny or Die. “I’ve found I get the best work from creatives when they can choose the projects that excite them, which in turn produces great results for our clients.”

Stephanie Orma’s full article, “So… How Do Virtual Creative Agencies Work,” is in the March/April 2014 issue of Communication Arts, available in news stands, and as a pdf here.

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Hey Los Angeles – if you’re looking for something fun and free to do tonight, look no further!

Tonight at the iam8bit gallery in Echo Park, Ogmog illustrators Abel Charrow, Jacob Reed and friend of Ogmog Hugh Murphy will join artists from Robot Chicken and DC Entertainment to display our work. All proceeds from art sold during the show will benefit OPCC’s Turning Point, an interim housing program that tailors services to the needs of homeless individuals to rebuild their lives and end their homelessness for good.

The Robot Chicken DC Comics Art Show
7-11pm March 28th at iam8bit Gallery
2147 W. Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026
www.iam8bit.com

It’s free, it’s for a good cause, and we’re pretty excited about it. Hope to see you there!

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Bacon Labs

Who doesn’t love Bacon? We certainly do! And lucky for us, we’re bringing home the bacon for the next few months… literally! We’ve been working in secret on a video campaign for Big Bacon (aka the National Pork Producer’s Council) spanning four months and including the creation of 32 bacon themed videos.

That’s a lot of delicious news to swallow – and, while we’ll be posting quite a bit more about it in the future, here are a few videos we can’t wait to share.

Creative director: Jacob Reed
Director: Nic Stanich
Writer: Eric Cunningham
Starring: Mike McLendon, Dave Theune
DP: Andrew Knapp
AC: David Kirkeby
Gaffer: Paul Cannon
Sound: Neil Kimball
Make up: Veronica Rodarte
Production Design: Lauren Burge
Editor: Stephen Pearlstein
VFX: Dustin Bowser
Set PAs: Ian Ricket, Scott Christopher

TypeSuperHeroes

For the uninitiated, the differences between typefaces and the vernacular with which they’re discussed can be confusing. Luckily, this series of Superhero Typographic Classifications by Matthew Olin is a fantastic intro to type. What the difference between a serif, a script and a slab? Why use one and not another? A specific typeface can often communicate more about a design than color and image, so get to know your type classifications with this handy superhero guide. Read more…

VectorVSraster

So, you’ve hired a designer to make your website, flyer, brochure or novelty dog bib (a surprising percentage of our business) and now they’re asking for a vector version of your logo. What in the heck does that mean? You already sent them the jpg, so what more could they possibly want?! Well, here’s an explanation:

VECTOR vs. RASTER

Every digital image falls into one of two categories: a vector image, and a raster image. A raster image is made up of tiny dots called pixels that from far away (or zoomed out) looks like something. Any digital photograph, for example, looks like the thing it’s a photo of, but if you zoom in as far as possible, it is just a series of colored squares – kind of like a mosaic, or a Seurat painting, or an extremely coordinated crowd at a football game.

Rasterized version of the Ask Jeeves Logo

While a raster image is made up of individual pixels, a vector image is made up of lines. Vector images are made up of mathematically-defined geometric shapes: lines, filled areas, curves, etc. Read more…

CrocadilesDavis-BIGthumb

Grizzly Gillespie (Dizzy Gillespie as a bear)We love design mashups as much as the next guy on the internet. There’s something about seeing something nostalgic reduced to a bold and clever design brings a smile to the mind. But, somewhere between movie adverts redesigned as minimalist posters, video games redesigned as Penguin Classics, Penguin Classics redesigned as tattoos, and social media sites redesigned as sneakers (yes, really) things can get more tired than a sleepy panda redesigned as packaging for chamomile tea.

Over the last couple years, the internet has floodeded with [fill in the blank] designed as a minimalist graphic design project. True, sometimes less is more, but sometimes more is more. Thick sharpie squiggles, big blotchy watercolors, blurred colors, etc. — the kind of stuff you can’t fake if you’re just a wannabe design student with a cursory knowledge of Illustrator. Artist – and frequent collaborator - Abel Charrow has done a wonderful redesign project featuring jazz musicians as animals.

Abel’s Crocodiles Davis (named after this illustration) features beautiful watercolors of jazz musicians embracing their wild side. Some of our favorites? Thelonious Chipmonk, Elephants Gerald, Lynx Guaraldi and Grizzly Gillespie.

The genesis for this project, according to Abel:

puns are clever, jazz is good, and making drawings of animals is fun

With more than a few dozen on the blog already, Abel is adding more each week, so visit often. Check out some of our favorites after the jump:

Read more…

AK-BIGthumb

A few years back, Venice based Clever Creative contacted us about creating some original poster art. Their firm is located at the historic corner of Venice Blvd and Abbot Kinney, and they wanted to celebrate their neighborhood’s history with a poster that featured Mr. Kinney, the founder of Venice.

[pull images from old JR portfolio / newsletter]

Our standard design process is to design three concepts for a client, have them pick their favorite, and then go through a few rounds of revisions until we get a final product. For the Abbot Kinney posters, there were several ideas we really liked and had a hard time narrowing it down to three concepts, so I showed Clever four concepts.

They liked the work so much that instead of sticking with one concept, they decided to buy all four! The posters will be screen printed on 16×20 poster stock and will eventually be available for sale on Clever Creative’s site.

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Here we go…

Hello there! We’re Ogmog, a boutique creative agency with big ideas. We’re passionate about designing, branding, making, crafting, creating and coding. Ogmog has the nimble attention to detail of a small agency with the big ideas and capabilities of an advertising behemoth. We’re here to put your ideas on steroids and teach them to dance. Need something designed? Let us know. We can’t wait to get our skillful little hands on it.

On the Ogmog blog (ogblog for short) we’ll give you an inside look at our process, the latest design trends, and the occasional video of a cat doing something funny. In addition to following us here, we invite you to follow us on facebook, twitter, tumblr, and pinterest.

Happy internetting,

♥,

Ogmog