I was asked to create a short animation for a London-based charity called USPG which would introduce their new brand to its supporters at the annual conference.
Besides of introducing the new brand and identity to its core supporters, the additional yet crucial part of the animation was to show snippets of USPG’s 300+ years long history. The history part of the animation was to serve as a proud reminder of the charity’s achievements as well as conveying the idea that from its very early beginning the charity was always changing, looking ahead and adapting whatever the situation.
Behind the scenes
The animation features pictograms, shapes and typeface which were custom created in Illustrator, then saved as separate layers in Photoshop which where then individually animated in After Effects. The entire animation was created using simple options (tools) like position, rotation, opacity, scale and an awful lot of masks.
Soundtrack featured in the animation was composed to fit the ‘action’ and individual sequences. Music was composed by Darren Solomon of Big Foote Music in New York.
The very limited palette of colours (white, light grey, dark grey, purple and pink) helped keeping things simple and uniformed. The choice of using purple (which ft. almost until the very end) was down to new brand colours being selected in the almost final leg of the developmental stage of the animation. However, I took advantage and introduce pink (the rebrand colour) at the very end, before the new logo is presented.
Initially the animation meant to be 1 minute 30 seconds long (the length was then increased twice), the final version for the conference is 3 minutes long. First extension (from 90s to 120s) was on the demand of the client, whereas second extension (from 120s to 180s) was my proposal due to practical reason.
Although animation is quite short, there are a lot of facts from the history featured in there. To get my head around it I had to write a short script which was divided into 3 acts: expansion (act 1), radical choices (act 2) and USPG today (act 3). In total each act is just under a minute long. The change from act 1 to act 2 is almost seamless, because it deals with the past of USPG, whereas act 3 has its own little introduction (‘But today our work is different’) and clearly touches on much more contemporary subjects.
In total nearly half of the time allocated to the project was spent on research which then progressed to selecting/adjusting/checking history facts. This stage was an on-going process from the the beginning till the very end of the Illustration development stage. Cooperating with the client, USPG archivist and other staff members was a crucial element of getting everything right.
I have kept a creative blog throughout the project, keeping all my research, notes, development and post-development events in one place. You can find it at uspganimation.tumblr.com.
To see pages from sketchbook go to merdesign.co.uk/sketchbook/uspg-rebrand-animation
1080p25, 3 minutes, all elements created in illustrator (incl. custom typeface and pictograms).