A Channel 4 and HBO Max production from the mind behind Queer as Folk, Cucumber, and Banana, It’s a Sin is Russell T Davies’ take on the AIDS crisis in the 1980s and will tell the story of three friends who move to London as the HIV/AIDS epidemic unfolds.
I was approached by Russell and the production team to help them create a logo design for the show and a simple title card to be used at the start of each episode.
Russell asks ‘What is IT’S A SIN? It’s provocative. It’s a statement. It’s in the 80s. It’s a black and white t-shirt.”
In the 80s, slogan T-shirts reached saturation point because of one woman: Katharine Hamnett. Dressed in a “58% Don’t Want Pershing” T-shirt, she was photographed shaking hands with the then prime minister Margaret Thatcher at a Downing Street reception for London fashion week designers in 1984.
Hamnett’s style appeared all over the world. Wham! wore a T-shirt with the slogan “Number One” – and later “Choose Life”; Frankie Goes to Hollywood had “Frankie Says Relax”. Hamnett’s T-shirts became cultural signposts to the times we lived in.
This iconic style helped us to develop a logo for the show, seen below.
We experimented with a few different animation styles – before opting for a very simple title card.
Animation Test 01: Screen Printed This has a layered, screen printed quality to it. Building up layers of ink and words to form our fully formed title. This is a bold statement. It’s provocative. A headline / news article worth talking about.
Animation Test 02: Fabric This is proudly flying the flag. Pushing back against the establishment. Wearing the t-shirt and making a stand. It’s tapping into the mood and the culture of the 80’s; this an iconic Katherine Hamnet style statement.
Final Title Card:
Both heart-warming and heart-breaking in equal measure, It’s a Sin will cover the entire decade, and will follow the protagonists’ friendships and love lives as they deal with the AIDS crisis.
UKTV are a regular sponsor of the Edinburgh TV festival, but also a significant investor in British creativity; committed to working with new and established writers, directors and programme-makers.
As a celebration of our new and exclusive content and our ongoing commitment to British creativity; we created a collection of short animations to play before each digital session during the Edinburgh TV Festival. Each one focusing on a specific show. These short stings feature our top talent talking about what it was like to work with UKTV. A graphic style was developed that included hand drawn elements are annotations to give the stings a personal touch; alongside kinetic typography to bring each word vividly to life.
We also created commissioning showreels to screen during the controller sessions at the festival, that continue the graphic style used across the branded talent stings.
These reels are a celebration of our upcoming content and our commitment to creating new and original programming.
The Drum Design Awards Best Moving Imagery Design / Best Photography
Motion Design Awards Video of the day
We produced the opening title sequence for the thrilling drama series We Hunt Together.A UKTV Original production in collaboration with BBC Studios.
We Hunt Together tells of two couples in a provocative new take on the cat-and-mouse thriller. The killers are hunting their victims: the detectives are hunting the killers and the streets are their hunting ground. Love and murder interlocked in a dance to the death. We Hunt Together is different. It’s a complex and well-crafted character-led thriller. It’s contemporary and unique in style. It’s modern, thought-provoking and edgy. The opening titles needed to encompass these themes and invite the viewer into this dangerous, beautiful, multi layered London.
The title sequence is set in a world of glowing neon where predators hunt together in the shadows. A tale of complex characters and the vibrant, violent world they inhabit. There’s a heightened reality to this world, which we see through our characters eyes. A fantastical setting of glowing colour and neon light.
Predatory animals form the alter egos of our four main protagonists, creating a face-off between predators. As one pair runs, another pursues. These fierce predators appear without warning, much like the bursts of violence that happen throughout the show, catching you off-guard, making you feel unsettled and uncomfortable.
Buzzing street lights flicker and neon lights burst to create hidden messages of the violence and danger that is ever-present.
To create the neon-lit London we commissioned bespoke photography that captures London locations that are specific to the show in order to maximise the look and create something unique.
To achieve this we collaborated with Eugene Tumusiime, a new and upcoming Photographer, Art Director, and self-confessed Nightcrawler, who specialises in transforming London at night into vibrant neon.
The images and colour palette express that off kilter under belly setting – that North London Noir – to create a distinctive look with a kinetic energy to seduce the viewer.
The track by a band She Drew the Gun, which is ironically called Paradise, establishes the sense of danger, and otherness about our world and our characters.
This is a place you don’t usually go or see on television.
Traces is a brand new UKTV original forensic crime drama starring Molly Windsor and Martin Compston. Set against the stunning Scottish landscape of Dundee, three compelling female characters join forces to uncover the truth about an unsolved murder case that’s very close to home.
‘Traces’ are also the individual fragments leftover at crime scenes that are forensically analysed and pieced together to build a bigger picture.
Referencing these forensic techniques we used layers of transparent acetate sheets to build up our campaign imagery across various on-air and out-of-home marketing assets.
A real-life forensic approach was used to create the campaign key art.
Following a photoshoot with the talent – all images were individually printed on acetate sheets, layered up, pieced together and finally photographed on a light-box to build up the bigger picture and create our striking and original launch campaign.
Traces is the first original scripted drama for Alibi and was the channels highest rated launch of all time. BBC Studios will handle distribution internationally.
Creatives: Genevieve Simms & Robert Pirouet Designer: Veer Assi Head of Design: Peter Allinson Creative Manager: Tom Williams Producers: Nina Allsopp & Sophie Bryant
Traces is a suspense-filled thriller based on an original idea by best-selling crime writer Val McDermid. Set in the world of forensic science in Dundee, Scotland, the series explores the world of SIFA (Scottish Institute of Forensic Science & Anatomy) & introduces us to three female characters – who together will use the rigors of forensics to uncover the truth about an unsolved murder case.
The title sequence is told from a fresh point of view – where forensic science takes centre stage. The dark hues set the tone for a gritty Dundee-based crime thriller; the beautifully sharp – & often sinister – macro photography promises a quality drama full of complex characters & unexpected plot twists.
The edit uses a juxtaposition of wide location shots (of Dundee & forensic laboratories), with extreme close-ups (of evidence & human traces); helping to give the audience clues of what they can expect from the show, without giving away too much of the story.
In order to solve any crime, you must analyse the detail & look closer. Traces that are left behind & pieced together to tell a bigger story. To follow this analytical approach – subtle elements from the show are referenced throughout the title sequence; inviting the viewer to piece together the details & enter a sinister world of murder, suspense & forensic science.
The soundtrack features a haunting rendition of the classic Nina Simone track “Don’t let me be misunderstood”; with lyrics that seem to come from the murdered victim, and her daughter, desperately searching for the truth and pleading for the investigation not to be misunderstood.
UKTV Creative also created the programme branding and show logo. The Traces logo is a simple, loosely-tracked logo-type with a distressed finish to set the tone for a gritty crime thriller.
Director and Head of Design: Peter Allinson
Creative Agency: UKTV Creative
Designer: Veer Assi
Executive Producer UKTV: Philippa Collie Cousins
Production Company: RED Productions
Title Track: Nina Simone – Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood
The DRUM Awards 2019 Highly Commended Visual Craft
To celebrate the release of Dad’s Army: The Lost Episodes on Gold, UKTV has unveiled a huge 1940s army-recruitment style mural which has been specially designed to look as if it has been in place for decades.
The specially created, time-weathered ‘ghost billboard’ harks back to WW2 propaganda advertising and has been designed to appear as if it has re-emerged after being lost to the ages.
Working with Hearts & Science and Talon Outdoor, the 45ft tall mural installed in Clerkenwell, East London took four artists from street art collective Global Street Art Agency 50 hours to painstakingly create using a combination of emulsion and over 250 cans of spray-paint. The mural was sandblasted to make it looked aged and is the first of its kind to be created by Global Street Art Agency. The artwork, designed by UKTV Creative head of design Peter Allinson, features the new cast from the re-made episodes of the much loved British comedy classic.
It hit the press and national newspapers and made an impact with Dads Army fans across social media.
Following a creative pitch, we were appointed by Sony to visually assert the Playstation brand’s iconic status. Our response was a simple, powerful solution which put the PlayStation logo at the heart of the brand, establishing a clear brand hierarchy. This was supported by a strong brand colour and a vibrant and dynamic rendering of the PlayStation shapes. Throughout the project we worked closely with Sony’s internal creative departments, creating a branding solution which works consistently across all platforms, including TV, print and outdoor advertising, online, social media, retail and packaging.
PromaxBDA Europe 2018 SILVER WINNER Channel logo design across multiple media
The launch of the new branding follows UKTV’s track record for launching successful original shows. In 2016, it committed over £150m to new programming which resulted in more Original shows across the network than ever before.
The new branding really captures the creative process involved in creating our Original productions, from script writing to set design; storyboarding to editing. Basically, the unsung heroes that are often hidden behind the scenes.
Everything was filmed and edited at UKTV’s headquarters in Hammersmith across a two-day shoot.
Being able to bring content like this to life, in-house is truly rewarding. It also enables us to take more risks and do things differently to set ourselves apart from our competitors.
Working with the hugely talented Alison Carmichael provided us with an additional opportunity, to create a beautiful and truly bespoke logo. The result is a confident wordmark that feels crafted and authentic, like a stamp of approval or a signature.
For the Broadway production, we created an entirely new TV campaign from concept to post-production. We began with a green screen shoot involving the full cast in NYC and then continued with intensive editing, grading and compositing in London. Directed by Brett Sullivan and produced by Clayton Jacobsen.
We also created a variety of digital screens that were played out across broadway.
These included: Disney Store, Chevy Store and ABC Television Studios.
This brand spot for UKTV is an animated journey which aims to reflect ‘a lifetime of stories’ through their portfolio of 10 diverse channels.
Produced by UKTV Creative, who worked with London based animation studio, Animade, on the character design, set build and visual treatments to create a hybrid animation with 2D and 3D effects.
It was all built and animated using Cinema 4D and After Effects at Animade’s studio in East London.
Through a development process of style frames and animatics – we crafted a hybrid animation that mixed 2D and 3D visual styles with beautifully rendered environments that appear to be made from watercolour and brush strokes; all to bring a unique tactile and artistic look to the final animation.
We also worked with music composer and sound designer, Dave Connelly (Molecular Sound) to create a bespoke piece of music for the ad.
Audio was critical to the overall effect of the animation. We didn’t want the animation or soundtrack to feel traditional. Instead we wanted something bespoke and unexpected to take viewers on a journey, audibly as well as visually.
Written and Directed by: Peter Allinson and Scott Russell
Senior Producer: Celia Bayne
Producer: Cheri Darbon
Head of Design: Peter Allinson
Animation Studio: Animade
Composer: Dave Connolly, Molecular Sound
In January 2016, we set out to redefine UKTV’s purpose, following a successful campaign in 2015 to launch our new company strategy and values.
In collaboration with Cookie Studio, we created a beautiful animation to capture UKTV, the place where anything is possible. The solution was to build a 3D isometric world that showcases UKTV and our portfolio of 11 channel brands through a series of immersive and highly detailed brand spaces. The film explored areas of the office familiar to colleagues including the spiral staircase, the swinging chairs and our brand logos. We wanted colleagues to relate to the film and feel proud to be part of UKTV. The 3D spaces where created as a looping animations for use online and across social – enabling viewers to have more time to enjoy the detail of each space in their own time. To complete this piece, we decided that if the video was intended for our employees – it should be voiced by our employees as well. This helps to get everybody involved in a piece that we can all be proud of and further reinforce our company purpose: UKTV – Entertaining the nation from a place where anything is possible