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.