Sam Mularczyk

Freelance motion and interaction designer

The Project

Information

The Project is a news and current affairs show, airing nationwide on Network 10. After I joined the team in mid-2017, I was given the important task of developing a updated look for the entire show.

The goal was to create a simpler, sleeker and more unified look, rolled out across more than 50 different After Effects templates. Not an easy task, but one that I was keen to tackle!

The old look

The previous package had been in use for 4 years, and it had been developed on-the-fly as needs arose. It was recognisable, but lacked consistency. There was room for a more considered design.

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Examples of the old opener, OTS and topic strap.

I was directed to keep the lens flares and glows, as the team felt like they were a core part of the identity. Everything else was fair game!

Concept

After reflecting on the show and its unique place in the market, I realised that what we offered was a different perspective. We're not your grandpa's news show - we stand up for the little guy, champion important causes and draw attention to things other news networks don't talk about. We've led campaigns focusing on reducing homelessness, addressing racism and advocating for gender equality. What's more, our presenters are encouraged to share their own views on current events.

In the new package, everything looks onwards and upwards - signified by a 1° upwards angle. This represents our unique perspective and our optimistic viewpoint. We take a hopeful look towards the future. We think Australia can be a better place for everyone.

Other parts of the identity, such as softer corners and bold typography, were chosen to match the user interfaces of our digital age - communicating clearly and succinctly.

Rollout

Once these design principles were outlined, I began to roll them out across all touchpoints. I designed, animated and developed all elements, with input from my team lead and executive producer. I pushed to ensure that each element used animation in a considered way, while still reducing visual noise from the previous brand.

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Updated opener, OTS and topic strap.

This involved creating new After Effects templates, using expressions in a clever way to speed up the process. Optimising and coding these for daily use became a passion of mine.

For example, our supers and OTS (over the shoulder) templates were made of multiple compositions and layers for both left and right sides. I simplified this into a single composition, with text that updates and resizes dynamically - and, critically, flips from left to right hand side just by renaming the composition!

This streamlined delivery of this element from a good 10 minutes, into something that could be finished and sent to render in less than two.

Modern approaches to old problems

We tried to push the boundaries of what news shows looked like. For example, we pushed our boxes edge to edge, filling the frame with the faces of our talent and reporters on-the-scene. This reduced visual noise and created a more immersive view of the action.

Our world news segment became something I was quite proud of. We now generate a stylised 3D globe for each location that integrates seamlessly with the footage before and after it. This is all done within After Effects, and uses the GeoLayers plugin to automatically pinpoint a specific area of the globe. This is something no other news show does at such high fidelity, especially not within a daily workflow.

Launch

After many revisions and fixes, the rebrand finally launched to great fanfare. We even had a brand new theme song!

The redesign was very well received - both internally and externally. The simpler look and revised expressions also reduced render time, freeing up space for the animation team to work on more creative tasks.

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