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Whether you are couch surfing on the weekend or searching for something to intellectually stimulate your brain, everyone knows Netflix is the go-to media provider for TV shows and movies. Working under the creative direction of the Irvine based media and content agency, Schiefer ChopShop, we had the incredible opportunity to create key art for a few Netflix specials and original programming. Cool opportunity? Uh…yeah!
Being huge fans of comedy, we were thrilled when it came time to create illustrations and Key Art materials for Tracy Morgan’s 2017 “Staying Alive” special. Following Tracy’s near fatal car accident in 2014, this Netflix special was his first appearance under his “Picking Up The Pieces” tour. Our main goal was to provide a range of well-crafted and eye-catching key art that successfully communicated the range of emotions Tracy’s comedy imparts on his audience. We all know he is a funny guy, so our illustrations needed to reflect his humor and appeal to a wider audience.
Above, you can see the final illustration executed by Austin Haynes, that was used as the primary “Billboard” image when the special premiered. Acting as the main promotional image for the TV special, capturing Tracy’s likeness and the manner in which he is portrayed were important elements to consider.
You can see several title treatment explorations above. Like the key art we drew from the 1970s design elements, the goal was to create something eye-catching that also complimented the name of the special. The suit Tracy wore during filming, which mirrored the suit of John Travolta from the 1983 movie of the same title, was another essential component that inspired our design. After exploring a number of different directions in that wheelhouse, we (the client and Dyno) settled on one that felt right and was legible at a large and small size.
Using the various title treatments, illustrations, and photography provided from the special, we created 20+ possible thumbnail title cards that could be used for A/B testing within the Netflix algorithm. This variety allows the audience to interact with media content in a way that is customized to their interests.
It’s always important to explore different illustration styles. We wanted to ensure we appealed to the biggest audience possible, so color, typography, and background design were critical components we took into consideration. The art director needed to see multiple variations in order to make a selection based on the aesthetic they thought would sell their product the best. These were the two final illustrations we landed on.
Once we had our selected key art, we wanted to make sure it worked for various screen formats. Whether someone watches the Netflix special on an ipad or an iphone, a computer screen or a TV screen, we had to make sure our illustrations were formatted in a way that worked with every device.
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