In the early stages of our Esquire Network branding process, we had a lot of fun coming up with different ways to give the brand a unique and relatable voice. We dug through some of our old frames / process work and are excited to share some of our favorite ideas that didn’t quite make it through to the final product.
Not everyone knows that this project started out as a rebrand of G4, which had historically focused on video games. We were given the opportunity to help evolve the tone and identity of the G4 brand into something that was much broader, with men as the target demographic, but handled in a smart, sophisticated and personable way (basically everything that Esquire Network later embodied). One huge challenge was to make the G4 name make sense conceptually as the content shifted. We came up a logo treatment that was really engaging, slightly tongue-in-cheek, and would have been a blast to apply in real life. ;)
Parks and Recreation
The logo “G” was followed by show-related images, all in groupings of four, which animated into the word “four” in the final lockup. This system provided a really fresh, unique way to tie content directly to the brand. Aside from working as a nice device, spelling out the FOUR was something we all thought also had an interesting dynamic in terms of signalling a change. The possibilities for connecting the brand to any content / socially relevant subject matter would have been limitless.
James Bond Marathon
American Ninja Warrior
Parks and Recreation
We also had a lot of fun exploring our “Well played” tagline, and focused on a bunch of “well played” moments that featured characters being funny, clever, thoughtful, stylish, etc. What was originally meant to work as part of an end tag morphed into typography-heavy graphic / photographic spots that guided the viewer through a pseudo-print design environment that helped emphasize compelling quotes / moments. We were heading this direction creatively even before we knew about the negotiations with Esquire. ;) The branding moments in the following frames also doubled as potential advertising partnerships / custom content.
“Enough Project” sponsor spot
We loved how the sophisticated attitude of G4 / Esquire set it apart from the other male-centric networks. To emphasize this, we wanted to find a way to celebrate high quality craftsmanship in any field. Our plan was to commission specialists from all different crafts to create their own “G.” We planned to shoot the creative process and use it as the basis for a “signature series” spot that would play during commercials. To illustrate this idea, we collaborated with our custom millwork friend, Spindle Pilot, who made a three-foot-tall wooden “G.”
We shot the “G”
Then created a hypothetical sequence (using our favorite reoccurring placeholder friend, Kurt Whittaker).
Here’s a handful of other frames and offshoot ideas that were created along the way:
And, here’s where things ended up: We eventually settled on a design sensibility, incorporating tactile, sophisticated color palettes and smart typography, which confidently bookends the content and communicates information in a relaxed and engaging way.
The entire project, from pitch development all the way through to production, was really creatively fulfilling thanks to the team over at Esquire Network. A big thanks to Lorenzo, Adam, Erin and the rest of our friends over there for being great collaborators and entertaining some pretty crazy ideas. :)