Mr. Wonderful, a design and visual effects company, created the striking new graphic identity for WCBS, which is part of the CBS Television Stations division, one of the largest network-owned station groups. Mr. Wonderful handled the design and graphics for a majority of the station’s News package. The staple franchise opens for Live Doppler, Special Report, Breaking News, topical lower thirds, a syndicated menu page, and an entire CG promotion campaign, which highlights the station’s news chopper with high definition camera.
“[Mr. Wonderful’s Creative Director] Beirne Lowry has been a close friend of mine for years and we have a great working relationship,” says Bruce Erik Brauer, WCBS’s Creative Director/Director of Advertising + Promotions. “I trust him to take my concepts and designs and give them a soul. Beirne’s savoir-faire met tight deadlines and stayed in budget. Mr. Wonderful’s team took my lead and brought it up many levels to something that WCBS is very proud of.”
“Bruce [Erik Brauer] approached us because he wanted an elegant, artistic approach, with a much higher production value than you typically see for TV news,” explains Damien Henderson, Mr. Wonderful Executive Producer. “In short, we were asked to make the WCBS graphic identity far superior to the canned graphics you see for its competitors.”
Beirne Lowry adds, “WCBS is just the type of high profile assignment we envisioned when we started the company last fall.”
The new WCBS graphic identity uses vibrant shades of sapphire blue, polished 3D graphics and a gel-like, reflective look to the WCBS logo, which is an overarching theme in the re-design. The movement of the graphics is fluid and organic, reflecting depth as the blue environment gives the text treatments an extra glow. Soft lens flare effects also enhance and illuminate the entire look.
The re-design called upon Mr. Wonderful’s expertise, attention to detail, and ability to direct complex moves, as well as the consumption of massive quantities of coffee that would kill lesser people. The gel look of the CBS eye logo, which is always in the background, was achieved using optical tricks with distorted light. The goal was to treat it in a way to make it understated and refined.
“We spent a lot of time developing and creating R&D materials in Maya to flesh out dynamic looks for the backgrounds and logo treatments,” continues Henderson. “Bruce came to us with very specific ideas and style frames using words such as weight, matter and particle to describe the creative direction. Beirne then took his concept and expanded on it into a design that tastefully incorporates depth and space, and is very clean and reflective. Camera moves were the theme of this campaign.”
To promote the station’s HD-camera news chopper and make it stand out from other networks, Mr. Wonderful created high-quality photorealistic CG backgrounds, comprised of black cityscape silhouettes against orange (for daytime) and blue (for evening). The WCBS team may now use the CG elements provided by Mr. Wonderful and cut them into promos as needed.
“We really enjoyed working with Bruce on the re-design,” concludes Henderson. “We love his aesthetic and the way he articulates his concepts. We wanted to create a look and design that you can’t find anywhere else on news networks, and we’re very proud of the finished product.”
Creative Director, WCBS – Bruce Brauer
Creative Director, Mr. Wonderful – Beirne Lowry
Executive Producer, Mr. Wonderful – Damien Henderson
Lead CG Artist – Scott Hubbard
Senior Designer/Animator – Mark Thompson
Flame Artist – Sean McLean
Designer/Animator – Marco North
Designer – Frank Farella
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