ESPN

Branding + Campaigns

Context

Create a dynamic array of design systems, show packages, and promos that capture the depth, diversity, and fandoms across ESPN’s award-winning linear, digital, and event platforms.

Strategy

Take viewers beyond the scores and highlight reels, into the emotional intersection of sports, race, and culture to elevate the ESPN brand and translate its vision across touchpoints.

Solution

Projects for ESPN+, The Undefeated, Outside the Lines, and the NCAA speak to a new generation of incisive fandom, inviting viewers to dive deeper into the sports they love.

Services

+ Design Strategy + Brand Strategy + Logo Design + Animation + Graphic Design + Title Design + Copywriting + Editing + Post-Production + Brand Guidelines + Motion Guidelines + Animation Toolkits + Toolkits

Design Strategy

Developing a dynamic, digital-first identity for a new generation of diverse, inclusive, cord-cutting sports fans.

Building off the DNA of the ESPN masterbrand, we worked for over a year with Disney Streaming Services to develop a robust style guide and flexible visual identity designed to help ESPN+ change the game in the sports streaming arena. This wasn’t just about a new color palette, logo standards, or typography guidelines — it was about establishing a new creative ecosystem custom-built for a new era of digital fandom. From a suite of screen-friendly gradients to an in-depth library of iterative digital display ads, we gave ESPN+ all the tools it needs to stand out from its parent brand while aligning with exacting design standards of its sister platforms, Hulu and Disney+.

Messaging Strategy

An array of strategic, voice, and messaging guidelines introduced the ESPN+ offering across platforms and fandoms.

While we were creating the visual identity, our strategists also worked with the ESPN+ marketing team to develop a fresh brand positioning, pillars, persona, and voice that could clearly communicate its offering to three distinct audience types and reduce confusion with the ESPN parent brand. Drawing inspiration from ESPN’s award-winning POV at the intersection of sports and culture, we also created a robust, easy-to-use messaging framework for the streaming platform covering headlines, CTAs, button copy, and more designed to bring fans deeper into the world of sports.

Motion Identity

Harnessing the depth, speed, and energy of ESPN with a unique motion language designed specifically for sports streaming.

Finally, we put the ESPN+ brand into motion, developing a robust toolkit of logo animations, sizzles, transitions, navigation elements, and more, custom-built for a commercial-free streaming environment. Using the iconic “speedline” in the ESPN logo as a starting point, we developed a motion language that delivers energetic, dynamic pacing with compelling graphics that look great on all screen sizes while still feeling unmistakably like an epic sports brand. The result is a dynamic, versatile video package that can showcase a wide array of ESPN content — from live games to original documentaries that are just the beginning when it comes to the brand’s future sports streaming portfolio.

Black Athletes Making History

Designing with impact for ESPN’s cross-platform Black History Month takeover.

In 2019, we partnered once again with ESPN for a cross-platform Black History Month takeover, designing opening titles, graphics packages and logo animations for a variety of linear, digital, and social content. Our modular Black Athletes Making History theme was punctuated by the primetime debut of Unapologetic: The Black Female Athlete, a TV special presented by The Undefeated, and a video vignette series telling the story of how sports figures have used their platforms to improve both their communities and the world.

NCAA National Championship

Teasing the finale of every touchdown, tailgate, and total fan thing leading up to the biggest game in college football.

Working with McKinney, we helped design and animate an elaborate, type-driven promo indulging in all of the emotionally-charged, real-life moments college football fans go through in a season. In the spot, typography physically interacts with footage from scene to scene, taking viewers through a series of tight visual metaphors, feelings, and reactions — giving an extra layer of meaning to the script that’s both hilariously relatable and deeply impactful.

Outside the Lines

ESPN’s award-winning series “Outside the Lines” reports on controversial news across the world of sports.

To create the opening title sequence, we created a layered portrait of the show’s past and present legacy, with glimpses into some of its most explosive stories and the invaluable reporting of its long-time anchor, Bob Ley.

The Undefeated In Depth

“In Depth” is a digital series that features top athletes discussing deeply personal experiences about inequality in sports.

For the show’s opening titles, we designed a layered visual narrative using archival footage, audio and bold typography that helped elevate The Undefeated’s new content series while appealing to a diverse audience of sports enthusiasts.