THE INDEPENDENT FILM CHANNEL (IFC) is now "Always On. Slightly Off." In early 2010, FGA began an intense journey into the heart of a network rebrand for IFC. IFC's vision for the project was to extend the channel's reach beyond indie film to include a wide selection of indie culture. Music, film, food, sex, gaming, internet shenanigans—all of these categories would be within IFC's creative domain. They placed a particular emphasis on comedy as a focal point for the new brand, and everything from the logo to promos to the show packaging had to reflect the "Always On. Slightly Off." sensibilities of the new IFC.
The examples presented here show the majority of our work on the initial rebrand, as well as a selection of additonal projects we undertook as new and orginal programming was added to the channel. We continue to work closely with IFC to help the brand evolve as the network grows.
OUR FIRST TASK was to distill these essential ideas into the logo and tagline. There's an implied twist in the tagline—something hinting at interesting contradictions, odd juxtapositions, and possibly rude (but enjoyable) surprises. We quickly understood that the system needed to embrace these tensions at every level, but it needed to do so in a way that didn't require the wearing of metaphorical clown shoes.
THE LOGO seems pretty straightforward, but if you take a closer look at the letterforms, you'll notice there's something a bit off in each of them. Corners are irregularly rounded, straight lines aren't quite perfectly straight, and right angles are ever-so-slightly bent. You may not see it from across the room, but it's in there, trust us.
NEXT, look at the way the tagline is used. Sometimes it perches safely atop the "I" of IFC, other times threatens to crush it. Other times it simply lacks any manners at all and overlays the logo like a decal. Likewise, the tagline's box is a bit ill-fitting, but not so bad that you wouldn't let it buy you a drink.
GRAPHIC ELEMENTS are "Slightly Off" throughout the system. Logos and text can be placed tastefully within the composition, or they can sit proudly on top of imagery and footage. Colors are a little louder than usual, but they're grown-up enough to vote. Typography is big and unfussy. Titles live in boxes, just like the tagline. Editing style is direct and unfussy, and tied closely to sound design elements developed by our audio partner Hatfarm.
DISTILLATIONS of the "Always On. Slightly Off." tagline. IFC gave us a huge amount of creative latitude to interpret this central idea. Basically, everything had to feel like it was coming from the same head, but from there on out, we were free to explore.
A BIG PART of the rebrand was devoted to creating a library of thematic interstitials that IFC could mix and match with other assets to make promos. The themes were based around the channel's programming genres and included such all-time favorites as comedy, sex, music, food, horror, and action, among others. IFC allowed us to interpret the themes as we saw fit, as long as A) they held true to the "Always On. Slightly Off." tagline, and B) no human nipples were depicted. Most include custom sound design by Hatfarm.
We continue to work with IFC, giving their special segments, shows, and programming blocks their own closely-related spin on things.
Rebrands, like small children, need strict boundaries or they're liable to sprout all kinds of undesirable traits. Our Style Guide lays out all the important Dos and Don'ts for making good-looking, well-behaved IFC graphics. A sampling of pages follows.
Once a brand becomes fully formed, the time comes to send it into the cablesphere so that it might propagate into its myriad forms. Here are a few examples of the IFC brand as interpreted/implemented by others.
IFC gave us a huge amount of creative latitude and trust, and were always willing to take a leap. For these blessings FGA will be forever grateful.
FGA / MATT ELLER / BILL MORRISON: creative development/direction, on-air system design, writing, research, animation, photography, live imagery, typography, edit, audio supervision
PROJECT PARTNER / DIRECTION / DESIGN / MOTION: Lee Schulz
PRINT DIRECTION: Kristina Mueller
PRODUCTION / DESIGN: Willie Bogue
STOP-MOTION PHOTOGRAPHY / PROP WRANGLER: Bryan Dalton
MOTION DESIGN: Anouck Iyer
FOOTAGE / MOTION DESIGN: Judah Switzer
CLIENT: Independent Film Channel
SVP MARKETING: Kent Rees
VP CREATIVE/BRAND CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Kevin Vitale
ASSOCIATE CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Meredith Cooper
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Jessica Degler
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Fredric Mullin