After years of collaborating with A&E, we were tapped to bring consistency to their brand system. The goal was to create a playbook to make it easy for in-house designers to deliver cohesive graphics across hit shows like Intervention, The First 48, and Storage Wars.
The initial ask was threefold: audit, articulate, and design.
Refreshed Brand System
The Rule of Three
After auditing existing assets, we noticed a pattern that would ultimately become the framework for our system building: the Rule of Three.
This simple rule serves as a guiding principle for designers to use similar parameters in creating show packaging, graphics, and other assets.
The network approaches programming through a people-focused lens. The wide range of stories being told means the audience is connecting deeply with people they watch on A&E. The system needed these personal stories (not the design) to be the focus.
The Rule of Three allows for ample space for people and stories to shine.
Our goal with the updated on-air typography and design systems was maximizing visibility and impact.
Function and practicality remained at the forefront of our decision-making as we tackled their typography system. We wanted to improve the legibility and hierarchy without their audience even realizing. It was a unique challenge that ultimately yielded us two main typefaces: DIN Condensed Bold and Gotham Book.
DIN originated as a standard for traffic signs, street signs, house numbers, and license plates. If you could read a sign while sitting in your car, you could read a title while sitting on your couch.
We landed on Gotham Book for the smaller type for two reasons. First, it always looks great. And second, the consistent spacing and x-height allowed for both letters and numerals to easily be read quickly and at a smaller scale.
Once the foundation of a grid system and typography was in place, the focus shifted towards the design principles.
The goal was to both create more consistent work with their in-house team and to give language to their identity. This would allow them to better communicate feedback internally and with outside partners like ourselves.
Working with an external copywriter/creative director, we were able to write a handbook for A&E’s internal design team to use. The goal of the tenets was to execute more of what worked every time and give a unified vocabulary to the aesthetic that makes A&E designs uniquely their own.
The guide outlines not only general principles of the brand, but also shepherds designers through choosing color, texture, and other elements.