Visual branding for the character-led documentary

Client: NHK
Production company: NHK Cosmomedia Europe
Creative & Visual design: Tom Kata @ Visionesque

The project

Visual Branding for the documentary series guided by a virtual character. The 4K episodic documentary series features English Lake District, nature, lifestyle, and seasonal events at Dalemain Mansion & Historic Gardens.

Vision discovery

The client desired a red squirrel as a navigator of the documentary to take audiences into "a book of Dalemain" (fantasising the Peter rabbit tale), utilising the visual story branding & design technique.

As the target audience were from young families to the mature generation, the visual Branding and the character must appear friendly and welcoming but not too cartoony.


Visual content strategy

We researched England's much loved Peter rabbit's tale and English Lake District culture and history. The visual concept had to link the Dalemain and the Lake District's atmosphere, the documentary structure/story, and Peter Rabbit's home.

We developed visual direction in soft and warm watercolour texture with a subtle movement as if wind gently coming through nature.


Design development

Animating a hero character;

A squirrel played a vital part in the documentary and stole the audiences' hearts. We directed subtle characteristic movements, such as a vibrating nose, flexible front arms, a curly tail and quick head turns.

*Background photos and text descriptions differ from the actual documentary.

Consistent visual Branding for the long-form documentary series;

1: Series of navigation map of the Dalemain Gardens:

The 2.5D parallax map displays a multi-dimensional garden. It navigates through featured parts.

2: Broadcast GFX: lower 3rd template.

3: Information design: Map of the Lake District and Dalemain.


Completion and support

A Statement of Work (SOW) deliverable sheet is essential to support the client's documentary production workflow. We utilised the time-based SOW that covered the 4 month documentary production period. Flexibility was requited due to inquiries throughout the episodes development and the challenging filming schedule due to the 2020 circumstances.

Design assets kit for the series (adopting requests in real-time);

Solving the client's flexible needs, being able to work with graphics at the last minute (e.g. right before going on-air).

We delivered easy-to-use bespoke design assets for online production to utilise. We provided a unique delivery format; graphics kits that are easy to compile, so that production can have multiple design variations without going back to the design process on every step.

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