Fox’s Hell’s Kitchen is heading into its 22nd season, but just because the show’s been around a while doesn’t mean it shouldn’t feel fresh. With less than a month to put it all together, Atlanta-based agency Elevation stirred up a glossy new identity for the Gordon Ramsay cooking competition.
Fox kicked off the creative process by bringing Elevation ideas and moodboards.
“Their internal team is very experienced,” said David Hendrix, creative director at Elevation. They had a good idea of where they wanted this to go from the beginning.
The overall theme Fox was going for was “Americana,” said Dianne Frisbee, art director at Elevation, and the season’s tagline is “the American Dream.” The Fox creative team also included concepts that would make it into the final package: bold type, heat distortion and flag motion, as well as themes, such as Pattern O’Hades, Road Trip to Hell and Burn It. Elevation created styleframes to pitch to Fox, which ultimately opted for the “flag option” to serve as the package’s foundation, although other conceptual elements from the initial pitch found their way into the final look as well.
While the flag does deliver an Americana vibe, Fox wasn’t going for patriotic. And while the colors are red and blue, the opposing colors seem to have a dark shadow cast over them, giving the package a devilish feel. Some of the looks also include sparks, which indicate the heat of cooking (or Hell) or Fourth of July fireworks, tying the show’s content – cooking – to its theme.
Elevation also tweaked the show’s logo a bit.
As the team progressed, they found that simulating realistic cloth and flag motion to be more challenging than anticipated so they spent time dialing those effects in.
The team also had to make sure that once the package was completed, including several hundred motion-graphics elements, it was flexible enough for Fox to manipulate easily and on the fly.
“We wanted Fox to … have the ability to update the text on the flag in After Effects without having to re-render the entire shot in 3D,” Elevation said on its website. To solve that problem, Elevation used UV passes from the 3D flag renders.
It also had to be able to service multiple linear, digital and social platforms, so Elevation created many options and variations. “That meant everything needed to look good in 16x9, 1x1, and 9x16” ratios, Elevation said.
“The end product is a visual identity and toolkit that sizzles,” Elevation said.
Hell’s Kitchen returns for season 22 on Fox on Thursday, September 28 at 8/7 c with episodes available to stream the next day on Hulu.
VP, Broadcast Design: Jesse Hellas
Executive Director of Operations, Broadcast Design: Jeff Hazan
Senior Director, Design: Dan Pierse
Production Company: Elevation
Executive Creative Director: Stephen Cocks
Art Director: Dianne Frisbee
Creative Director: David Hendrix
Senior Designer, Animator: Sean Kiley