Ahead of the debut of USA Network’s limited series, Treadstone, Los Angeles-based production company King and Country captured the series’ action and excitement with a full 360-degree design system that spans broadcast, print, out-of-home, digital and social.
The limited series, which premiered Oct. 15, explores the origin of the mysterious organization, Treadstone, that trained the likes of super-spy Jason Bourne and his cohort of global assassins. As depicted in Robert Ludlum’s best-selling series of books and the subsequent hit movies, the assassins trained by Treadstone are the most deadly in the world, and these sleeper agents don’t even know how highly trained they are until the organization somehow wakes them up.
King and Country’s mission was to infuse the series’ launch campaign with all of the intrigue and danger of the movies, while keeping the series’ slick, high-tech look.
“Our multi-faceted direction embraced what audiences know and love about the Bourne universe, delivering a distinctive look that speaks to the adrenaline and global events of the franchise, and also works in harmony with footage from the show that features heart-pounding action, deeply emotional moments, and spans time and geography,” said Rick Gledhill, King and Country director and partner, in a statement.
To do that, King and Country designed an intuitive system that converted Treadstone’s dangerous tone into an overall look and feel that USA and its marketing partners could use across any platform. Depending on the media, the system scales up or down in terms of its complexity of design, from simple typography to high-intensity motion sequences.
“Our design system comprised three main components: custom font, primary and secondary design elements, and a custom footage and image bank. The graphic environment is a detailed tapestry that blends world maps and landscapes, geographic data, and deconstructed international typography. It’s a system that is sophisticated and global without ever being too heavy handed,” said King and Country Producer Calvin Kim.
The team also created a custom font and gave each letter its own animation, which makes it feel like codes and messages are hidden inside each one. Accompanying that is a Truetype font for overall text usage across all platforms.
The live-action pieces all were shot in a single day on location, with King and Country capturing stills and video side by side. The people in the motion shots are some of the show’s stunt-people, who performed hand-to-hand combat and parkour in such locations as a rooftop, a meat locker, a stairwell, a basement and multiple minimally furnished rooms. The team used low-light cameras and augmented available light to capture all the action as they moved across nine locations and a green-screen setup.
Overlaying both the stills and the video components are design elements inspired by global cartography, which is intended to evoke the notion that secret plans are being hatched in the background. King and Country also custom drew these maps, based on international infrastructure, missiles based and military facilities relevant to the series.
“King and Country’s soup-to-nuts philosophy and follow through helped us deliver a robust campaign that enthusiastically declared that Treadstone had the goods,” said USA Senior Designer and Art Director Rob Edmond, also in a statement. “From early ideation through execution, their team expertly toed a fine line linking the familiar DNA of the beloved Bourne franchise with our series’ exciting new take on the material.”
Client: USA Network
VP Brand Design, USA: Chris Moore
Creative Director, Marketing: Eric Butler
Senior Designer and Art Director: Rob Edmond
Senior Director, Production: Lisa Fleming
Production Manager: Kate Walter
Production Assistant: Kylie Clancy
Production Company: King and Country
Post and Finishing: King and Country
Director and Creative Director: Rick Gledhill
Executive Producer: Jerry Torgerson
Post-Producer: Calvin Kim
Design and Animation: Tobias Kutz, Josh Lewis, Eduardo Guisandes, Jason Guerrero, Hugo Codinach, Brad Mitchell, Renzo Reyes, Aziz Dozmetov.
VFX Supervisor: Andrew Cook Line Producer: Joseph Soutullo DP: Sage Seb
Stunt Coordinator: Tim Neff
Sound: Audiomachine (‘Frequency’: The NBCUniversal Audio library)