Studio Kiln supplies bubbly identity for convention of TV’s biggest names

The leading idea was to create the effect of a crowded screen “without it feeling too anxiety inducing”, according to Kiln partner and CD Nathan Smith.

Date
11 October 2023

In late September, some of the biggest names from TV and film – including actors and screenwriters like Emma Thompson and representatives from Netflix and AKQA – appeared on stage for the two-day RTS Cambridge Convention 2023, run by Channel 4 and the Royal Television Society. This year the event was titled Too Much to Watch, a theme which provided the basis of the visual identity. Kiln used typography that seems to compete for audience’s attention to imitate content saturation in today’s modern landscape.

Anyone who has scrolled through TikTok for hours will tell you the feeling of content overload isn’t always pleasant. So Studio Kiln endeavoured to “lighten the tone” with vibrant bubble letters. “From the outset, the intention was always to create something that felt optimistic and encouraged attendees to think positively about the future of broadcasting,” says Studio Kiln partner and CD Charlie Hocking. “That said, there was certainly a risk that the identity could undermine a number of serious topics, which is why we juxtaposed the colourful, inflated typography against areas of considered space.”

Due Studio’s “simple, utilitarian” Lay Grotesk was used to offset the motion design. Sound also played a key part in striking a careful balance between bright and mature, developed in collaboration with Andrew Sherriff and Ashley Bates.

Studio Kiln: Royal Television Society 2023 Cambridge Convention (Copyright © Studio Kiln, 2023)

Kiln’s identity had to work as a kind of moderator. It would appear across the screen as a backdrop and introduce audiences to the convention as a whole, to specific talks, “or simply say it was time for lunch!”. Here the mobile nature of those letterforms pays off; Kiln saw they could push attention to one corner of the screen, keeping a flow of information for audiences to focus on.

The motion design was based on a physics simulation and Kiln had a long application list to fill from book covers to pillars. Each required a bespoke render to ensure the letters would fill the canvas properly. In each instance, Kiln was leaving certain elements of the final product up to the simulation. “This could be infuriating but once we nailed it, we started to notice these wonderfully charming moments of character and expression in each movement,” says partner and CD Nathan Smith. “We still spot moments now that make us smile.”

GalleryStudio Kiln: Royal Television Society 2023 Cambridge Convention (Copyright © Studio Kiln, 2023)

Studio Kiln: Royal Television Society 2023 Cambridge Convention (Copyright © Studio Kiln, 2023)

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Studio Kiln: Royal Television Society 2023 Cambridge Convention (Copyright © Studio Kiln, 2023)

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About the Author

Liz Gorny

Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. After graduating in Film from The University of Bristol, they worked freelance, writing for independent publications such as Little White Lies, INDIE magazine and design studio Evermade.

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