Studio Moross releases “bombastic” brand for a League of Legends boy band

The official Riot Games band Heartsteel features six in-game champions, while the accompanying brand layers in League of Legends lore and easter eggs.

Date
13 December 2023

Studio Moross is responsible for the brand world and guidelines for a new boy band made up entirely of fictional characters from the Riot Games’ title League of Legends.

The playfully titled Heartsteel features six characters from League of Legends, Aphelios, Ezreal, K’Sante, Kayn, Sett and Yone, requiring Studio Moross to distil the distinct personalities of each band member through colour choices and custom symbols. The assets created by Studio Moross can be spotted in a new animated music video (from Sauvage.TV) and appeared in League’s Worlds 2023 Finals Opening Ceremony, where Heartsteel performed live, sporting patches and typography designed by Moross.

“We’ve been interested in exploring the gaming industry as a studio for a while now, so when the email hit our inbox, we were so excited,” says Studio Moross. “As a team, branding and campaign design for music artists is something we are known for, so it felt like a great fit. The unusual element for us was that the band aren’t real people that we can talk to. So instead we took the lore of each member and created the brand around their backstories.”

Moross says it wanted Heartsteel to feel “bombastic”; the goal was to sit at the high end of lo-fi. So, while there are a large number of assets that feel sketchy, self-made and intricate, they slot together in a structured way.

Above
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Studio Moross: Riot Games, Heartsteel (Copyright © Riot Games, 2023)

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Studio Moross: Riot Games, Heartsteel (Copyright © Riot Games, 2023)

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Studio Moross: Riot Games, Heartsteel (Copyright © Riot Games, 2023)

“We came to realise that League fans are seriously hungry for easter eggs and little hidden gems, and so really enjoyed sprinkling some messaging and copy throughout some of these assets, which were hidden behind translations into binary, various scannable codes, and even using some encryption, which someone would have to spend some time decrypting,” the team says.

Elsewhere, the studio found inspiration in parental guidance labelling and copyright symbols, with catchphrases and “sub-logos” hidden in the small print throughout. As the palette was predominantly black and white, Moross introduced punches of neon and chromatic aberration that were developed as Photoshop image treatments and pre-rendered 3D assets.

In a recent Forbes piece, head of music at Riot Games explained how Heartsteel is not the first virtual artist created over at the video game developers. But, unlike previous projects, the concept for Heartsteel began with fan art, inspiring the music team to develop the full boy band. “It takes over a year to bring a band to life, including several teams across Riot to develop the creative concept, make original music, define the brand, create in-game skins and execute a marketing campaign,” said Maria Egan.

GalleryStudio Moross: Riot Games, Heartsteel (Copyright © Riot Games, 2023)

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Studio Moross: Riot Games, Heartsteel (Copyright © Riot Games, 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 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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