Agbo
Main on End (MOE)
Titling
2D Animation
Animation
Motion Design
Typography

Cherry

Every once in a while, an exceptionally special project pops up. This was 100% the case with Cherry, a film from directors Anthony and Joe Russo based on a fantastic autobiography  by Nico Walker. We fell in love with the script from the moment we read the first draft. Nico’s story takes us on a journey through important issues such as mental health, crime and the opioid crisis in a deeply personal, fascinating and sometimes humorous way.

Design Takes Center Stage

The directors, Anthony and Joe Russo, enlisted us to create all of the film’s graphics. Because there are six chapters with very distinct looks, we started our design journey by creating individual title cards for each. After we had an “ownable” look developed, we worked on additional typography that appears over several scenes and finally, created  the main-on-end title sequence.

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The Chapter Cards

The film is divided into chapters that mirror the sections of the novel it’s based on. Each has a very distinct vibe. When designing the title cards that appear at the front of each section, we wanted them to serve almost as palate cleansers: The cards create a somewhat disruptive moment that gives viewers the chance to breathe before going into the next new world of the film’s experience. The titles also sprinkle a graphic look throughout the film that both brands it and provides a consistent feel, connecting the whole.

Basic Training

We still giggle when we have to say these words out loud–especially in a studio full of people!

The scene was funny/satirical to begin with. Once we added huge, bold type calling out the biggest profanities being yelled at Cherry, it became hysterical. This treatment really emphasizes the absurdity of the situation, while adding some style and visual relief to the scene.

Title Sequence

Because the film has such a strong, emotional ending, we deliberated for a long time about what feeling we wanted to leave viewers with in our main-on-end.  Should we call out a specific moment in Cherry’s life? Should we recap different parts of the film? In the end, what felt best was to imply the continuation of the main character’s journey, with a nod to his hometown of Cleveland in a sequence of beautiful aerial shots. The footage was treated with the same red tint as the chapter cards and we also used a consistent typography treatment throughout.

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Typography

Our overall typographic treatment for Cherry alludes to poster and book cover designs–a logical nod to Nico Walker’s novel. To keep the type from looking computer generated, we added a subtle optical treatment.

For our primary typeface throughout, we selected Bee Four. It’s a bold, tall, headline sans typeface designed in 1995 by URW Studio.

DIN Condensed, paired nicely with Bee as a secondary typeface. To ensure proper contrast and visual hierarchy between the two, we played with size, weight and very wide tracking.

Original Styleframes

These style frames were our starting point for establishing the overall look and feel for our work on the film . The arresting, bold, cherry-red tint not only creates a great base for typography, but is also conceptually relevant: It speaks to Cherry’s color blindness. Eventually we stripped a lot of the initial grit and texture away, moving toward a simpler and more elegant finish. But we love how the essence of our original style frames live on in the final cut and in all of the marketing materials for the film.

Viva Cleveland!

We were briefed and read the script while the film was being shot. This gave us the opportunity to chime in, bounce different ideas back and forth, and really feel like a part of the filmmaking process. Fun fact: Erin and Duarte even had the chance to take a roadtrip to Cleveland to visit the set!

Reflections

“Projects like Cherry give purpose to what we do. Meaningful work that connects to the viewer emotionally and has the power to change the way they think and see the world.”

Project Credits 
  • Executive Creative Director
    Erin Sarofsky
  • Executive Producer
    Steven Anderson
  • Producers
    Dylan Ptak
  • Joel Signer
  • Lead Designer
    Duarte Elvas
  • Visual FX
    Cory Davis
  • Additional Design
    Jake Allen
Client Credits 
  • Client
    AGBO
  • Film Directors
    Anthony Russo and Joe Russo
  • Producers
    Jake Aust
  • Tim Pedegana
  • Editor
    Jeff Groth
  • Assistant Editor
    John To
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