Dan Nolan

FRONTLINE Branding

I started at FRONTLINE redesigning the website. One of our goals was to take a decades old brand and refresh it in the digital space while still holding on to the DNA of the brand. After the site redesign I joined the FRONTLINE team full time and began to extend the branding system developed for the website further to other areas of FRONTLINE.

Site Redesign

FRONTLINE website Investigations page.
FRONTLINE website digital style guide.

Big images and bold typography dominate the new FRONTLINE website. I chose Cooper Hewitt as our display typeface. It has the right balance of personality and versatility—we can mold into the right fit for FRONTLINE’s voice and tone.

FRONTLINE of course makes films, but much of the reporting on the website is delivered through text articles. The choice of a text typeface was very important. It needed to be neutral and readable especially throughout a long article. It had to carry the weight of the most serious of FRONTLINE’s content, but we also wanted it to feel fresh and modern to go along with our elegant new site. JAF Bernino Sans hit the mark. It has slightly condensed letterforms yet is very open and balanced overall. It delivers over a long read providing that neutral reading experience, and it has a subtle personality that fits with FRONTLINE and brands the experience throughout.

Motion Design

I created an animated logo bumper along with other motion design elements for our digital video packaging. The choreography in our motion design is an extension of the visual brand. The same qualities that inspired our visual system also dictated the details of the animation language. It needed to feel bold and impactful but also elegant and sophisticated.

Graphics and Templates

FRONTLINE DVD packaging design.

I’ve continued to develop the FRONTLINE brand system and apply it across different elements like DVD packaging, audience infographics and social media graphic templates.

FRONTLINE audience growth 2016 infographic.
FRONTLINE social media promotional graphic for Children of Syria.

Brand Guides

Page from the FRONTLINE logo branding guide showing what not to do when using the logo.

When I joined FRONTLINE there was some confusion around the details of the logo. There was no logo styleguide and the logo was being applied inconsistently. The rectangle, the spacing, the PBS logo integration and even the red color were all inconsistent, unclear and undocumented. Based on my research, discussions with the team and preferences I created the definitive FRONTLINE logo in all its variations, with a style guide to explain its usage.

FRONTLINE digital video packaging styleguide showing specifications for the lower thirds text.
FRONTLINE digital video packaging styleguide showing specifications for end credits.

I also created a design system and styleguide for our digital video packaging. This covered things like lower thirds typography, captions, opening title screens and end credits.