Digital Content. Principled Broadcast Design.

Jack Blog

November 28th, 2018 By Jim Fenhagen

All the world’s a stage.

This classic quote from William Shakespeare’s “As You Like It,” has newfound resonance as we advance into the digital future.

Digital ContentWe live in a new era of radical reinvention of the broadcast television world. No longer are we limited to traditional content sources. Just as cable TV once challenged (and beat) broadcast TV for a dominating position in viewership, we are in another transition period.

Everything we do can easily – and very quickly – end up on camera, shared online, and watched on smartphones, tablets and laptops in living rooms, on train platforms, and everywhere else humans consume content. And as many devices as there are to watch this content, there’s a myriad of content sharing platforms at our disposal. Social media outlets are the new broadcast networks. From Facebook to YouTube and everything in between, including Twitter, Instagram, Vimeo and

Applying our seven principles of design

With our content and our brand being viewed, scrutinized and assessed on so many devices, through so many platforms, how can we control our “look”? At Jack Morton, we draw on almost 80 years of brand experience, excellence, creative strategy and award-winning broadcast production design to navigate the new digital content era. The design principles we’ve developed in broadcast production design are increasingly relevant and applicable to this new media landscape.

What lessons can we take from decades of experience and award-winning work? How can production design enhance a brand message? Or conversely, how can poor design send the wrong message and negatively impact your brand?

Let’s dig into the seven design principles we apply to our work:

  1. Highlight the brand. Uncover or identify a unique, iconic visual element that can be identified with a particular brand or personality. An element that will become instantly recognized and associated with your program (and your design), and set it apart from the clutter competing for eyeballs.
  2. Close-up is King. In the world of personality driven content, design for close-ups (of which the vast majority of all studio-based shots are designed). This is extremely relevant to programming watched on small screens, so make a statement with your close-ups. Enhance, delight and inform your audience with wider shots.
  3. Search for balance. Strive for a balanced design that will create a full range or depth and complexity, no matter the camera angle. Think hard and soft textures; edgy with warm colors; a mix of asymmetrical shapes with formal lines. Modern with classic. Contrasting elements in harmony make for dynamic environment.
  4. Strive for simplicity. Seek to find familiar elements, but reconfigured or reimagined in a fresh new way.
  5. Focus on the host. Create environments that direct the viewer’s focus on the program’s host or hostess. (Don’t forget principle 2!)
  6. Choose the right architecture. Incorporate or feature unique architectural elements into your space when available and appropriate.
  7. Acknowledge we are all HD now. Remember that almost all video is shot with high-definition (HD) cameras, and viewed on HD devices…including shots taken and shared by individuals visiting your set or participating in your brand experience. For instance, the iPhone X’s camera system offers pros and amateurs alike 4K video recording at 60 frames per second (not to mention slow-motion video in 1080p). What does this mean for your set design? Every corner, every screen, every angle has to look good on camera!

Content is everywhere. And it’s not slowing down. Video has become an almost universal digital language. And it’s the brands that own the stage and understand how to bring their vision to life across every touchpoint – including production design – that will have a leg up.

Interested in working with us? If so, we’re ready to help you build extraordinary broadcast experiences, designed with all the care and thoughtfulness of our 30-plus years of principled design in mind.

Get in touch!