From the inception of Jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy, Netflix’s blockbuster documentary spanning two decades of Kanye West’s career, we worked hand-in-hand with directors Coodie and Chike to craft the look and feel for the entire film.
The treatments blend inspiration from digital and analog worlds of film to evoke a feeling of nostalgia and childlike wonder. The visual language builds in intensity over the course of the trilogy, culminating in an organized frenzy bordering on synesthesia and speaking to the deconstruction of ‘genius.’
- Art Direction
- Type Design
- Motion & Animation
- Creative Control
- Time Studios
We looked to the abstract expressionist movement, searching for common threads in decades of work, and reimagining their ideas to create a contemporary design system that features a custom wordmark and hand drawn expressions.
The custom type has a hand-crafted quality with intentional imperfections. Quirks like soft corners on the letters and horizontal bases of the letters “Y” and “J” define our typography and add personality.
We developed a complementary asset library built from thousands of hand-drawn elements that can be arranged and interpreted throughout the film to achieve a feeling of consistent inconsistency.
The design language builds through animation and color over the course of three parts, culminating in a visual identity that speaks to the concept and runs parallel to the narrative arc of Kanye West, the artist.
What begins with simple white lines in Act I, crescendos by Act III into explosions of color, film burns, and fast-paced stop-motion animation.
To further evoke the feeling of nostalgia and create the dream-like quality of the film, we developed a treatment called the viewfinder. The treatment is applied across all of the 4:3 docuseries footage.
Motivated by the miniDV footage, we worked with Coodie and Chike to dream up a device based on viewfinders and projectors that would inform our design template. Viewers will feel like they’re watching footage through a memory — a visual time machine of sorts — and experiencing the story as if they were present as it was captured. This effect creates the sense that light is bleeding beyond the aspect ratio, further enforcing the concept and adding to the emotion and past-like quality of the film itself.