Gretel’s Fox College Football package is all kinds of smart

NY-based Gretel produces some of the most consistently well-designed brand work of any studio in the US. Their latest toolkit for Fox College Football is no exception.

Designing and producing toolkits is challenging work. You need to build a system of assets and production tools that allows for a wide range of messaging while still being tightly branded. Using a consistent typeface and palette isn’t enough; you need a clear, thorough set of design guidelines, solid editorial grammar and polished, extensible assets for a truly successful toolkit.

Then you have to hand it over to the client and hope like hell they don’t break it.

As Gretel says:

More than just changing team names and colors, FOX needed a toolkit that let them swing the tone of their spots as the season rolled on. Previous packages had been pretty heavy on 3D, which was limiting in that sense – hard to change more than the footage that was mapped into the scenes.

This time they really wanted to push their edits, to be able to cut epic, lighthearted, dramatic, even playful spots all in the same week.

Split Screen

The split-screen motif not only echoes the head-to-head competition of the football teams, it creates a flexible storytelling framework for promos.

Fox can drop in licensed footage from other sources to set up metaphorical imagery or juxtapose cause-and-effect style moments (e.g. a slow-mo tackle on the left screen with an x-ray of a fractured tibia on the right).

Smart Workflow

Instead of trying to build dozens of different toolkits for all the teams in all the conferences, Gretel created “animation formulas” that generate toolkit elements automagically. To update a design element across the entire package, it only needs to be updated in the source animation, saving time and ensuring consistency.

Gretel says:

To keep the workload light, we scripted dynamic templates for everything endpages to title cards to lower thirds. Pick your teams from a pull-down menu and the logo art, team colors and current ranking are auto-populated across the package. Everything was drive from custom UI panel [in After Effects]; simple pull-downs, checkboxes and pre-sets.

Auto-animating Type

The display typeface of United Sans Heavy was packing some secret sauce as well.


“The alphabet has preset variations build into the toolkit: strokes, fills, color variations, etc.” explains Gretel. “As a result, the type auto-animates without needing to be reconsidered each and every time.”


Client: Fox Sports
Strategy: Gretel
Design and Animation: Gretel

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About the author

Justin Cone

Together with Carlos El Asmar, Justin co-founded Motionographer, F5 and The Motion Awards. He currently lives in Austin, Texas with is wife, son and fluffball of a dog. Before taking on Motionographer full-time, Justin worked in various capacities at Psyop, NBC-Universal, Apple, Adobe and SCAD.