Gretel Unveils Nick Jr. Rebrand
Press release from Gretel:
“Between the ages of two and six years old, kids go through some incredibly profound developmental changes,” says Greg Hahn, Founder and Creative Director at Gretel. “Nick Jr., of course, has a variety of popular live action, animated, and 3D animated characters and shows to bridge the changing interests of that age group. Our job was to create something that would simultaneously appeal to three, five, and seven year olds, as well as their parents. It was a challenging, but also deeply rewarding experience.”
The Gretel team would have to find an innovative and appealing way to bring all of Nick Jr.’s favorite and familiar offerings – Dora the Explorer, Team Umizoomi, Max & Ruby, Diego, Bubble Guppies, and more – into a single, united look and feel. Gretel also brought Nick Jr.’s brand into alignment with the more modern sensibility of Nickelodeon’s other brands. The team took the new network tagline: “The smart place to play” literally, and set out to design that very place. Armed with a comprehensive and informative demographic study provided by the network, the Gretel team drew further inspiration from an unlikely source.
“In the early stages of the pitch, I happened upon an interesting article in the Times during my train ride home,” says Ryan Moore, Creative Director at Gretel. “It was about a new method for teaching math to kids in grade school, which was developed by mathematician John Mighton, involving effectively guiding students toward the brink of discovery, but letting them make their own knowledge breakthroughs. Mighton called his process ‘guided discovery.’ That phrase immediately resonated with me. It ended up becoming the cornerstone of our pitch to the network, and ultimately the entire rebrand.”
Gretel brilliantly combined elements and characters from the diverse group of familiar shows into a striking world of curvilinear shapes and numbers, all interconnected by winding pathways. The rebrand seamlessly blends the network’s live action, animated, and 3D offerings into a colorful, engaging, and sensory environment of creative search and discovery.
“Once Ryan zeroed in on the idea of guided discovery, the creative possibilities really opened up for our A-list team of animators,” says Hahn. “We didn’t want to just populate the space with characters standing around and waving. Our Nick Jr. world is connected by a series of pathways punctuated by various natural and architectural play spaces, all providing endless possibilities for discovery. Ryan and his team did an amazing job of finding interesting character actions and cleverly integrating them into the Nick Jr. landscape, whether it’s Dora kicking a ball off a mountain or Diego navigating an obstacle course. In creating this integrated world of diverse elements, we also provided Nick Jr. with a versatile, modular toolset of elements that they can repurpose in all manner of ways going forward.”
The overall design owes some of its inspiration to the eclectic post-modern style known as “Memphis,” an aesthetic whose flagrant rule-breaking in using wildly disparate colors, shapes, patterns, and prints was wildly popular during the 1980’s.