As a former freelancer designer/ animator and current Creative Director of entertainment branding agency Nathaniel James, Full Sail Computer Animation grad (and Sixth Annual Hall of Fame inductee) Nathaniel Howe has helped create a number of impressive design and branding campaigns. He’s designed promotional ads for TV shows, merchandise for a professional boxer, and has even won an EMMY Award, for his work on the National Geographic Explorers campaign. We asked Nathaniel to tell us about a few of his most memorable projects. Check them out below.
FX’s Sons of Anarchy’
The Nathaniel James team designed several print packages to promote the television show.
“One of the artists we used to help design these promos could literally be an extra on the show. When he’s not doing style frames, he’s repairing bikes. The promo with the snake – that’s his snake that he photographed for these boards. We wanted to illustrate the concept [of Ouroboros], which is a symbol of a snake eating its own tail. It ended up being tied into the show’s’ script.”
SPIKE TV’s ‘Ink Master Rivals’
Nathaniel directed the promo spot for the reality competition show, which stars Dave Navarro. That same day, the Nathaniel James team also shot promotional interviews and the digital stills that would be used for the show’s website and advertising campaigns.
“This one was really challenging because there were probably 100 to 150 people on set that day. Our original concept changed, but the promo spot ended up revolving around an ultra slow-motion scene of tattoo artists about to battle, with close-up judge reaction and tattoo shots in between. This season of Ink Masters was supposed to be about the biggest rivalries, so this promo tried to show that. We wanted to take a sort of music video style approach to it. I think the Spike executives were really happy with the finished product.”
Nathaniel worked on a branding campaign for the professional boxer.
“I worked with Manny on some design work in the beginning of his career. We were working to elevate his brand so that he could get represented by Nike and not just Nike Asia. That ended up happening, but I don’t think it was because of the design, but because of the way he fought and what he’s done with his career. The Manny work is important to me because of our friendship, plus the fact that he introduced me to my wife.”
ABC’s ‘Shark Tank’
As a freelancer, Nathaniel worked on promos for the ABC reality show.
“I worked on Shark Tank before it aired in the US, when it was just Dragon’s Den in the UK. When I was making this, I was just thinking, okay, it’s big business and the sharks are swimming around and they’re trying to grab any deal they can – kind of like how sharks circle in the water. I wanted to take that idea and put it in to a shot with skyscrapers. They’ve been using the shot for several seasons now. I really love the show and I love watching it so it’s fun to be attached to that.”
As a freelance designer, Nathaniel worked on several promotional illustrations for the EMMY Award-winning show’s first and second seasons.
“I worked on these promos before the show even aired, so we didn’t know it would be a hit like it is. We just knew Louie’s personality so we tried to think of lots of ways to represent him. The network was interested in hand-done art, so I made these illustrations to match his personality. I think a lot of people came to me as a freelancer because I could do a lot of different styles and I could work really fast. I always tried to be really versatile.”
Check out more of Nathaniel’s projects in this exclusive behind the scenes video tour of Nathaniel James headquarters.