AML
AML
designer & strategist
 

slate video

Adaptable visual languages for a lean digital media team

Applying motion graphics, technical video chops, and strategic communication design across all of Slate’s video content.

 
 
 
 
 
 
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Cultivating curiosity

Scripts were usually written in advance by Slate’s brilliant writers, so it was my responsibility to take what they made and run with it. Each visual that I created needed to be clear and understandable to draw the viewer in and keep them hooked.

 
 
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Yellow circles were my go-to abstraction for mind boggling financial concepts

Yellow circles were my go-to abstraction for mind boggling financial concepts

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Distilling complexity

I abstracted the most complicated components of each script and used simple geometric shapes + bright accent colors to illustrate the idea in an approachable and compelling way.

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Rapid iteration

Video can be a slow process, but the news cycle moves fast, and we wanted our videos to be published right at the tip of the news break. To accelerate the publishing process, I created simple, adaptable storytelling techniques.

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Videos that weren’t tied to the news cycle — like this Smitten Kitchen feature — needed to be produced equally as fast, to leave ample room to pivot to a breaking news item.

Videos that weren’t tied to the news cycle — like this Smitten Kitchen feature — needed to be produced equally as fast, to leave ample room to pivot to a breaking news item.

The simple Q&A format of this Smitten Kitchen feature made it quick to film and edit. Deb’s star power with the Slate audience gave the video an additional traffic boost, making it an all-around success.

The simple Q&A format of this Smitten Kitchen feature made it quick to film and edit. Deb’s star power with the Slate audience gave the video an additional traffic boost, making it an all-around success.

 
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Created in the wake of #dressgate, I produced this video in about 90 minutes flat, so that we could be on top of the rising conversation and wave of traffic.

Created in the wake of #dressgate, I produced this video in about 90 minutes flat, so that we could be on top of the rising conversation and wave of traffic.

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Consistency

Slate has a very distinct personality — a little snark, always sharp — and I wanted all of my visuals to be saturated with its point of view. I used Slate’s homepage and web design as a template, adapting its colors and themes to work for the video screen.

 
 
Imperfect stick figures, shaky text

Imperfect stick figures, shaky text

Horizontal slide effect

Horizontal slide effect

Text flickers to animate on and off

Text flickers to animate on and off

Simple imagery, yellow accents

Simple imagery, yellow accents

 

Breaking the rules

This drowning video was created as a promotional tool for a previously published Slate article, which meant that the visuals needed to reflect the nature of the article more than they needed to align with the visual languages of our typical slate videos — a perfect opportunity to break the rules.

 

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Drowning.3.1.gif
 

Similarly, this beer catch video was produced in response to a social media post that had gone viral over the weekend. Its standalone nature called for a more unconventional, offbeat video treatment.

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Thematic development

To create consistent visual patterns and formats, I developed a handful of graphic assets that other video producers and freelancers could use in their own projects.

 
 
Science series opener

Science series opener

Bumper, played at the end of every video

Bumper, played at the end of every video

Adaptable credits template

Adaptable credits template

Slate feature opener

Slate feature opener

 

Expansion

Even four years later, in his Slate series Who’s Afraid of Aymann Ismail? Aymann brilliantly integrated a handful of the old graphic elements into his show’s branding. If you haven’t seen an episode of his series yet, then in Slate-speak, you’re doing it wrong.

Ye ole credits

Ye ole credits

Ye ole series opener

Ye ole series opener

Ye ole lower thirds

Ye ole lower thirds

 

Scalability

When Slate started publishing its videos directly on social media, each video needed to work for both the audio/visual audience on the Slate homepage and the silent scrollers on Facebook.

 
 

Audio/visual choreography

This video about baby bird video featured a killer voiceover by Dan Kois — which the homepage viewers could click in to hear — and a punchy script by Shon Arieh-Lerer — which I used to create on-screen text blurbs that the Facebook audience could use. The combination of audio and visual storytelling helped to make this video a smash hit for Slate’s Facebook page.

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