Motion design and production collective Lightborne was recently tapped by ad agency Markham Unlimited to create a series of 12 looping ambient films for IT’SUGAR, a sweet and sassy candy boutique with locations around the world. The videos are currently appearing throughout the newly designed high-end retail spaces, as well as on building exteriors.
The shop’s irreverent branding and mature attitude drive the hypnotic and psychedelic animations, which glorify candy in all its many forms. From celestial explosions of candy canes to liquid milk-chocolate speaker cones vibrating to dance beats to glistening gummy bears streaming like a rainbow waterfall, the pieces reinforce the hip, quirky and fun-loving mantra of the IT’SUGAR brand. The films all conclude with stylized variations of the IT’SUGAR logotype, often times treated as coat of arms – a stylish reminder that candy is not just for kids.
“IT’SUGAR is one of those rare brands where nothing you do is quite crazy enough,” says Markham Cronin, Creative Director of Markham Unlimited. “IT’SUGAR makes candy-buying an interactive experience. [Founder] Jeff Rubin has been an unbelievable supporter, and understands the power of what we’re doing here. Our messaging and imagery had to be loud, fun and colorful, and it had to push the limits of our imaginations. I knew Lightborne was the company to help me accomplish this. They did a phenomenal job.”
Drawing inspiration from the packaging and in-store still visuals, as well as abstract themes and key frame examples provided by Cronin, Lightborne embarked on a design exploration process that included creating style frames and establishing looks and choreographed actions for each film.
“Our goal was to create films that were indulgent, sexy and fun, but clean enough for kids to enjoy as well,” comments Chris Gliebe, Lightborne Co-Creative Director. “We wanted our candy to be hyper-real, glossy, luscious and idealized. Our visuals are something you’d expect to see in a nightclub, and not in Candyland.”
Lightborne’s designers created style frames after studying and eating loads of real candies. Without being brand-specific, Lightborne then animated and built the various candy elements in 3D, from the textures of the gummy bears to the liquid chocolate. The biggest challenge was creating 12 uniquely animated films and how they would seamlessly transition into each other. Lightborne also reconfigured the animations for the exterior monitors and banners wrapping around the storefronts.
“It was very easy to work with Markham,” concludes Gliebe. “It was like we had collaborated together many times before. He understood our process and was open to our ideas. He made sure the brand and client were on board with what we were doing, which made for a streamlined process. This was a big team effort from our end, and it was great to have all our different designers coming together on one project. Everyone was able to bring in their own flavors.”
Project: Retail Environment Ambient Films
Ad Agency: Markham Unlimited/Coral Gables,
FL Creative Director: Markham Cronin
VFX & Animation Company: Lightborne/Cincinnati
OH Executive Producer: Scott Durban
Producer: Bradley Trimble
Creative Director/Designer: Chris Gliebe
Designers: Carla Morales, Chris Philips
Compositors & Animators: Robert Engle, Caleb Halter, Chris Philips, Tim Salikov, Eric Lawshe