As the producer of a number of well-known series — including the world’s longest running showcase of documentaries on television, POV — the brand of American Documentary itself had historically taken a back seat to its series. In order to elevate American Documentary as a consumer identifiable organization in its own right, Type/Code created a logotype set in Commercial Type’sDala Floda that stands in stark visual contrast to the branding of American Documentary’s series.
That new wordmark lives in a complementary brand environment that features Schick Toikka’sNoe DisplayandNoe Text for headlines and body text respectively, and Sharp Type’sSharp Grotesk 19 & 20 for navigation and informational text. Combined with a flexible color palette, the effect is a recognizable ecosystem that plays nicely with a wide array of original media and artwork from disparate filmmakers and styles, while giving American Documentary an authentic voice.
As of early 2018, American Documentary hosted an enormous corpus of content, distributed piecemeal across American Documentary’s own website, its subsidiary Community Network, and PBS’ streaming platform. These properties, built on content management systems not designed for creating editorial experiences, did a poor job of making films and their tangent resources available to both the wider public and to employees.
The new web platform strives to aggregate all of this content, and nests it under clear and actionable navigation items. The navigation prioritizes categories like “Watch” and “Engage” — allowing users to explore American Documentary’s full array of media, agnostic to its broadcast origin. The other half of the navigation scheme leverages American Documentary’s most recognizable series — POV and America Reframed — to give users direct access to media they may have seen over broadcast. Elevating series also allowed American Documentary to more overtly identify itself as the parent of POV — a series long thought to be its own, independent entity — and to introduce its Interactives division as a new series of content on par with POV and America Reframed.