Circle of Confusion manages and produces some of the entertainment industry’s hottest properties, including movies, TV shows and comics. When they approached CommonGround Creative, their website was outdated visually, but it also failed to provide the functionality desired. As an organization directly involved with hip and trendy properties, they needed a modern site that truly represented their brand. In addition to this – and where the real challenges on this project lay – Circle of Confusion had some very specific site needs unique to their industry.

Circle of Confusion maintains an enormous following of professionals from both within and outside the industry, and they leverage this to inform, excite and engage their base. The team and I worked to introduce social integration onto the site, which now acts as a hub for Circle’s social networking efforts. Connecting a website to social networking platforms is a small endeavor, but it’s the sort of solution that can dramatically improve the performance of existing marketing investments.

When designing a new website, I often use current trends and technology as a starting point. In some cases a client will come to us with a problem for which there is no pre-determined solution – Circle of Confusion presented such a challenge.

Circle of Confusion often finds themselves sharing video that is highly proprietary information intended only for specific users. These include things like trailers, episodes, films, or works-in-progress that haven’t been released. It is vital that these don’t become public, and Circle’s clients depend on the company to ensure this remains the case.

Most property management companies use third party services to share proprietary videos. These offer confidentiality and get the job done, but involve sending customers to an entirely different website that doesn’t route back. Although it wasn’t a part of the original project scope, during discovery Circle and I recognized that sharing private video while keeping clients under their branding would be a huge benefit. I worked to conceive and integrate a secured section of the site that accomplished this, so that today customers can view videos directly on the Circle of Confusion site and Circle knows these are completely secure. This was the element of the site that the client was most excited about because it completely revolutionized their user experience, and I was happy to help them do so.

The final product brought design, flexibility and innovation together in a new website that helps Circle of Confusion to do what they do best, while elevating their online presence to a new level of elegance and professionalism.

The CG team and I worked to incorporate new functionality, offering them flexibility they’d never had before. In doing so we landed on a number of solutions that completely revolutionized the way Circle is able to use technology to run and expand their business.

Vanity Plate

It’s always great to build a lasting relationship with a client. Several months after we launched Circle of Confusion’s new website, they approached me to produce a logo stinger for a conference. They needed something “flashy” to show off their company brand. I worked with them in the design and production of the new bumper.

In addition to being their company name, “circle of confusion” is a technical term referring to a specific phenomenon in lens optics. For the bumper, I started with concepts that referred to this. The first version portrayed a dropping lens that bounced and brought a red circle into focus.

It was good, but the client felt it was a little too playful, lacking the gravitas they were looking for. We collaborated on how we could retain the energy of the first version, while boosting the formality a bit.

The second version featured a lens sliding in and bringing a red circle into focus. I used a grunge filter to manipulate the mood of the piece to reinforce an “edginess” the client wanted. Circle’s team liked the overall video, but once the video was up on the big screen we all felt that the grunge was not quite the right branding. Circle needed a little more ‘wow’. I made some alterations, and the final product delivered exactly the energy and elegance the client was seeking.

While this was originally conceived as a one-time use video for a specific conference, the client loved the stinger so much that it is now their official motion logo, which you might recognize from the end credits of “The Walking Dead.” This project not only speaks to the importance of good design and development, but illustrates how a solid client/designer relationship can dramatically increase the benefits of an organization’s marketing investments.