Soccer in the City explores the complicated relationship between the world’s most popular sport and inner-city America. The character and story-driven documentary examines how the U.S. should be much better than it shows on the pitch by encouraging city kids to play more soccer, deepening the talent pool and improving America’s fortunes on the field as it prepare to host the 2026 World Cup. Executive producer and director Michael Holstein enlisted Zookeeper to create the identity, motion design and title animation for the documentary that’s launching on Amazon Prime on December 12th.
We embarked on a full 4-round, 3-option identity exploration to image the documentary instantly and succinctly. We brainstormed, sketched and concepted a range of ideas, eventually presenting 3 strong options along with a bonus choice, seen below. The winning design visually fused together buildings from a cityscape to form a soccer ball.
We explored a plethora of color options, seen below, and presented our 4 top choices to the client. The mark featuring the ball with shades of blue, matched with black type for “Soccer” and “City,” emerged as the champion. (Much like Manchester City, the favorite team of all involved in the making of the film.)
Next we animated the logo with the ball spinning to a stop and then had the type move in, with City rising from below like a building (or soccer program) under construction.
We created crisp, clean, sharp graphics with quick typographic and ball movements to convey the optimistic, action-oriented flow of the film. These included three different lower third graphics depending on the screen darkness and number of lines of type, along with a full-screen graphic to introduce each section of the movie. We provided the motion design files to the editing team as After Effect templates since the documentary would be edited right up until the premiere showings.
Before the final cut of the documentary was complete, the Content Farm shipped over seven minutes of the best action footage of the film. We brainstormed with what was provided and created a concept that weaved the best shots together though multi-shot dissolves, slow motion and hero imaging. We keyed it with an evocative soundtrack. The open ends with the logo animated and spinning, setting the tone for the rest of the documentary to unfold. You can watch the open by hitting play at the top of this page.
–Michael Holstein, Executive Producer and Director, Soccer in the City