Rock Docs
Rock Docs
Rock Docs

Rock Docs

Gretel, New York, New York, 2009


Rock Docs is VH1’s music-based documentary series, which covers a broad range of musical genres and personalities. The channel’s franchise existed when they came to us but they were looking to refresh the package to give it a more sophisticated look and feel and to reflect the changing demographics of the network. Our assignment was to create an animation that would run before the movie’s title sequence, like a film production company’s logo animation.

Our challenge was to create an animation that spoke to both mediums—music and film —and was broad enough to work for any genre that might be covered in the documentary. To bridge the two disciplines, we decided that light was the perfect vehicle. We wanted to stay clear of cliché and used the lights to create a more abstract interpretation of music, with inspiration from Müller-Brockmann’s Musica Viva posters, as well as a bit of Dan Flavin and the work of United Visual Artists in the UK. Using the lights to represent film was simpler. We created a modified zoetrope effect that transitioned seamlessly into the musical portion of the animation. A big plus for VH1 was the ability to swap out the clip at the head of the piece, allowing them to customize each opener based on the subject of the documentary.

Juror Notes

The opener succeeds on multiple levels: it elevates expectations for documentary series with contemporary style and manages to be genre-independent with the customization of swapping out the clip. In addition, the visual abstraction of music makes it enjoyable for many viewers.

Collections: AIGA 365: 31 (2010)
Repository: Denver Art Museum
Discipline: Promotional design and advertising
Format: Animation


Design firm
Creative director
Greg Hahn
Greg Hahn
Carl Burton, Irene Park
Explosion Robinson