Introduction: RTÉ Two's New Look
RTÉ TWO's current award-winning look has had a very successful five-year run. Packaging the station with the spontaneous and sophisticated GREEN ROOM served the channel with an endless array of entertaining possibilities to explore the playfulness of the channel - and its established colour 'green'.
Like any good brand, it must evolve and respond to its audience.
RTÉ's internal Graphics Department was asked to pitch against tough competition from overseas companies, some of whom only specialize in television branding, for the design gig. And they won it! The entire new look for RTÉ Two has been masterminded and managed through to execution by RTÉ Graphics.
The initial ideas pitched for RTÉ TWO took the form of a series of "evolutionary leaps" and pictured various species of household insects adapting bizarrely clever routines as they interact with found objects that would be familiar to audience members.
A Venus Fly Trap became the narrative force. Fly Traps are green and eat insects - an obviously appropriate addition to this world. The character then developed an other-worldy intelligence and grew purpose; the most important of which was that it loves to play with its food! In a homage to Cronenberg's The Fly, Venus entices insects into one pod and teleports them out another, with unexpected results! A journey through Venus could either terminate in digestion or lead to a playful metamorphosis where Venus brands his victim with a little of its own Alien DNA. From this logic, Venus develops control of squadrons of bees that obey him to make honey, and an army of ants that feed him kernels to make popcorn.
As a device, Venus functions as the caretaker, predator, and god of this little ecosystem. It is single and plural, male and female, young and old, where each pod has its own personality and voice in "the family tree" so to speak. In this respect, Venus is flexible enough to enlist equal interest from the exceedingly diverse range of audience demographics that rely on RTÉ TWO for: young people's programming, sports coverage, documentaries, films, wild life, drama, foreign acquisitions, comedy, etc.
As the RTÉ TWO household's branding machine, Venus sits on an antique consol table or "throne" which doubles as a reliable source of "found objects" left by unwitting inhabitants of the household. It is presumably from here that these objects find their way throughout this world to new and bizarre uses. Venus resides in a foyer of sorts, although we never have quite enough information to tell where exactly it is. In this world, people are permanently elsewhere and activity and wonder never sleeps. Every insect seems hopelessly drawn into Venus' gravity well. Bees, Bluebottles, Fireflies, Ladybirds, Snails, Ants, Spiders and bubbles all vie to escape, or serve Venus - usually bringing him food or entertainment.
A Celestial theme, suggested by the word "Venus" extends throughout the project. The alien/triffid-like appearance of the fly trap, constellations of fireflies, solar systems of bubbles, and even the UFO shape of Venus' polycarbonate pot, are constant reminders that he is not from around here.
Whether our reaction to Venus is of intrigue or admiration, terror or humour, it is (quite literally) a natural entertainer, in reflection of the channel ethos.
Some interstitial examples:
In one scene, some curious garden spiders discover a mobile phone in their web. Clicking the buttons they discover that it glows at night attracting thousands of fireflies to their doom. For the spiders, the phone means "dinner time!" This connection between creatures and "acquired" human artifacts certainly has the scope to conjure up a myriad of entertaining scenarios to explore the RTÉ TWO brand.
The chubby pug dog character is an endearing one. If you are to watch all the animations and spots through, he emerges as Venus' muscle on the ground, a loyal best friend who defends Venus against magpies and rewarded in kind with the ants' popcorn and the bees' honey.
In one animation, a bluebottle lands on a red dice held in one of Venus' pods. The pod promptly closes over, and another opens on the opposite side. Surprisingly, a ladybird flies away to safety. Venus merged the bluebottle and the dice into a ladybird.
The ladybirds form a red 6-sided shape (or dice) - and if we look very closely, the black spots on each of their shells correspond to the numbers of a dice.
In another graphic, a ladybird is attempting to mate with a dice! This pseudo-logic permits Venus to play havoc with the domestic ecosystem.