Case Study: CouRage
Fall 2018 was a busy season for VBI . From TwitchCon to ‘Broketober’ game releases, our team of graphic designers, animators, and illustrators were in high demand. And then came the big news. VBI would team up with top Fortnite streamer and Twitch entertainer Jack, ‘CouRageJD‘ on one legendary design. Things were about to get wild.
From former Call of Duty esports caster and former OpTic Gaming content creator, CouRage has one stacked resume. And with the rise of Fortnite Battle Royale, he is quickly emerging as one of the icons and faces of the modern-day Twitch scene, boasting over 1 million Followers. You’ll often find him streaming alongside Twitch greats such as TimTheTatMan, Ninja, DrLupo, and more.
Needless to say, when Jack approached us looking for a full channel rebrand and long-term design support, we were beyond stoked. Little did we know, this would be our biggest, most-challenging, and innovative project yet. Our team of pro graphic designers, stream animators, and emote illustrators worked around the clock to produce one legendary presentation in a tight time window. And when the final product was delivered, it was great to see CouRage as excited about his new design as us.
In this Case Study, we’ll guide you through the full design process, from early sketches and concepts to final, face-melting products. Best yet, we’re continuing to team up with CouRage on new design elements, holiday updates, and more – we’ll keep the Case Study updated with all the new hotness as it rolls in. Scroll down to get started.
The cornerstone of Jack’s channel rebrand would be our full suite of animated products. Like most big streamers, he wanted to transition his stream from static, one-dimensional graphics to a dynamic, interactive visual experience.
If you’ve ever seen CouRageJD live, you know he’s one of the most energetic, playful, and entertaining streamers in the game. We wanted his final design to be as animated as he is. Our team of motion designers got to work, with primary focuses on the following stream elements:
- Animated Overlays
- Animated Webcam
- Animated Stream Alerts
- Animated Screens
- Animated Transition
- Animated Intro Video
- Logo Animation
After chatting with Jack, we knew he was looking for something minimalistic, yet fun. A mix that conveyed equal parts professionalism, equal parts entertainment. The overlays needed to feel subtle and ‘out-of-the-way’, so as not to distract attention away from gameplay. Meanwhile, bold animated effects would be used to drive momentum and energy. The end result would be a clever, creative mix: a clean, subtle design foundation, spiced up with adrenaline-pumping animated elements.
CouRage came to us with a preexisting logo – the proud, regal lion mascot that has become so iconic of his brand. To match his logo, we knew the rest of his stream design would need to convey a brave, royal theme. He also had a color scheme in mind – a mix of chrome white, golden yellow, and dark grey. White would provide the perfect background color for his design – a strong, clean foundation. Bold, animated lines of gold and grey in the foreground would drive excitement and energy – contrasting well with the neutral background.
Priorities and guidelines were set, now it was time to dive into each individual component.
Animated Webcam and Stream Overlays
Overlay design is always one of the most important elements in any custom project, and this was no exception. CouRage had big visions: a subtle, powerful look that fit his stream’s brand, while remaining game-neutral (that is, able to be applied to any game he was playing).
Jack was a fan of his preexisting stream overlays, but felt they needed updating and a tighter tie to his brand. Initially, we took his old designs and ran with them, adding our own special elements and slimming down the look to provide a sleeker, more minimal feel. However, we still felt the overall layout felt too busy, too cluttered. After some deliberation, we thought outside the box, and found ways to make existing designs fit multiple purposes. We ended up grouping some of CouRage’s stream info within his webcam frame itself, utilizing small, subtle icons. We would repurpose the logo at the bottom of his layout to also display stream alerts, again cutting down on overlay size.
Next our motion designers whipped up some subtle animation for CouRage’s Twitch webcam overlay. After running through a few options, we decided to feature some minimalist, vertical motion to the sides of his frame, to add a rotating, mechanical feel. Centered at the bottom of the frame, a sub-train chugs forward along golden rails.
Animated Twitch Alerts
Meanwhile, our animators were making progress on CouRageJD’s Streamlabs-optimized stream alerts. A sleek, punchy alert in-animation was a MUST, but we were struggling to find ways to keep the design feeling minimalist and ‘out-of-the-way’.
We scrapped a few early ideas until finally deciding to re-purpose one of Jack’s original stream overlays. As mentioned in the previous section, CouRage was featuring his logo and important stream info in a small overlay bar at the top of his layout. Instead of having alerts pop in as separate overlays, we reused this overlay to serve multiple purposes.
When new stream updates are triggered, his overlay evolves into an animated stream alert. One side of the wings collapsing into a horizontal bar, stretching out across the view to display incoming information. We cooked up eight separate versions for each alert type, from new Subscribers to Follows, Donations, Bits, and more. Unique sound effects play and we colored each alert to match notification type. The iconic CouRage ‘racing’ line pattern is featured once again here, with animations running diagonally across the alert to add energy and hype. Finally, digital swipe patterns slide across the alert until the overlay returns to its former look.
We were pleased with the final outcome, and have been working with Jack ever since to optimize his Alerts. In fact, we have a version 2 coming out shortly, with updated design and animations – stay tuned for more in early 2019.
3D Animated ‘Gifted-Sub’ Stream Alerts
The prized stallion, the grand Cadillac, of our CouRageJD design presentation. Our animators went all out creating a special ‘gifted sub’ variation of Jack’s stream alerts. For a large streamer like CouRage, gifted subs can come in huge packages – we wanted a big, bold design that would reflect the excitement and energy of such moments. Gone are the subtle, minimalist undertones from earlier, replaced by an explosive, full-screen animated display. A regal theme and design mindset seemed only fitting for the King of Twitch Prime. The final result would be one of our biggest, most ambitious, 3D projects yet.
The concept began as a sketch. CouRage’s logo is featured prominently in center view, with his blade-like wing features stretching sideways in a neat row. But this alone wasn’t enough – we wanted more depth, more character. We began adding 3D mesh effects, and the final concept came to life – a massive 3D model that would ‘pop’ out at viewers for a dynamic, cinematic experience. The CouRage logo remains, now featuring 3D modeling and flanked by shining metal blades, arced upwards. A royal sash hangs from the lower blades with regal text indicating the total number of gifted subs. To indicate tiers, three different color schemes were used: gifts of 20 subs are marked by silver blades, 50 subs is gilded in gold, while the legendary 100 sub gift bomb is featured in sparkling diamond.
Next up, animation – and we needed to go BIG to fit the occasion. The alert emerges in an explosive in-animation, featuring a whirlwind of glowing particles and dust. CouRage’s logo spins into center-frame, before steadying and unfurling its shining blades and royal sash. Custom sound effects play, as light reflects off the swords and stars dance above. Color and effect variations indicate notification tier – a gust of silver and gold particles designate gifts of 20 and 50 subs. Meanwhile, the top-tier 100 sub gift bomb features a lightning super-storm and charged diamond / platinum currents.
Big and bold. A legendary design for a legendary occasion.
Animated Stream Intro
It’s only fitting that a legend like CouRageJD deserves one heck of an entrance. Our team of pro animators would whip up an animated stream intro worthy of his reputation and prestige. ‘Hype’ was the key word here. Jack wanted an intro animation that injected immediate adrenaline into his stream, building anticipation and energy before his appearance. We would accomplish this by designing the intro into several different animated ‘phases’, as you will see below.
We started things off by integrating a countdown timer, centered in frame and counting down from 2:30. We kept things clean with a minimalist white background, overlaying subtle, faded images of the CouRage logo and Jack himself. Next we added some animated tweaks to the smaller logo featured at the bottom of the view, adding floating, bouncing animations to the trio of stars over the lion’s head.
Now for the fun part. Racing downwards to the bottom of the screen we animated bold, geometric lines in black, grey, white, and gold. A few shooting stars added an extra touch, fitting with the CouRage brand. As the timer ticks down towards 0:00, the animations increase in speed to build hype. Then things kick into high gear at :30, as the timer bursts into 2X size, revolving between bright, energetic color schemes of blue and golden yellow. The animated visuals are noticeably faster and more pronounced at this point.
At :10 the final climax begins, as the background is replaced with a series of CouRage stream clips – a highlight reel of some of his most memorable moments. Each number on the countdown timer now explodes and rotates into view, until the clock reads 0:00 and all eyes are on Jack.
Animated Stream Transition
From the start, our team had been brainstorming ideas for CouRage’s animated stream transition. We knew the final design had to be bold and grand, while also light and playful. Speed and momentum would need to be maintained, limiting the final animation to under 2 seconds to match the fast-paced, upbeat nature of Jack’s streams. Finding the right balance would be tricky, but our team was up to the challenge.
An explosive in-animation was key. Upon activation, the iconic CouRageJD lion logo emerges from the center of the screen, bouncing into view and expanding in scale. Much like a time-lapse video, the logo ‘constructs’ itself in live motion: first comes the outline, shortly followed by the eyes, golden mane, and wings. After pausing briefly, the logo rushes towards the viewers, producing an adrenaline-pumping 3D-inspired experience.
In the background, a geometric pattern of navy blues, golden oranges, and crisp whites bursts into view. Bold lines, rectangles, and stars race towards the top corners of the screen at varying speeds, producing a flowing, high-velocity effect.
We were stoked to share the final result, and he was equally-stoked to share with his community. In typical CouRageJD fashion, no reveal would be complete without a Twitch Prime cameo.
Twitch Emotes and Sub Badges
Meanwhile, our emote illustrators were working on a special project of their own, in all its pixelated glory. A package of 36 custom branded stream emotes for the CouRageous community. Jack sent us a list of design ideas and inspirations, and our illustrators started sketching.
As opposed to the minimalist nature of CouRage’s other stream elements, emotes were a chance to unleash the creativity and humor Jack brings to his streams. Long-time followers will notice a bunch of hidden easter-egg designs, hearkening back to some of CouRageJD’s most iconic stream moments and memories. We also took many popular Twitch emotes, such as Omegalul, Pepe, etc, and created special CouRageJD spin-off variations.
With emote design in full swing, our illustrators also took a crack at Jack’s sub badges and loyalty badges. We would be designing 6 tiers of badges, ranging from 1 month to 1 year to 3 years. After some deliberation on badge layout, we decided CouRage’s logo would be the best option – after all, it was an iconic, branded look that chat would instantly recognize. The badges build progressively with each tier, starting with a simple outline of his logo before adding the lines, stars, and wings so heavily-featured in CouRage’s stream branding. Color was also a useful tool here, featuring increasingly bright hues as tier grows, ending with a vibrant rainbow design.
Offline Screen and Social Media Banners
We couldn’t let our animators have all the fun. Our stream designers had been cooking up some spicy graphics for CouRage’s Twitch offline screen and social media channels. And boy did they deliver.
Heading into this design, we knew Jack wanted a mix of minimalist and powerful. He also wanted the final product to be clean, while injecting energetic themes to showcase his stream’s entertaining nature. We kicked things off with a solid background of chrome white – to minimize distractions and provide that smooth, clean look he was looking for. Look closely and you’ll spot shades of his logo, subtle and faded over the background along with the iconic CouRageJD V-shaped wings.
From here we added diagonal lines of gold and dark grey, racing into the top corners of the screen, along with two bright shooting stars. This provided an energetic, bold feel to the design that we felt best matched his persona. The iconic CouRageJD logo would be centered in view, along with logos for two of his most important stream sponsors, SCUFGaming and NZXT. To further strengthen the brand, we overlaid a subtle photo of Jack over the designs, so viewers could better connect face and name.
Next up were a few special tweaks to his Twitch Offline Screen. By dropping his social media handles at the bottom of the design, we made sure that any visiting viewers knew how to connect with him, even when his stream was offline. We also added a Twitch call-out graphic to drive Follower conversion from channel visitors.
His social media profile art would feature similar design themes, but with subtle twists including a legend listing out his various social media channels. Our final products included channel art for the CouRageJD Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube profiles.
Next up, panel graphics. We knew we wanted to make these bad boys pop, through a mix of engaging color schemes and branded design themes. We focused on bold fonts and firm geometric lines and borders for a smooth, engaging effect. To further emphasize the CouRageJD branding, we featured his logo and and gold-grey background color schemes.
Sizing was adjusted to reflect importance for his channel. Each of his sponsors were displayed in large, bold designs, including SCUFGaming, NZXT, and more. Color schemes would adapt to fit each particular callout – for example, his YouTube panel is featured in iconic red and white, while Instagram is displayed in recognizable orange, purple, and pink.
We also added in a special panel designed for the CouRageous community, featuring each of the special goodies available to his viewers. This included sectioned displays of his Twitch Sub Badges, Tiered Emotes, and Subscriber Emotes.
1M Follower Gift: Animated 3D Stream Intro
1 Million Followers. It’s a big landmark for any streamer, and we wanted to make sure CouRage could celebrate in style. As the days ticked by and his Follower count approached the big 1M, our team starting brainstorming a special gift. Little did we know that Jack’s friends and streamer colleagues would start throwing him huge hosts and shout-outs to speed him past the finish line. This accelerated our timetable, and so began three sleepless nights of hard work.
The final product was one of our proudest and most ambitious animated designs yet. A custom 3D stream intro video highlighting CouRageJD’s personal journey and the road to 1 Million Followers. Viewers are placed in the seat of a theme park ride, rolling along tracks through a golden 3D tunnel. At the bottom of the screen, a ticker counts up from 0 to 1 million subs, tracking CouRage’s progress to the big 1M. As the ticker counts up, viewers are treated to dozens of Jack’s most iconic and memorable Twitch moments, with video clips passing along the sides and center of the view.
We couldn’t have been more proud of the final design – our team of ace animators crushed it. It was our personal gift to Jack, thanking him for his friendship and positive impact on the Twitch community. It was also a tribute to the CouRageous community, those who had stuck by him throughout the journey. Don’t take part. Take over.
Halloween Design Updates
With Spooktober in full swing, CouRage wanted to update his overlays with a spooky, Halloween look. Pumpkins, ghosts, vampires, and all manner of creatures of the night. In particular, Jack requested updates for his Twitch stream overlays and webcam, Streamlabs alerts, and chat emotes. Our team arranged a brainstorming session, nailed down priorities, and got to work.
First up, webcam overlay. A spooky orange and purple color scheme replaces the standard CouRageJD color scheme, accented by golden-yellow and chrome-white highlights. The overlay is back-lit by a glowing white light, while animated purple energy bars circle the frame borders. A black spider spins webs and crawls across the top of his face cam slot, while a mini JACK-o-lantern (pun-intended) grins mischievously from above. The animated ‘sub-train’ is now featured in purple, with beams of orange light shining from its headlights.
From here, our animators started making Halloween tweaks to the CouRage animated Streamlabs alerts. Once again, a Halloween color scheme replaces the original design, with the CouRageJD logo now outlined in bright orange and stream icons featured in purple. The three stars above his logo are replaced by a trio of flying black bats, and a sound bite of flying bats plays when the alerts are triggered. In the alert background, a colony of bats fly across a purple night sky.
Meanwhile, our illustrators were working on some tasty treats of their own – a package of limited-time, Halloween-themed Twitch emotes. In total, we would redesign 5 of his original emotes, now replaced with CouRage vampires, carved pumpkins, and adorable little ghosts. It was only natural to play on CouRage’s IRL name, ‘Jack’, with two unique JACK-o-lantern designs. Likewise two JACK-ula vampires replace his standard pepe frog emotes, while an adorable ghoul peaks out of the original CouRage backpack.
Christmas Design Updates
With Christmas around the corner, CouRageJD and team VBI wanted to update his graphics to feature festive holiday flair. Our goal was to bring as much cheer to Jack’s design as he brings to each and every stream.
We started with his webcam overlay, stringing rotating Christmas lights around the top border of his frame. A few holiday ornaments and mistletoe added a festive, steamy touch. On both sides of the webcam, we updated the frame to feature red and green colors, in addition to a ‘dripping’ icicle-inspired animation. At the bottom of his Twitch webcam we added a pile of brightly-color presents, ribbons, and more Christmas lights. Look closely in the face-cam slot itself and you’ll spot some drifting snow and dripping ice melt.
From here we shifted our focus to his Gifted Subscriber Stream Alerts. In place of the usual platinum wings, we substituted a stack of peppermint candy-canes, featuring spiraling red-and-white colors. As the alert explodes into view, animated snow drifts gust across the screen (replacing the lighting effects in his standard Sub Gift Alerts). The alert banner itself changes to a cheery red and green color scheme.
Now for the fun part… we went all out on Jack’s Christmas Twitch emotes. Say hello to Mr. CouRage Claus and Mrs. CouRage Claus, two limited-time holiday emote variations available to CouRageous subscribers. In place of his standard ’tilted’, ‘rage’ emote, you’ll find a special grinch-inspired design. A bearded FeelsGoodSnowMan also makes an appearance, in addition to CouRage the Christmas Elf and Gingerbread Man.
To round things out, we also updated his existing social media banners and profile art. Red and green highlights add a festive touch, while the CouRageJD logo now features a holiday wreath border and glowing Christmas lights. Wrapped presents pile up at the corners of the view, while a caroling CouRage elf spreads Christmas cheer for all to see.