Oddfellows Studio Spotlight: Illustrated Looks & Compelling Stories

Motion Design July 30, 2019 3 min read

One of the most interesting companies working on motion graphics today is Oddfellows. They are churning out beautiful piece after beautiful piece, and they are inspiring lots of other designers along the way. 

Today, we’ll take a look at some of the work that has made Oddfellows so popular and learn a little more about their process.
 
Oddfellows started out in 2012 as a small studio in San Francisco from co-founders Chris Kelly, Colin Trenter, and TJ Kearney. As the studio has grown, they’ve recently expanded, opening a second office in Portland.
 
Very early on, Oddfellows started to find their own style and voice for their work. In this demo from 2012, it’s clear that the Oddfellows team was well versed in a lot of disciplines including polished 3D, live-action, stop motion, compositing, and illustrated 2D animations.

One of their early successes was a spot for Google that showed off their then-new Google Drive product using some simple but elegant shapes and organic movements, that were able to achieve a sense of emotion and feeling for a product that can come across as very digital and sterile.

Then came their relationship with Nest. One that has given Oddfellows plenty of great demo material over the years. One of the early Nest pieces from 2013 was a lovely 2D illustrated piece with subtle 3D elements for the Nest Rush Hour Rewards program. It gave Oddfellows the opportunity to show off their storytelling capabilities and sup smooth transitional animation.

It was around that time that Oddfellows really seemed to find their voice, focusing largely on illustrated looks and compelling stories. One perfect example of this is an animation called Work Story: Motivation.
 
Using a lovely music bed and subtle design, Oddfellows takes us on a journey about why we do what we do in under a minute. At its core, the motivation behind the video is to tout the results of a survey, but with lovely imagery and spot on transitions, the video feels like so much more.

As Oddfellows has grown over the past few years, their particular brand of animation has become more mature and they’ve really taken ownership of their aesthetic.

One great example is their recent pieces for long-time client Nest. As creative director and founder, Chris Kelly explained in an interview for Motionographer, “We set out to tell a more compelling story, combining our talents in motion design and cel animation with live-action products. Finding the sweet spot for integrating these styles took a great deal of exploration, but in the end, we found a harmonious place for them to co-exist.”

It’s clear that clients come to Oddfellows for their ability to tell a story that incorporates modern animation technologies with styles reminiscent of old school animation.

As their client base expands, Oddfellows has been able to find new ways to create great spots that stand on their own, but still feel deeply rooted in the Oddfellows world. This recent spot for Cartoon Network is a good example.

 You can see how it’s related to the previous spots for Nest, but it also feels very Cartoon Network and non-derivative.

The latest reel from Oddfellows really shows how the team has grown and built a cohesive style that has clients seeking them out for their original take on motion graphics and for their ability to make a great story in short-form animation.


If you’re interested in learning more about Oddfellows and how they are building their own story as a studio, it’s worth taking a listen to the Chris Kelly interview on the Animalators podcast. We are big fans of Animalators, and this interview gives a lot of insight into what it’s like to start a studio from scratch.
 
To check out more work from Oddfellows, visit Oddfellows.tv.