Opportunities like these only come once in a lifetime.
It was an honour to be awarded the task to create the lead image for this year's Julkalender - the yearly Swedish Public TV Christmas calendar which broadcasts 24 episodes through out December, leading up to Christmas Eve.
The series is always supported by a paper calendar with 24 windows that is redistributed through a vast number of stores all over Sweden. For some people (including me!) it's one of those things that you would remember from your childhood, like "...oh do you remember that year, when the calendar portraid an illustration of a crazy room full of old stuff and you had to work really hard to find the numbers for the windows?". Well, this year it was my turn to make a contribution, so I took a trip down memory lane to see which ones I remembered liking as a child, and why...
The task we got was to create a design for the year’s paper calendar, all the while making sure that it followed the overall theme - a journey through 1000 years of Swedish history - and daily events of the tv-series. Up until 2015 the paper calendar had more than often consisted of 24 windows that you threw away after opened, with a motif behind the separate windows that reffered to events in the daily tv-episodes. What we in the end managed to achieve (after a long process of trying pitch in new ideas) was to add one extra window to be opened before December 1st - window number zero(!) - revealing a genderless paper doll that you could then dress with historical garments that you got from the back side of each window that you opened. These same items could also be collected in the digital experience, as well being seen worn by the actors in the daily episodes, bridging the gap between up until now very separate entertainment platforms.
I early on decided that the we would build the illustration in 3D to be able to re-use the assets easily when making the accompanying app experience. Together with the client we came up with the concept of letting each episode be illustrated by house from the specific time period it represented, creating a small town of buildings from mixed moments in time following a hidden path for the audience to find.
Modelling the environment and all of the 24 historical houses was a fun and demanding task. We had ongoing support from show, but even though they sent us pictures of the buildings as they finished recording/scouting, we still didn't have enough material in the end to make a waterproof transition between the calendar and the tv-episodes. So we had to do some guessing...!
By printing an upscaled version of the paper calendar, playing the game on live TV and hosting an online gallery for user postcards, our client SVT Barnkanalen made good use of the broad set of tools and opportunities that we created for them.
Final version with all of the 24 windows open: