When the most popular game on Earth makes a leap to a new storytelling medium, how does it stay true to its world, characters and lore so beloved by over 100 million gamers? And do so while extending an open invitation for new fans to plunge fully into this universe?
Riot Games was ready to embark on a project of that magnitude - extending League of Legends to new screens through their first ever television series; an animated adventure developed in partnership with the studio Fortiche.
In collaboration with these teams, COLLINS was invited to help build a brand design system for Arcane. We worked to find a distinct expression that could awaken the realm of these stories for an even broader audience.
Every legend has a beginning.
From the start, we knew there was an opportunity for design to set the stage for all the stories of Arcane to come. We aimed to build a flexible, yet coherent brand that acts as a window into this world - and that comes out of the world of Arcane itself, purpose-built to tell its many stories: The city in the sky. The dark undercity. The family you have. The family you choose. Sisterhood. Hardship. Power. Progress. And more.
Arcane is a compelling dramatic adaptation that doesn’t flinch at serious themes. It needed a visual language that embodied this confidence. Immersing ourselves in the nuances and narrative arcs anchoring the series, we developed a systemic approach for all expressions - from typography to color to story framing. We wanted everything to have the same level of imagination and craftsmanship that went into the show itself.
We created an original typeface, Iron & Glass. We wanted every letterform to feel as though it was etched with the deft, artistic eye of an artisan who lives in this world. The typographic voice embodied elements of both Art Deco and the Art Nouveau movements, tying together the two city factions in the story. The new typography also acts as a unifying element across everything, flexing between a broad visual language for large-scale events and detailed, plot-specific graphic treatments for social media.
We wanted to showcase the two factions—the city of Piltover and the undercity of Zaun—as two sides of the same world. Each with unique, but mirrored expression. Inspired by the machine age, we sought inspiration from Art Deco and Streamline Moderne for Piltover, highlighting gilded symmetries and sleek, complex geometries. For Zaun, we looked at the fluid qualities of Art Nouveau and whiplash curves, focusing on the sinuous and curvilinear, but with a sinister touch of sharpness and iridescence.
Through this, we wanted to help define a world that felt original and inviting.
Premiering in November 2021, Arcane launched to critical acclaim (with a near unheard of 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes) and became the most watched show on Netflix globally. We’re honored to have worked together with Riot Games in their first foray into this medium. We couldn’t be more proud seeing this story unfolding and captivating fans, both old and new, around the world.
- Jump Jirakaweekul
- Alex Blumfelder
- Michael Di Leo
- Ryan Bugden
- Julen Saenz
- Manuel Martin
- Eric Park
- Kristine Lim
- Jing Qi Fan
- Madeleine Carrucan
- Riot Games
- Dan Sutton
- Jane Lim
- Alex Shahmiri
- Megan Pulver