TV & Streaming

Mood Board: Hulu IDs show off artists’ takes on streaming TV

Two dozen clips are odes to a traditional medium.
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· 5 min read

You’ll know a network ID when you see it on TV. Whether you’re watching Nickelodeon, MTV, SyFy, Adult Swim, or Food Network, occasional 10- or 15-second clips dance around the screen and end with the network’s logo, often with a recognizable jingle, providing bite-sized branding opportunities that are a mainstay of traditional network and cable television.

And while Hulu isn’t exactly a traditional television network, the streaming service is making them for its viewers, too.

This month, the Disney-owned streamer, which offers certain subscribers live-TV viewing in addition to on-demand programming, rolled out Hulu IDs. The IDs—also referred to as idents—are the results of a months-long creative effort with dozens of artists around the world to cement Hulu’s brand as being “as synonymous with TV as Hershey’s is to chocolate,” said Reid Thompson, VP and head of creative at Hulu’s creative studio Greenhouse.

“They’re such odes to classic TV idents, but [we’re] really bringing them into the streaming era,” Thompson told Marketing Brew.

Hulu said the idents are being shared on social media for now, with plans to roll out the videos on its platform being finalized.

Do your research

Before getting started, the Greenhouse team dug back decades for inspiration. They looked back to early network IDs from different countries and mediums across genres and styles. That research ranged from news outlets like the BBC to animation-forward networks like Adult Swim, whose own bumpers had a recent moment in the spotlight due to a homegrown TikTok trend.

“We dove deep into [the] historical context of identifiers, beginning all the way in radio, and then making their way into television,” Naveen Singh, a video producer for Hulu’s Greenhouse, told Marketing Brew. “It was actually a really fun research project to look at IDs from around the world from obscure networks.”

That research helped Hulu home in on which approaches resonated the most, and allowed them to determine how to “bring a fresh perspective to a really tried-and-true medium,” Andy Holton, team lead of brand video at Greenhouse, told us.


That fresh perspective came from the diverse set of creatives around the world Hulu enlisted. After scouring art blogs, Instagram, and artists who the team admired, Hulu onboarded dozens of artists from around the world, including stop-motion wool animator Andrea Love, designer Ihsu Yoon, and animator Rachel Reid.

The result is a vibrant mix of different art styles, mediums, and tones, everything from stop-motion, odes to adult animation, ultra-realistic computer animation, and comic-book-like splashes of color. “Each [artist] is just different in not only their style, but who they are and what they bring to the table culturally,” Singh said. “I think that added such a great texture to the overall tapestry of these IDs.”

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The parameters were simple enough: Keep it 15 seconds long, don’t include profanity or violence, and end with a properly-sized and shaded Hulu logo. That means that in some cases, artists had to get creative. One clay animator that Hulu tapped for an as-of-now-unreleased ID had to work overtime to get the right shade of green in the clay he was using for the project, mixing, boiling, and combining shades until it matched the exact Hulu shade.

“He kept sending us iterations of the green and being like, ‘I think I nailed it this time,’” Holton recalled. “He got closer and closer until he literally created this very specific shade of green in real life.”

Storytelling first

Since Hulu’s programming slate is varied, the IDs are intentionally designed not to favor any specific genre. Instead, they evoke different stories and tonalities. With that said, there’s an undeniable artistic streak of animation, which Thompson said nods to the robust lineup of adult animated titles available on Hulu.

As a whole, the IDs are designed to “tap into both the modern and the retro,” Holton said, offering a simultaneous sense of futurism and nostalgia that is core to Hulu’s brand as a streaming service.

“We really focused on the storyteller of it all, the experience of television,” Holton said.

Hulu will continue rolling out Hulu IDs on the platform and on social media in the coming weeks and months, with about two dozen IDs in total. Some of Hulu’s IDs cater to specific times of the year, like its annual Halloween programming block Huluween; others are designed to be played year-round.

And as the Hulu IDs continue to roll out, Greenhouse’s creative team is already thinking about what their next ID project will look like.

“We looked at this project as a way to really innovate in the ident space and evolve the medium and do our best to add to that medium,” Holton said. “There’s a lot of things we’re learning as we go about how we can continue that evolution.”

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