HBO Real Time with Bill Maher show open

Concept + Motion Design

Project goals

I was invited back by the creative team at PopClutch / Open Road to revisit and reimagine the HBO Real Time show open that I concepted and designed a couple of years ago – view the past Real Time open.

The goal was to engage the viewer with a stimulating juxtaposition of the current political issues but with a positive skew. Additionally the team wanted to steer away from news imagery and illustrate these concepts through abstract visual metaphors.

Edit and animation by PopClutch / Open Road

HBO Real Time show open 2023 pork in the US Capital Building with a price tag

Developing the visual look

I looked at several different visual approaches to tackle the challenge of illustrating complex issues in a simple way. All the thinking coalesced into a collage style inspired by Warhol’s prints and Banksy’s urban art.

Each visual concept forces the viewer to look the many sides of an issue and draw their own interpretation. The whimsical approach helps you look at the irony of it all and hopefully spark a constructive conversation.

HBO Real Time show open 2023 special interest groups with the democrat donkey and republican elephant spitting dollars
HBO Real Time show open 2023 girl standing in front of the Supreme Court with a balloon with the male and female symbols

A modern patriotic palette

The classic red and blue palette was tweaked to be more modern and relevant. A rich range of blue grey backgrounds are punctuated by the bright magenta red, blue green and lime yellow.










Illustrating complex metaphors

Not all of the issues were easy to distill down into a single image. The more complex and layered ideas required a sequences of visuals to communicate the complexities.

The art of the process

Not every idea, concept and color combination ended up in the finished open – but that was all part of the process. Through iteration, conversation and group brainstorms each idea was refined and polished. The whole creative process was a pleasure and hopefully the results spark the same level of conversation and partnership across aisle.

HBO Real Time show open 2023 cancel culture lincoln statue with pointing woman hands

HBO Real Time design exploration

As with every everything we not only need to look at social issues from different point of views but also the design for the Real Time open.

HBO Real Time with Bill Maher open graphic for social media vices

The goal of the alternate design exploration was to simplify the visuals down to highly illustrated iconic moments. Using this technique complex ideas could be illustrated like a graphic movie poster allowing for surprising juxtapositions that tell a complex story.

HBO Real Time with Bill Maher open graphic for global warming

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