How NBC Creates On-Air Graphics

On-air graphics are an essential part of how broadcast news viewers contextualize the news of the day.  

“In addition to being really good designers, we also have to be really avid news consumers, too,” said Ventura Castro, creative director at NBC Artworks. “We have to really pull in what’s happening in the world around us, in order to inform the work that we’re doing.” 

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Castro works alongside fellow creative director Sarah Schultz (both seen in the video above), who leads the broadcast graphic designs for general elections, midterms, debates and primaries at NBC News, MSNBC, NBC News NOW and more. “We have this unique opportunity to brand history in a way,” Schultz said. “We’re taking moments in time and creating branding around it.” 

Schultz reflected on how her team worked on the 2020 debates — with animation and rear projection behind the stage. “That footage, the work that my team did is there, and it will be a part of that moment forever,” Schultz said.

Castro said there are many ways to practice graphic design skills, through phone apps and social media platforms. 

“If you’re posting a photo. Cropping an image. Working with Instagram Stories and you’re typing something out. If you’re sharing it with the world, you’re doing graphic design,” Castro said.  

The magic lies in the storytelling. 

“It’s really easy to make a very well-produced graphic,” Castro said. “Getting to the core of what the concept is, and breaking all that down and really looking inside of it? It’s really difficult.”  

“Make sure the work that you’re doing tells a story in a way that if someone doesn’t have the audio on, they know what the story is generally about,” Schultz said. 

Watch the video above to learn more about how the NBC Artworks team creates branding and on-air graphics.