“I thought this was a beautiful diary for all the female athletes who went to the Olympics. We were able to see and feel their anxieties, hopes and dreams for the Games.” —Sandra Nam
Overview: In April and May of 2020, Butter Studio interviewed ten female Olympians who were planning to compete in the 2020 Summer Olympics—until it was postponed due to COVID-19. With their dreams on hold, She’s Going to Tokyo takes a look at what life was like for top-tier athletes in the early pandemic. By focusing on the seven senses—sight, smell, taste, touch, sound, mind and body—the interviews uncover the overlooked details of the subjects’ day-to-day lives, the minutiae that bring them joy and give them solace. The campaign reflects these conversations and captures this moment in history.
The whole campaign contains 60 different media elements.
A team of four from Butter Studio worked on the project for four months, from creating a concept and visual identity to contacting and interviewing athletes.
She’s Going to Tokyo launched in August 2020, right when the Summer Olympics were supposed to have taken place.
Comments by Cari Sekendur and Bao Hu:
How did this project compare with others you’ve worked on in the past? “This was a studio-driven project created by Butter Studio—not a commercial one. So it was a true labor of love with the intention to give often-underrepresented athletes a chance to shine. We brought our conversations with them to life through a mixed-media aesthetic, blending photography, typography, video and 3-D motion graphics to create an irreverent visual language that channels the uniqueness of each athlete.”
Did you meet with any out-of-the-ordinary obstacles during development? “The diverse range of the content we collected from the athletes proved to be challenging for us as we had to unify them with a powerful visual style. The black-and-white graphic tones serve as a counterpoint to pops of color and rich imagery. Simultaneously, it was challenging to maintain consistency while creating a distinctive feeling to reflect each athlete’s personality. Some are more humorous, fun and playful, while others are more stoic and precise. Through lots of iterations and experimentations, we achieved a consistent style.”
What did you learn from this project? “We learned so much! Our interviews take a closer look at the everyday rituals and routines that the athletes adopted to keep themselves physically and emotionally engaged during the most difficult time of the pandemic—right at the start. There was so much that any person could learn and be inspired from what we uncovered while interviewing these amazing athletes.”