Chicago-based Mode Project is proud to announce its recent collaboration with Kartemquin Films in the creation of an animated graphics system for a new documentary series about struggling families in the U.S.

In 6 one-hour episodes, Hard Earned explores the widening economic inequality experienced by five families juggling the rising costs of housing, education, food, medical bills and more – all while working low-wage jobs. 

Their provocative stories are uniquely human, but complicated.

Kartemquin Films selected Mode Project to design a visual system and animation style for easy-to-grasp graphics that bring clarity to complex storytelling.

Mode Project worked closely with the filmmakers, distilling data into clean and effective support for the story line. The result is inspired explanatory design at its best.

“We chose to work with Mode Project because of their design and animation skills, as well as their approach to the material,” says Kartemquin Series Producer, Maggie Bowman. “This project required a team with the ability to go beyond the design and to dig into the story.”

Brooks Ruyle, Mode Project creative director says, "We’re honored to partner with an extraordinary powerhouse like Kartemquin Films. For us, it’s all about doing meaningful work. This project has the power to make an impact on society.”

Anyone who has been stirred by Obama presidential campaign videos, has loved an Oprah Winfrey image spot, or was captivated by animated Ore-Ida Tater Tots in a dramatic duel, has witnessed how Mode Project’s work excites and connects with viewers.

Hard Earned will reach 58 million American households through Al Jazeera America and makes its debut Sunday, May 3rd at 10pm ET/ 6pm PT as part of the documentary series Al Jazeera America Presents.

The Kartemquin production team is a venerable Emmy and Peabody award winning collective of documentarians, recognized for films such as Life Itself, Hoop Dreams, and The Interrupters, which have left a lasting impact on millions of viewers.

Mode Project animated graphics system credits: Tracy Heropkie: Executive Producer; Brooks Ruyle: Creative Director; Lindsay Daniels: Creative Director / Concepting; Stefan Draht: Associate Creative Director / Designer - Animator; Brett Schnacky: Art Director / Designer - Animator; Editor: Mike Greiner

About Mode Project
Mode Project’s team of creative thinkers work with agencies and brands to deliver stories in their most powerful form: through video and animation.  By bringing together design and storytelling with a deep understanding of our clients’ communication goals, Mode Project is able to produce solutions that are both compelling and relevant.