Title Design for a historical Mini-Series

The historical miniseries “Bonn – Alte Freunde, neue Feinde” is a six-part political thriller that tells the story of the rise of the young Federal Republic of Germany, between the horror of a world war and the return to normality, shaded by a moving family story.
Based on true events during the tense Cold War, the series is set in 1954, on the eve of Germany’s rearmament. It tells of rival secret services, of networks of relationships in the Alt-Nazi milieu, and of a young woman who gets caught between these fronts.


The series is based on true historical events in the tension between the secret services Bundesverfassungsschutz (Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution) and the Organization Gehlen. Within the Gehlen Organization, which was later transformed into Bundesnachrichtendienst (Federal Intelligence Service), former National-Socialists fought for influence and pushed the arming of stay-behind armies as a supposed bulwark against the Russians. Amongst others, they were supported by Hans Globke (head of the Chancellor’s Office), who had once helped to draft the Nuremberg Race Laws.

The common attitude, including that of high-ranking politicians, was pragmatic. The knowledge of the old elites was needed. Therefore, attempts were made to integrate them as inconspicuously as possible into the new Germany. Much of this took place in secret and has hardly been addressed to this day. “BONN – Alte Freunde, neue Feinde” sheds light on this chapter of German post-war history, which has been knowingly in the dark for a very long time.

Disclaimer: The images, symbols and signs shown on this page are not a glorification of National Socialism and are intended solely to present the design process and artistic work on the Titles & Credits of the TV Show mentioned above.

Opening Credits
Design & Animation

Mercedes Müller, Max Riemelt, Sebastian Blomberg, Juergen Maurer, Martin Wuttke, Katharina Marie Schubert, Luise von Finkh, Inga Busch, Julius Feldmeier

Germany 1954
Postwar period


The challenge

The historical context was one of the main components, which played an important role right from the start. Through an extensive historical and artistic research we ended up with a comprehensive overview of the historical facts, the visual language of the time, colours, and the use of photography and typography in commercial graphic design. The challenge, however, was to drag the viewer into this world within the short sequence of the opening titles, offering an insight into the geopolitical situation of the time and set a mood for the entry into every episode.

The solution

For the final designs we chose a bold approach in terms of elements and colours. The palette, as a colour-quote associated with the Third Reich and the new Federal Republic, subtly picks up the core theme of the series. The visual identity is modern despite the historical context, but retains the desired striking, intense and also dark overall mood. The focus remains on the characters and the secret service & espionage theme in conjunction with the historical storytelling component through the interwoven archive footage, which shows a few key points from the period between 1945 and 1954, the year in which the series begins.

Bonn Republic
1949 – 1990

Credits & Labels

Closing Credits
Title Design

Research & Concept Development



“Siehst du von hier aus die Johanniskirche?
Du siehst sie nicht. Das heißt aber nicht, dass sie nicht da ist…”

Toni Schmidt zu ihrem Vater (Zitat aus Serie BONN)

Alternative design approach

Based on our design research, with the following alternative design approach we’ve tried to create a visual time travel: The idea was to establish an immersive feeling of the 40s and 50s – not solely by using archive footage – but even more by an intentional use of typography, discreetly placed references to the core theme and an overall color scheme as a quote of the time period. Graphic elements such as case files, symbols and text are placed purposefully, supposed to create the desired intelligence/espionage tonality, while holding on to a certain level of emotionality. Some details should still allow you to discover new clues about the series even after watching it several times.

Alternative Concept & Designs
Look-Dev process

Client/Production: Odeon Fiction / Leonine Studios
Agency: We fade to grey GmbH
Creative Direction: three-seconds
Director: Claudia Garde
Editorial department TV-Series: Götz Vogt (WDR)
Postproduction: Anne Urban
Producer: Fabian Winkelmann
Art-Direction: Thomas Gugel
Design: Thomas Gugel, Bastian J. Schiffer, Catrin Mackowski
Animation: Thomas Gugel, Bastian J. Schiffer
Music: Florian Tessloff

Project Management, Research, Concept, Design Development, Layout, Animation, Editing

More information about the entire Production can be found here: ARD Mediathek
Watch the Trailer here: BONN – Alte Freund, neue Feinde

Three-seconds is the portfolio of Award winning Digital Artist & Motion Designer Thomas Gugel. He is currently working as a Freelancer with a studio in Cologne, Germany. Available worldwide.