‘Inside’ debuts on MSNBC with D.C.-centric look

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MSNBC’s latest weekend program, “Inside with Jen Psaki,” hosted by President Joe Biden’s former press secretary, debuted March 19, 2023, using a geometric look with nods to city maps and architecture.

The show is broadcast from Studio N1 at NBC News‘ Washingtonf, D.C. bureau, a street-level studio with windows overlooking a prominent intersection in the district and at least two of them were open during much of the show. 

The space is also home to “Meet the Press.”

The show’s look centers around a simplified version of the distinctive Washington, D.C., street map, with lines representing various thoroughfares and 3D models of prominent landmarks, including the White House, Washington Monument, Capitol and Lincoln Memorial, placed roughly where they would be in real life.

Additional accents on the map included red, blue, white, gray and gold boxes that could be read as buildings, though they also have the added effect of making the design look a bit like a Mondrian work.

Other elements include segments of traditional stone columns in red, white and blue, circular intersections and a representation of blind justice. In another take on the outline style, other graphics feature elevations of federal-style buildings, with the lines forming columns, porticos and other stonework.

“Inside” takes advantage of Washington’s distinct diagonal roads that bisect its more traditional grid system to create spaces for logos and other branding elements and topical graphics.

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The lines in the maps themselves appear in a variety of colors, including a silver gradient look in the open and gold in many on-set graphics, which happens to be similar to the oversized map of Washignton, D.C. that’s can slide around on a track hidden behind the distinct blue walls with archways in N1.

Street outlines can also be rendered in an embossed look with a tan background and gleaming coopery lettering, as seen in the rejoin animation. In this design, the dot in the “I” of “Inside” notably hits at intersection where several diagonal streets intersect. 

“Inside” uses a thin, expressive serif for its main logo, with the first word slightly larger in most cases. The word “with” is tucked into the space left by the hook in the “J” in Pasaki’s name, which appears to the right.

While the insert graphics use MSNBC’s standard layout with Roboto as a primary font, other graphics, including the third tier on top of the main lower thirds feature segment titles set in the classic Book Antiqua. This font is also used in full-screen graphics listing quotes, data or other information.

Meanwhile, the map theme is also used in the over the shoulder-style graphic fed to the video wall directly behind the show’s home base. 

In these, a large section camera right of where Psaki sits is given over to either the show logo with a dark blue background like the rest of the map or as a frame for a topical graphic with Book Antique headline.

The graphic is a four-sided polygon, with the left side starting in the upper left and running diagonally down toward the right. There’s also a prominent gold circle roughly halfway down that line that draws the eye to the graphic.

The custom wipes and transitional animations use also incorporate elements of the shapes and angles inspired by the graphics, including angled and circular segments, as well as ones that use oversized typography that’s been subtly segmented in places.

Another recurring theme is the use of those 3D buildings, which have also been imagined as transitional elements on bumps and rejoin animations.

This includes one where the White House appears to fold outward in a somewhat purposefully staggered animation, a style that is found throughout the show’s movement. 

Another features a take on a straight-down view of the Capitol Rotunda that appears to build itself up from the base of the main structure to form a border before the dome fills in with a circular animation.

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Psaki herself sits at a high top desk with a modern glass top that’s a hybrid of old and new thanks to the federal-style base in a gold tone and legs that branch out like tree roots over the floor.

This, in turn, is set atop a circular rug with a geometric pattern inspired by the street map graphics.

This is the only venue that Psaki uses throughout the show with the exception of the teases before the open runs, which she presents standing next to the studio’s mobile video panel.

The panel also appears in wide shots of the space, such as bumps or when returning to the studio from a pre-recorded segment.

MSNBC is heavily emphasizing Psaki’s former seat near the center of the Biden administration in the show name, which is at least somewhat similar to CNN’sInside Politics.”

Combined with the references to buildings and monuments where the some of the most powerful people in government work and that serve as tribute to such key players in American history, the show’s theme of taking viewers inside the beltway is clearly visible. 

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