This evening, I watched a new Netflix movie called The Dig, set in an English village in the months leading up to WW2. Watching it, I noticed a stark lack of any sort of design or imagery within the setting of the story. The only graphic I noticed through the whole movie was a small matchbox held up for a moment while lighting a pipe…
In contrast, Wes Anderson’s film The Grand Budapest Hotel is set in nearly the exact same time (though in a fictionalized version of our own history), and is CHOCK full of beautiful graphics. Letters, notes, books, tickets, signage.
These stories are Very different – the former is set in the country of a remote village, the latter revolves around a large hotel a quaint little city – but the difference still struck me. I think Wes Anderson uses graphics and design in a way that few other directors do, at least that I’ve noticed. I think it’s a very cool tool that I wish (maybe selfishly) was used more often in film. It’s something I want to think about more intentionally when ever I get around to writing something for the screen!
I can’t wait to see how and where Wes uses graphic design in his upcoming film, The French Dispatch.
A little while ago, I stumbled on a talk by the graphic designer for Wes Anderson’s animated feature, Isle of Dogs. Unfortunately, I can not find that video anymore… But it blew my mind!(here is an article on the topic instead)
Never before had I thought about the world of graphic design in the universe of the film industry, but of course it makes sense! Fictional worlds need graphic designers too. After hearing that talk, I knew it was something I’d love to do one day – but didn’t give it much more thought.
This week, I found another talk on the subject. Ironically, it was a designer working on another Wes Anderson film, but this time it was The Grand Budapest Hotel.
The designer, Annie Atkins, talks about her experience as a designer, her accidental path into the film world, and the movies she’s worked on over the last 10 years in the industry. She goes in depth on what it’s like to design for a film. The timeline, expectations, duties. She talks about prop making and materials, and her processes for different types of work.
One thing that stuck out to me was her thoughts on hand-made vs. machine made. If things were made by hand in the time period she is designing for, she’s determined to make them by hand now. On paper, without a keyboard or computer. If things were made with any sort of machine, though, such as a printing press, she’s okay to cheat and create them with her own machine. Much more advanced though it is.
It was a great talk, and it’s a cool career. It is now officially on my bucket list to be a graphic designer for a film one day.
I’m currently watching ‘Pretend it’s a city’ on Netflix, and it’s great. Fran Lebowitz, who the show is about, talked about the greatness of musicians. ‘Musicians and chefs, of any body in the world, probably bring the most joy to people. Nobody loves artists like they love musicians.’
It’s fascinating how color effects an image, design or visual. I wrote briefly about the idea of color and places a little while ago, and it’s something I think about often. I really love finishing a design, laying in a set of colors, but then bringing that colored image into photoshop and playing with the hue, saturation and color balance.
I’m not always great at coming up with the final color palette in the first go, so I have the photoshop tools to help me figure it out.
These are the colors I laid in – what I started with. And who knows, maybe it’s what I’ll end with, but I wanted to play a little more…
I really like the feel of this desaturated one… but I think it may be a little too ‘sepia’ for the illustration style.
There you go… Lot’s of options. We’ll see which one I end up leading with! Maybe none of them. Design is fun, especially with tools that make color theory much easier – even if sometimes I feel as though I’m cheating.
This poster is inspired by Lord of the Rings (featuring text from Lord of the Rings). I’m reading the Fellowship of the Ring for the first time right now, and really loving it. I don’t think I ever would have enjoyed reading them before this exact season of life. Reading LOTR feels like whittling a piece of wood next to the fire… It’s going to take a while, but it feels so tactile and warm beneath your fingers, and if you enjoy it, you’re able to get lost in it. I read about 70 pages today.