Comment

When Designers Push Printing Presses: An Exhibition

journal with the title "Material Affinities: to clay and back" printed on cover

"Graphic designers tend to be a tactile bunch. As we spend ever more of our workdays interfacing with plastic screens, the experience of caressing textured, letterpressed, and embossed papers becomes even more precious and valuable. Conversely, the thought of visiting a museum, with all of its glass-encased objects and hovering guards, loses a bit of its appeal. But in the A+D Architecture and Design Museum’s latest show in downtown Los Angeles, touching everything is not only permitted, it’s practically mandatory."

design: Lorraine Molina and Jennifer Rider. photos: Andy Reed.

design: Lorraine Molina and Jennifer Rider. photos: Andy Reed.

Design: Chase Design Group.

Design: Chase Design Group.

Read more here Photos: M. Dooley.

Comment

Comment

Printing with coffee

print of a woman's face in blue ink

Thought you've seen it all when it comes to printing? Think again.  Ted Kinsman of College of Imaging Arts & Science created the Coffee Drip Printer.  

"This x-y axis printer creates images by spitting out tiny droplets of coffee. The droplets fall in different sizes, with larger drops leaving darker splotches on the canvas. The printer uses an Arduino microcontroller to manage movement as well as the size of the droplets. The droplet size, nozzle distance, and paper can all be changed to create different prints. While the machine normally works with coffee, it can employ any kind of colored liquid and print on any surface. Once the droplets dry, the image takes on an unusual, mosaic-like appearance." 

In action - the current speed of the printer is 4000 drips per hour - or about one drip a second.

 

Read more Here

 

 

Comment

Comment

Loving Vincent

In the world of art, Vincent Van Gogh is no stranger. We recently came across a trailer called "Loving Vincent" an animated film featuring 12 oil paintings per second by over 100 painters. Check out more here! While you're at it, check out Van Gogh's Untold Journey, we had the pleasure of producing this book!

Comment

Comment

The Fine Art and Craft of 1960s Wallpaper Manufacturing

Words by Kate Sierzputowski on via this is colossal

February 17, 2016

This short film from 1968 demonstrates the newest technologies in wallpaper manufacturing, the narrator exclaiming that some of the processes found in the footage are nearly science fiction! The almost 50-year-old video demonstrates factory workers etching designs into sycamore wood, hand mixing large batches of psychedelic colors, and observing machines as they automatically screen print complicated patterns onto long stretches of wallpaper.
The film was shot at a factory in Perivale, just ten miles west of London. All of the wallpaper designs found in the video are garish and bright, shot in a time when people were intent on matching their wallpaper to their curtains, couch coverings, and clothing. One particular shot shows a woman reading a magazine at home amongst her patterns, demonstrating how pervasive prints were in the home during the time period.
Continuing with a nearly poetic cadence the narrator ends the short video exclaiming, “Designs in profusion, kaleidoscopic colors—interior decorating has come a long way since father first papered the parlor!” British Pathé, a once leader in cinematic journalism, has uploaded several thousands films like this one to Youtube. Make sure to search their channel for other historic documentation of cultural events from curtains to political crises.


Comment

Comment

Street Photographer Zun Lee Captures Untold Stories of African-Americans


Seeking out these points of connection is a large part of Lee’s 2013 project, Father Figure, in which he photographs African-American families in attempts to dispel widely-held public opinion and popular media portrayal of black male stereotypes. Both this project and his ongoing project Fade Resistance have received attention and recognition from The New York Times, The New Yorker, and Magnum Foundation, among others.

While Zun Lee’s own story of identity and self-discovery is impossible to separate from Father Figure, this project is more so an exploration of the loving “fathers” he had in his life growing up, instead of the ones he did not. 

Zun Lee is a self-taught photographer and visual storyteller currently based out of Toronto, Canada, although he was born in Germany and has since lived in several parts of the USA. Because of his nomadic lifestyle and a strained household during his childhood, “home” has always been a fluid construct for Lee—not tied to a physical space nor biological family, but instead created from experience and emotional responses. Lee, who trained as a physician, initially picked up photography as a way to relieve stress from his job. However, he quickly realized his interest in photography was more rooted in storytelling than image-making.

We at bigger dot obviously love books, If you are interested into buying "Father Figure" you can get it here.


Photos and Words by Format

Comment

Comment

Tauba Auerbach’s RGB Colorspace Atlas Depicts Every Color Imaginable

The RGB Colorspace Atlas by New York-based artist Tauba Auerbach is a massive tome containing digital offset prints of every variation of RGB color possible. For you designers, think of it as a three-dimensional version of a Photoshop color picker. At 8in. x 8in x 8in. the perfectly cube book was co-designed by Daniel E. Kelm and bound with assistance from Leah Hughes. What a beautiful sculptural object.

Comment

Comment

The Lost Story of Soviet Germany’s Most Famous Graphic Designer

Wittkugel’s designs were far more playful than you might guess for Stalinist East Germany

words by Liz Stinson

 

It was 1951 and Klaus Wittkugel had just designed a poster that was going to get him into trouble. As head designer for the German Democratic Republic’s Office of Information, the graphic designer was tasked with creating a poster for an exhibition about the Five Year Plan, which highlighted the GDR’s Soviet-style economic goals. Wittkugel’s poster had an army green background with sans serif numbers “1951-1955” that appeared to be advancing like soldiers. It was simple: clean lines and heavy type. The poster was, by most objective standards, totally benign.


After the exhibition ended—and it was considered a wild success—the local newspaper of record ran a piece condemning Wittkugel’s work, writing: “An abstract, intellectual play with numbers and format takes precedence over depictions of people and clear symbols… This ever-dominant formalist approach to visual communication continues to find its expression in other experiments that show a hatred of mankind.”

A hatred for mankind. Despite his loyalty to the German Democratic Republic, Wittkugel was censured because of the design. “He was basically considered a bad Socialist,” says Prem Krishnamurthy, founder of Project Projects and P!. “He had to go to reform classes, read his Marx and Lenin. My suspicion is in that moment something started to change in his work as well.”

Krishnamurthy co-curated Ost Und oder West [East and West], a two-part exhibition that looks at the work of Wittkugel and his contemporary Anton Stankowski (through February 21, 2016). The two exhibitions run in tandem; Wittkugel’s work at P! and Stankowsi’s at Osmos Address, both in New York City. Viewed side by side, they highlight how two graphic designers—both of whom originate not just from the same country, but the same school and teacher—developed their craft as a result of the environments in which they ultimately existed.

Unlike Stankowski’s corporate work for Deutsche Bank, Wittkugel’s legacy has faded over time. “This history has never been told,” Krishnamurthy says. Both Wittkugel and Stankowski studied under the same teacher in Essen Germany, but after graduating their paths diverged. Wittkugel got a job working in Berlin, while Stankowski moved to Zurich and later to Stuttgart where he became one of Germany’s most well-known designers of corporate logos.

Wittkugel eventually became the head of the GDR’s graphic design program, a position Krishnamurthy says was arguably more valued at the time. “In the East, a graphic designer was the highest form of artist,” Krishnamurthy says. Unlike painters and sculptors, graphic designers worked for the people, at least in theory. Their work communicated a message (propaganda or otherwise). Quite simply, it served a purpose.

Poster, Ich bin Bergmann! Wer ist mehr? [I Am a Miner! Who’s Better?], 1952

Poster, Ich bin Bergmann! Wer ist mehr? [I Am a Miner! Who’s Better?], 1952

Over the years, Wittkugel designed some of the most recognizable identity work from the Soviet era. But after his censure, Krishnamurthy notes that Wittkugel’s work began to embrace the human form over his more typical Modernist use of typography. One famous poster shows a young coal miner emerging from the darkness, his face covered in soot, the words “Ich bin Bergmann! Wer ist mehr? (Translation: “I am a miner! Who is better?”) written below him as a call to action. “It was like the ‘We Want You, Uncle Sam poster,’” he says.

Still, Krishnamurthy describes Wittkugel as an aesthetic chameleon who made elegant transitions from style to style. Krishnamurthy explains Wittkugel was self-reflexive in his work, often cleverly nodding to the process through which it was made. In one example, a poster for an election depicts a man hanging a poster. Another features a magnifying glass being held to a logo that reads “Qualität” (“Quality”), essentially inviting viewers to judge his work.

On the whole, Wittkugel’s designs were far more playful than you might guess for someone who worked for Stalinist East Germany.

Ultimately, the story of German graphic design—all graphic design, really—is left to what we choose to remember. Krishnamurthy says much of the history of design that was ultimately written about Wittkugel’s time focuses on designers working with corporate partners—the Eames and IBM, Stankowski and Deutsche Bank. “I think we tend to take that as a neutral condition,” he says. Holding up a piece of Socialist propaganda as an example of canonical design is, understandably, a less comfortable position, and as a result Wittkugel’s work has disappeared along with the dissolution of the GDR.

“On the other hand,” says Krishnamurthy, “if we have a designer who works for a Socialist government or a designer who works for the Communist party, we ask these deep questions of them.” Questions like, why did you work for that client? Is it ethical? Does that impact the value of a piece of graphic design? To that, says Krishnamurthy, there might be a simpler explanation yet. “The actual answer,” he says, “might just be that the East German government was a really good client, and they paid on time.”

 

photos by AIGA words by Liz Stinson

Comment

Comment

Music and Sound Vibrations 3D Printed Into Ceramic Vessels

Bouncing rhythmically to a deep beat, Studio van Broekhoven’s 3D printer produces ceramic vessels scored by sound. The objects spins as clay is applied in response to the amplified noise, forging visual markings into the clay by way of audio wavelengths. The project, “Solid Vibration” was produced by spatial sound designer Ricky van Broekhoven and designer Olivier van Herpt, who have been co-producing the objects that appear almost like woven baskets.
The project developed out of the collaborators’ combined wish to host Broekhoven’s “noisescapes” as solidified objects that could physically represent his abstract tones. For each of the vessels, a specially constructed speaker rig is mounted below the printing platform to emit a low sound that will influence the printing. “A moment in time, a song, a sound, they can now become objects that encapsulate the moment forever,” explains van Herpt’s website.
You can hear more of van Broekhoven’s work here, while taking a glance at more of van Herpt’s ceramics here. (via The Creator’s Project)

Comment

Comment

Richard Chavez 10X10 Project

We recently came across a personal project by Richard Chavez, we personally love Passion Projects and this one is no different. Richard took some of his favorite bands and albums and created new album covers, which we think they should be the actual covers haha. Make sure and take a look at all of them they're great!

Comment

Comment

Geometric Optical Illusions by Fanette Guilloud

23 Year old Fanette Guilloud, based out of the UK is a visual designer that specializes in geometric illusions that are hand painted. Inspired by the city of Berlin, Guilloud created a minimalist series of anamorphoses which were installed in the Generator Hostel in Berlin. The anamorphic geometric shapes adorn the halls and spaces almost transforming it into an art gallery. 
 

My GIF


My GIF
GDI_fanetteg_4_web.jpg

Comment

Comment

New-Generation Animators: Go Behind-The-Scenes With Three Animators Working by Hand

"For Colossal readers it shouldn’t be a surprise that we delight in seeing what artists and designers make with their bare hands, especially when it comes to animation. Monocle recently sat down with three top-notch animators who eschew digital animation in favor of stop-motion and other manual techniques. Go behind-the-scenes with Vera van Wolferen, Lucie Sunkova, and Daisy Jacobs (previously) as they talk about their process and animation techniques. For quick reference you can watch the films they’re working on in the interviews below."

Comment

Comment

Michael Bierut what truly makes a logo great


This new video by Vox discusses what makes a great logo. 

Speaking to graphic designer and author Michael Bierut, they look at the three main types of logos—the wordmark, the pictorial logo and abstract iconography, and introduce a fourth type called the logo system, a graphical framework that can have many permutations. Examples of the logo system include MTV’s ever changing logo and Google’s doodles. 

The use of the logo system seems to be on the upswing, since it allows the brand using it to expand the conversation beyond its name. However, it might not matter what your logo is, as Bierut mentions, the mark of a good logo is not how big a splash it makes when it is released, but how it does in the long run. 

Watch the video below. 

{Photos by Vox Words by Design Taxi}

 

Comment

Comment

Misc Goods

We recently came across one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns we've ever seen, Misc Goods created by Tyler Deeb. Tyler is an art director, designer & illustrator living in Louisville, Kentucky. Living with his wife and two kids. He came across his obsession with Art Direction and Design while on a walk with one of his friends. You can read more about that here. Tyler began Misc Goods after leaving his salary job as an in-house designer where he went full time freelance and dove into creating a playing card which in return became a full deck of cards. 

Tyler's unique style and attention is amazing and this set of cards shows off just that, what intended to be just a idea evolved into a full on brand. With cards, flasks, t shirts, and posters.

Here's a Creative Mornings talk Tyler did a while back.

Check out more of Tyler's work here and more of Misc Goods here.

 

Photos: Kickstarter & Tyler Deeb


Comment

Comment

Five Tips To Creating Beautiful, Eye-Catching Lettering

As a creative company, us at Bigger Dot love what Skillshare is doing so when we saw our friends at Design Taxi did a write up on them we had to share! 

The best thing about calligraphed and hand-lettered notes is knowing that they were not simply generated by a computer. Every phrase inspires a personal feeling that brings to mind the process, effort, and care behind each product. 

If calligraphy or hand-lettering is a skill that you are looking to pick up in the new year, look no further! Skillshare has a wide range of classes with step-by-step instructions to get you started. Taught by skilled calligraphers and expert hand-lettering artists, these videos are full of tips and tricks that will make your learning process a breeze. Read on for five useful tips to creating beautiful lettered pieces. 


1. Get Acquainted With Your Materials. 

Calligrapher   Bryn Chernoff   show off a pointed nib

Calligrapher Bryn Chernoff show off a pointed nib

Designer Martina Flor displays the basic tools of calligraphy: translation tools with a broad or chiseled nib, and expansion tools with pointed nibs    

Designer Martina Flor displays the basic tools of calligraphy: translation tools with a broad or chiseled nib, and expansion tools with pointed nibs 

 

It’s easy for a first timer to feel a bit overwhelmed by the many materials available — from ink and paper to a wide variety of pens and nibs — but these classes make smart recommendations. In her class titled ‘Calligraphy I: Writing in Classic Modern Script’, Bryn Chernoff (of modern calligraphy studio Paperfinger) breaks down the two main types of nibs that you can use for modern calligraphy: pointed or chiseled. She also suggests using layout paper, which provides a smooth and slightly translucent surface for your work, so that you will not need to invest in a lightbox to review your handiwork. With nearly 2 hours of video lessons, her Skillshare class offers insights on how to use and clean pointed nibs, provides downloadable practice sheets for specific strokes, and offers a troubleshooting section to help you through common problems as you get used to your new materials. 

2. Practice Makes Perfect. 

Chernoff suggests practicing lines and shapes before building letters 

Chernoff suggests practicing lines and shapes before building letters 

Practicing the same stroke over again will help you get used to your tools   

Practicing the same stroke over again will help you get used to your tools 

As with any other skill, mastery comes with many hours of practice. Be patient with yourself. Even Chernoff mentions that her best work comes in the middle of her work day, once she’s had sufficient time to warm up her muscles. On top of practicing individual letters, strive towards creating a cohesive look by practicing a consistent slant, shape, and spacing between letters. The more you practice, the more confidence you will have to write in your chosen style. 

3. Train Your Typographic Eye. 

Observe your surroundings, and discover found typography in daily life   

Observe your surroundings, and discover found typography in daily life 

Letterer and designer Martina Flor suggests taking a walk around your city to observe and be inspired by the many existing examples of typography around you. In her class titled ‘The Golden Secrets of Hand-Lettering’, Flor provides valuable tips on analyzing the relationships between letters. By looking at various typographic examples — from signs on the street to street art — she shows how the design of one letter can inform how you draw the letters that follow. She also gives an in-depth look at letter design and the three basic shapes — rectangles, triangles, and circular shapes — that inform letterform design. 

4. Do Not Get Too Caught Up With Matching Styles Perfectly. 

Every piece of work can turn out different   

Every piece of work can turn out different 

The same tool can be used to create different styles   

The same tool can be used to create different styles 

As you begin practicing, you might be concerned that your letters should look exactly like those provided to you as examples, but it’s important to find your own style! Throughout her videos, Chernoff constantly speaks about how calligraphy and hand-lettering differs from individual to individual. Classes like ‘Calligraphy for Beginners’ by Jackson Alves and ‘Fundamentals for Drawing Letters’ by Andrea Campos are great to help beginners get started with fundamentals, but you should also remember to have fun and be spontaneous.

5. Do Not Be Afraid To Break The Rules And Go Beyond The Page. 

You can apply your lettering skills to spruce up everyday items   

You can apply your lettering skills to spruce up everyday items 

Joseph Alessio ’s class project is to turn an everyday object into a piece of hand-lettered art   

Joseph Alessio’s class project is to turn an everyday object into a piece of hand-lettered art 

Let your imagination run wild and go beyond practicing on paper! Try your hand at lettering on other objects and media. Typographic illustrator Joseph Alessio offers a Skillshare class that shows how you can use type and lettering to create a strong visual impact on multiple levels and products. His class ‘Drawing Letters, Making Art’ will inspire you as you learn how to create letterforms from scratch, opening yourself up to endless possibilities and experimentation. 

As an online learning community of over a million creatives worldwide, Skillshare offers a catalog of thousands of courses on a wide range of topics, including design, photography, and business. The team believes that “the future belongs to the curious”, and their classes and videos are a great way for you to get started on learning a skill from the comfort of your own home. 

By becoming a member of Skillshare, you gain access to more than 2,000 classes, tutorials, and workshops as well as an engaged community of learners and teachers from all around the world. 

 

Comment

Comment

Norwegian Agency Anti designs logo and identity based on Oslo's barcode skyline

My GIF

It's Nice That featured an amazing design company called Anti who designed a thoughtful visual identity for the series of waterfront high-rise buildings in Oslo, Norway collectively known as the Barcode. Stripping the skyline back to the bare minimum, the logo and adaptable identity scream of Scandinavian design principles.
Part of a controversial initiative to redevelop a section of the city’s docklands, the Barcode buildings, which break with the Norwegian capital’s low-rise city planning, were built to vary in size, shape and design so as to avoid obstructing views of the fjord. Echoing this, Anti’s abstract design makes use of simple lines that correspond to the heights of the different buildings. With its clean aesthetic and block capital, sans serif type, the identity’s multiple applications across print collateral, product design and installation all reflect the same sleekness as Oslo’s first skyscrapers.

My GIF
My GIF
barcode-int-3.jpg
My GIF

[source: itsnicethat, anti]

Comment

Comment

2015 Google Rebrand

Our review of the year continues with an interview with the team behind Google’s in-house rebrand.
When the UK woke up on the first of September 2015, the front page of the internet had changed and people were in a bit of a flap about it. It’s been quite a year for Google on many levels, the redesign preceded the announcement of a major restructuring and creating of Alphabet (of which Google would be a subsidiary) in October.
The new logo and identity has been designed to reflect the multitude of ways Google acts as portal to information. The designers began by distilling the Google identity down to its essence – four colours on a white background. The outcome, that caused seismic waves to career around the internet that autumn morning, was three elements: a new sans serifed logotype, the dots ‘A dynamic distillation of the logotype for interactive, assistive, and transitional moments,’ and the Google G, a compact version of the Google logo that works in small contexts.

It says something that we waited 16 years for this update. When the company name became a verb in the 2006 edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, it was confirmation that we had fully submitted to a digital future. 2015 became the year when Google reasserted its brand values in its visual presence and set a benchmark for digital companies looking to achieve the same. The project was a such a success as it retains everything that asserted the Google presence, but allowed the company to reflect its function and influence in a way that embraces, and anticipates, the exponential evolution of technology and the way we interact with information.

Below, we speak to Alex Cook, Jonathan Jarvis and Jonathan Lee, respectively from Google’s Search department, Creative Lab and Material Design.

What was your creative highlight of 2015?

ALL: Launching the new Google Logo. It’s a highmark for us in terms of craft and quality of execution, and it was a pretty great collaboration that we all learned from.

What was your lowlight of 2015?

ALL: (pointing at each other) working with these clowns.

What do you think are the markers of a good year creatively?

Jonathon Jarvis, Jonathan Lee, Alex Lee: a hit, a fail*, a mix – working on something formative and long term and working on something immediate that ships
*to learn from

Which piece of work from the last year has been your favourite to work on?

AC: Building up a native Android engineering team to design new experiences for Google Search and Maps.
JL: Material Design Award! It was fun to make a physical object and surprise developers for their great work.
JJ: The Androidify App!

Which piece of work from the last year do you feel has been most significant to your portfolio/career/company?

ALL: It’s a teeny tiny thing to most people, but updating Google’s identity and logo system was a really big, difficult project, so it’s definitely the most significant piece of work for us personally. It represents the collective effort of our teams, but also represents the work of thousands of Googlers, so it was a major priority to get it right for the future of our company and ultimately our users.

How has your work evolved over the last 12 months?

ALL: Serif to sans serif!
AC: learned so much from working with Creative Labs (Jonathan Jarvis) and Material Design (Jonathan Lee). My typical approach to design is to be a creative problem solver, but there are so many other ways a designer can look at the world: pioneer, storyteller, filmmaker or master craftsman.
JJ: Most of my projects these days start with the notion that we’ll be building something to work across a ton of different platforms: Android, browser, iOS, phone, watch, TV, auto, etc.
JL: I’ve been really encouraged to see design gain traction within Google, and the public’s positive reception of our work and thinking. I’ve been focusing on fostering that growth and connecting the two, a change for me, from just designing it.

What’s been the most important thing you’ve learnt in the last year?

JJ: I learned a lot about discipline through animating the Google dots. We wanted to do so many different things, but wound up cutting most of them. Ultimately, it was worth it because the simplicity made the system better than any individual or particularly cool animation.
JL: Set goals and hire amazing people, the rest will work itself out.
AC: Pixels are never the problem — implementation and execution are the hardest parts of the job.

1o1.jpg

Who has been the most influential creative for you in the last year?

JL: The Eames Office was a trending topic within our team this year. They possessed the ability to blend design with engineering, manufacturing, and democratic principles – all while being joyful, human and beautiful. The best, for the most, for the least.
AC: Definitely the design teams here at Google. We get to see so many inspiring things every day. 
JJ: My team and the designers here at Google. For real though!

Describe 2015 in five words.

All: Blue, red, yellow, green, white.

What are your hopes for 2016?

JJ: More dots, more motion, and more interactivity in the Google logo.
JL: More consistent, more expressive, and more Material.
AC: Same thing every year: a more beautiful Google.

Comment

Comment

The Grand Budapest Hotel graphic designer on designing for Wes Anderson

Anyone who’s seen Wes Anderson’s very pink, very stunning, and very, very meticulously created masterpiece The Grand Budapest Hotel will be aware of just how complex a setting it is. But until we heard from the movie’s graphic designer Annie Atkins at this year’s Offset festival about the painstaking processes the art department went through behind the scenes, the complexity we thought we understood turns out to be just the tip of a very, very deep graphic iceberg.
As graphic designer on the film, Annie’s role involved planning and creating every single item that would be designed in real life; so that’s the obvious things like packaging or newspapers, and the not so obvious things, like the pattern of a carpet. And as anyone aware of how Wes Anderson works will know, his are films characterized by creating another world. In the case ofThe Grand Budapest Hotel, that world is the fictional land of Zubrowka, and it’s a very beautiful one indeed.

Annie and the rest of the team were moved out to a remote area of Germany very near the Polish border for the duration of shooting time, where the art department was stationed on a mezzanine directly above the actors on set.

“Graphic design is at the bottom of the food chain in filmmaking. You always shoot according to the availability of the actors or the location.”

 

The first step for a graphic designer on a film, Annie explains, is to read the script, then highlight anything that might be your responsibility: usually one or two marks per page. On Budapest, however, she frequently found herself faced with pages that were almost entirely neon yellow. Then she creates a script breakdown of exactly what needs to be done, and in what order – not an easy task. “Graphic design is at the bottom of the food chain in filmmaking,” she says. “You always shoot according to the availability of the actors or the location.”

As such, creating the order for props becomes a logistical nightmare. "Continuity is the most tedious bit of working on a film, but people notice it if you get it wrong,” she says. “Graphics by their very nature are fragile, so we make six of everything. If something happens you can use another one but you have to make sure it’s identical. And if you’re working for Wes Anderson you have to make 30 or 40 of everything, as he might do that many takes.”

Even props nodded to in the script, though, are only seen for a couple of seconds: the intricate stamp designs by an illustrator commissioned especially for the task are barely visible. So why spend so much time on the graphics? "We’re not always designing for the cinema audience, sometimes it’s purely for the director and actors,” Annie explains. “Film sets don’t look like film sets – they’re full of lights and people standing round in North Face jackets drinking coffee so everything we can do to make the experience more authentic for the actors, we do it. We’re building this world brick by brick and if that means stamps, then that’s what it means.”

“We’re not always designing for the cinema audience, sometimes it’s purely for the director and actors.”


For names shown in shot, legal issues mean that to avoid having to use clearance lawyers a common film trick is to use names of crew members. So a cafe might be named after a cameraman, or a list of wanted criminals may well feature the names of a few runners or make-up artists.

Another fascinating revelation concerned the newspapers in The Grand Budapest Hotel, including The Trans Alpine YodelThe Daily Fact and The Continental Drift. For each paper, Wes Anderson wrote every single story, whether or not they were directly in shot, or anything at all to do with the film’s overall narrative. But authenticity, Annie insists, is everything: she even studied Hitler’s actual calling card to design a fascist character’s business card in the film.

On a more Art Attack level of advice, Annie advocates ageing paper using Barry’s tea bags: three for each ten years of age. She points out that even if the props in the film are new in the narrative, for a film set in the past the audience expects an “old” aesthetic.

But for all this authenticity, perhaps the most charming part of Annie’s talk came with the reassuring admission that even someone of her calibre can make a huge, embarrassing cock-up. The beautiful Mendl’s cake boxes seen countless times throughout the film – of which about 3000 were made – each bore one glaring error. She’s put two “t”s in patisserie, which were edited out in post-production.

“As graphic designers we have a responsibility to language and words and grammar as we work with it all the time. You have no copywriter or editor; you’re alone in film and no one else is watching out for that stuff for you.

“Everything in the film is there for a reason. Except the two ’t’s in patisserie.”


[words and photos via:  Its Nice That  and  Anne Atkins ]

[words and photos via: Its Nice That and Anne Atkins]

Comment