Wes Anderson, props and a game of Tetris

D&AD Festival

Organised annually this creative festival celebrates the best of design and advertising. Filled with talks, exhibitions, pop ups and workshops this 3-day event is a real treat for anyone who loves design.

This year was a bit of a crazy run for me juggling work and the festival, but I still managed to attend some of the talks and see the exhibition. Here are my highlights from the festival (coming in next posts).


Designing for Wes Anderson’s Isle of dogs

Amazing talk with the film’s lead graphic designer Erica Dorn led by Racheal Steven from Creative Review. Erica is a London based graphic designer, illustrator, art director and LCC graduate (yeeey!). It was her first time working on a film set and what a start it was. The stop-motion animation production took 2 years and thousands of props. Erica gave us a little sneak peek on the production of some of them. As we all know Wes Anderson is one of the most demanding and detail focused directors so imagine the pressure of bringing his vision to life. Each scene consisted of a set model, props and puppets. The sets are built in 3 sizes (small, medium, large) to allow for more camera manipulation and the different level of details shown. Same goes to the puppets. All of the posters you see on the walls, product packaging on the shelves, street signing and even newspaper articles were carefully designed. You will not find any Lorem Ipsum in this animation. Leading a team of designers Erica was working with the puppet designers, set designers, painters and countless other creatives to bring us back into the future to the Isle of dogs.


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Her usual day would start at 8am with never ending list of props to create. She had to make the designs required for the scenes that were filmed at the moment and for the ones planned ahead. “It was about going down a list of tasks, but because the list kept growing the name of the game was to knock stuff off it faster than it was being added.” She laughs saying that her work was like a game of Tetris. Every work had to be approved by Wes and it did not matter how long it will actually be shown on the screen at the end or how small it will be. This is one of the reasons why his movies are so brilliant and beautiful in the first place so I must say I was not surprised when she told us that.

It was amazing to see the behind the scenes which included script pictures, sketches and multiple props. I was especially glad to see them since I missed the exhibition last month (*@#$). Erica did not say what she will do next (coz where do you really go from there?) but she did say that she would like to work at another movie production.

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