Production designer

Production designer

Production designer is a term used in the movie and television industries to refer to the person responsible for the overall look of a filmed event such as films, TV programs, music videos or adverts. Production Designers have one of the key creative roles in the creation of motion pictures and television. Working directly with the director and producer, they must select the settings and style to visually tell the story.

From early in pre-production, the production designer collaborates with the director and director of photography to establish the visual feel and specific aesthetic needs of the project. The production designer guides key personnel in other departments such as the costume designer, the key hair and make-up stylists, the special effects director and the locations manager (among others) to establish a unified visual appearance to the film.

The “art department” is a group of people who work with the production designer to implement the scenic elements of that vision. The art director supervises set construction and painting, as well as modifications to existing locations, such as changing signs or installing new carpet. An art director has a myriad of specialists reporting to them including Construction department which includes carpenters, painters, plasterers, riggers and other trades, Propmakers, greensmen (landscapers), sign painters, and scenic artists. A production illustrator, such as Mentor Huebner, provides pre-production concept art and storyboards. The set decorator, often someone with experience in interior decoration, finds decorative items for the sets such as furniture, wallpaper, knick-knacks and lighting fixtures. Working under the decorator are buyers, as well as a crew of set dressers who bring the items to the set, arrange furniture, hang curtains and “dress” the set. A property master coordinates with the production designer, but also works closely with the director and actors to provide the items handled directly by the actors such as newspapers, weapons, musical instruments and food. For the most part, the prop crew, along with an on-set dresser, maintain the integrity of the production designer's vision during the shoot and manipulate the items for the camera.

The term was created in 1939 out of respect for the amount and level of design work single-handedly accomplished by William Cameron Menzies on the film "Gone with the Wind". Previously, and often subsequently, the person(s) with the same responsibility had been called "art directors." [cite book | last=Preston | first=Ward | title=What an Art Director Does | publisher=Silman-James Press | date=1994 | pages=150 | isbn=1-879505-18-5]

Some of the crew who work in the art department under the production designer include:
*art director
**assistant art director
*set designer (draughtsman)
*set decorator
*costume designer
*property master
*concept illustrator
*graphic designer
*model maker

Societies and trade organizations

*In the United States, production designers are represented by IATSE Local [ 800] ; the Art Directors Guild. In Canada Production Designers are represented by The Director's Guild of Canada, Except in British Columbia where they are represented by IATSE.

*British Film Designers Guild B.F.D.G.

Noted motion picture production designers

* Ken Adam ("Chitty Chitty Bang Bang", "The Spy Who Loved Me", "Barry Lyndon")
* John Barry (set designer) (', ', "Superman")
* John Box, 1920 - 2005 ("Lawrence of Arabia", "Doctor Zhivago")
* Robert F. Boyle ("North by Northwest", "The Birds", "Fiddler on the Roof")
* Stuart Craig ("Gandhi", "The English Patient", "Harry Potter")
* Guy Hendrix Dyas ("Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull", "Superman Returns", "")
* Ralph Eggleston ("Toy Story", "Finding Nemo", "WALL-E")
* Jack Fisk ("Eraserhead", "Days of Heaven", "There Will Be Blood")
* Dante Ferretti ("The Aviator", "", " (1994 film)", "Kundun")
* Anton Furst ("Batman", "Full Metal Jacket")
* Cedric Gibbons, 1893 - 1960 ("The Wizard of Oz," "Ben Hur")
* David Hackl ("Saw II", "Saw III", "Saw IV")
* Rick Heinrichs ("Sleepy Hollow", "Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events")
* Peter Lamont ("Titanic")
* Grant Major ("The Lord of the Rings")
* Alex McDowell ("Charlie and the Chocolate Factory", "Corpse Bride", "Minority Report", "The Terminal")
* William Cameron Menzies, 1896 - 1957 ("Gone with the Wind")
* Van Nest Polglase, 1898 - 1968 ("Citizen Kane")
* Barry Robison (, Nim's Island, You, Me and Dupree, Rendition, Wedding Crashers, Hidalgo)
* Dean Tavoularis ("The Godfather", "Apocalypse Now")
* Anton Weber, 1904 - 1979 (UFA - "La Habanera", "Unter den Brücken")
* Bo Welch ("Beetlejuice", "Edward Scissorhands", "Batman Returns", "Men in Black")
* Carl Jules Weyl, 1890 - 1948 ("Casablanca")

See also

*Academy Award for Best Art Direction


* Hans-Jürgen Tast (ed.) "ANTON WEBER (1904-1979) - Filmarchitekt bei der UFA" (Schellerten 2005) ISBN 3-88842-030-X;

External links

* [ Art Directors Guild, IATSE Local 800] Union local representing Art Directors and Production Designers.
* [ ADG Art Direction Wiki] Online community and knowledgebase relating to new and classic technologies relevant to the art of film design
* [ British Film Designers Guild] A society of British Film Directors and Designers was founded in 1946, for the betterment of the Design in British Films.
* [ The Austrian Filmdesigners Association] represents Production Designers, Art Directors, Costume Designers, Props Masters, Set Decorators and their assistants in Austria (VÖF - Verband Österreichischer FilmausstatterInnen).
* []

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