How Young Designers Can Take a Page Out of Wes Anderson’s Playbook

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From the whimsical feel of Moonrise Kingdom to the detail-rich sets in The Grand Budapest Hotel and interesting color palettes of The Royal Tenenbaums, Wes Anderson’s films are visual masterpieces. His films have distinct visual artistry; one look at any scene will tell you it’s a Wes Anderson movie. He isn’t just a design-conscious filmmaker—he’s an auteur.

Whether you’re a budding video content creator, stylist, or UX designer, you will learn a lot from Anderson. Here are some of Anderson’s techniques and practices you can use in your creative processes.

Attention to detail

Anderson is the personification of the phrase “attention to detail” to the extent that he has been dubbed as the most meticulous filmmaker alive. His attention to detail is evident from his set designs to color palettes and fonts or typography. For instance, in The Grand Budapest Hotel, Anderson, along with graphic designer Annie Atkins, procured a 1930s typewriter to create all the typewritten visuals. He goes to great lengths to achieve a certain look.
Your attention to detail is a powerful way to show your love for the end product. Whether you’re a web designer, set stylist, or car designer, your work’s tiniest specifics greatly matter. They can be the difference between a product that engages consumers and a product that turns out to be a flop a week after its release.

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World-building coupled with research

Anderson’s childish ability to imagine and build a unique world even in a realistic context is evident in The Darjeeling Limited, Moonrise Kingdom, The Royal Tenenbaums, and Rushmore. But this creative process always requires research. Anderson and his set designers would scout striking locations, read about those places, and insert photographs of those locations into the scripts for visual reference.

Any design starts with a vision, but this vision won’t turn into reality without research guiding every decision. If you’re a set designer for photoshoots, you can’t just place any flower in the set. Instead, find a modern florist who knows how a particular flower can help define a look, era, or backdrop for the world you’re trying to build. The same goes for app designers. Studying behavioral patterns, human motivations, and pain points can help create a revolutionary app.

Consistency is key

One thing that solidifies Wes Anderson as an auteur is his consistency in color palettes, symmetry, and visual composition. Every frame is often highly saturated, creating a dream-like or storybook-like feel that helps with the storytelling.

Take a page out of Anderson’s playbook by achieving consistency in your design. Using well-balanced layouts for every page of your website helps achieve visual order that brings attention to calls-to-action and other important visual cues. Consistency in colors and typography of logo, website, and product packaging creates a cohesive look for a brand. It helps improve brand recognition across multiple platforms and convey brand messaging that’s not easy to forget—like Wes Anderson’s films. ​
Using consistently stunning visual imagery, Wes Anderson grabs every moviegoer’s attention and tells them a compelling story. That’s something young designers can emulate in every work they do.

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