Month: February 2016

Visual Learning – Art Deco


Title Sequence Part 1: The Hunt For Red October.


For this project I aim to produce a Title Sequence to an already released movie. I intend to pull together a mixture of still elements, titles & music and will utilise Adobe Photoshop & Premier Pro to lay out a sequence where the elements interact to represent the chosen movie.

In preparation I have looked at a number of designers who have done similar work. The first of which is Saul Bass. You can find a number of his works here. He always seemed to bring an element of the “hand made” into his work. Weather it was making the elements used in the sequence or the treatment of the typography. He set the standard for a lot of people in terms of elements & the playfulness used.

One pair of designers who were definitely influenced by Saul Bass is  Kuntzel + Deygas who designed the titles for the Di Caprio/Hanks movie “Catch Me If You Can.” They used a totally hand made set, making stamps of the characters with different body parts to suit different parts of the title. They created an ever evolving scene of cat & mouse using the characters & perceived shadows to add a real sense of drama to the title sequence, almost a summation of the movies drama & suspense rolled into one short sequence.

The traditional look of the stamps overlaid on the high colour backgrounds blends the artistic hand made look with a modern feel.

It has to be one of my favourite sequences & I have used it as inspiration for my chosen movie titles.

I also looked at the title sequence for The West Wing which won an Emey for Outstanding Main Title Design for Billy Pittard (creative director) and Mark Johnston (title designer), who has a very interesting interview here.

Kyle Cooper has worked on many huge blockbusting productions from Dreamcatcher, The Walking Dead, Metal Gear Solid & Twister. His style encompasses a whole range of fields from using video clips overlaid with titles to purely animation for Metal Gear Solid which was very bond like in it opening titles.

His work on some of the more dramatic & horror style movies fits perfectly with the genre as his treatment of the video clips is very edgy. Constant movement, never staying for long on each image & very quick, non static titles leaves you unsettled and ready to be scared out of your wits.

This title sequence designed by French designers Alexis Beaumont & Michel Pecquer is a mixture of video & animation. They us an animated computer style font that fits very well with the comic book style of the animation.

Some of the titles I have selected for consideration are Sneakers, Cape Fear and The Hunt for Red October. I have looked at numerous examples of title sequence creation & design and they are listed at the bottom of this post, but one of them turned out to be a really cool stop motion movie charting the history of war or the second world war at least. Its called Food Fights & you can find it here. Food Fight

After a little research I found some information on the various video  sizes & output qualities along with some other useful information. ( Standard video sizes. ) Also some useful information on controlling movement using tweening. ( TWEENING )

As preparation for this project we created in class a short sequence using 2 short video clips, audio and a vector shape. To become familiar with the use of Premier Pro we placed these elements on a timeline & used effects such as transitions & motion to give it a bit of life.

My clip can be found here. ( I used a close up view of the face to create a slightly sinister feel 🙂 )

After fleshing through a number of ideas for titles I decided to run with The Hunt For Red October as this is probably one of my favourite movies. I came up with a rough sequence of the events that I would like to see in my Title, then sketched out a very rough storyboard of how I wanted it to come together.

I then set about gathering my graphical elements, using the storyboards as a guide. Elements include Images for ships & submarines, depth charges, the Russian Hammer & Sickle  symbol, and a shoreline image. I also needed to create some coloured backgrounds. I created these & edited my other Graphics in Photoshop.

Once I had most of my elements together I experimented with Photoshop to see if I could put together a very simple sequence, which also helped me to solidify my ideas for the final Title sequence. The result can be found here.

I have looked at a number of the titles in my research to see the differing approaches to credits etc. For instance, The West Wing uses a series of very quick titles overlaying very short  motion clips  & images. Its a very upbeat & engaging result. However the titles in Catch Me If You Can are a lot slower & are weaved in to the storyline of the sequence, as part of the evolving scenes. The designers did not feel a need to rush the titles and were not afraid to leave a longer gap between them here or there.

I also looked at the styling of the font used in the titles. While the type used could often vary a lot between them, the majority of them were produced in white. This affected my final descision for my own type as you will see later on. I had originally used red due to it’s association with Russia but this didn’t stand out from my imagery very well so I decided to use white. I did however find a new font released by Russian designers very recently called Arkhip.

Where I had originally used the font “RedOctober” which looked very Russian, Arkhip had a much more subtle look to it while still having the feel that I wanted.

Some of the techniques I used in making my Title included Motion, both simple & using a bezier curve, blending of layers and the use of video transitions such as fading in & out.

I changed the fade filter from 2 seconds to about 5 so that it would give the title a more ponderous & momentous feel.

I also used the image of the coastline only across the top third of the scene to preserve the tones on the lower 2 thirds. I also dropped its transparency to about 60% to give it a misty feeling.

Lastly, when I first output my sequence it was aprox 1.2 GB in size which seemed to be much too large for our purposes so I reduced the bit rate down from 8000kbs to 4000kbs and rendered it as a Windows Media File. This brought my file size down to about 80MB which is much more acceptable. The screen quality does not seem to have been badly affected until viewed at full screen.


Self critique.

There are obviously a lot of things that I could improve upon with this title, and have done with my Stop Motion Title Sequence Part 2. Here are just a few.

The Graphics: The graphics are very basic & would not be suitable for a production in the real world. However my main focus with this project was to create a suitable interaction between the elements which I believe I have achieved.

Duration: In terms of the duration of my Title Sequence, at 5 min long it is a good bit longer than you would normally find in a movie title (perhaps about 3min 30sec), however, given I had chosen the music and the fact that I wanted it to create a ponderous solemn feeling I decided to use almost the full length of the theme. There are perhaps 1 or 2 sections where the pause between credits could be shortened.

Typography: The font I had used initially was “RedOctober” in red, and while this is designed to have a very Russian look to it I found a much more modest looking font created by a Russian designer. I changed to the new font but also changed the colour to white as the red was blending in with the background a little too much.

Website Embed: When I first embedded the title into my portfolio website I had an issue with the you tube area not resizing. I managed to solve this by placing a small amount of Css code into the Css file. I found the code here.

Lastly: My final sequence has a line running along the right hand side of the screen which I have been unable to remove. This is a problem whether I use the 8000kbs or 4000kbs quality. I have checked the forums & it seems to be an ongoing issue. The solution is quite a long winded workaround where you create a larger image area time line, create your sequence, then output your sequence into the smaller, original timeline. Phew.





Dominos sequence for the start of Sneakers. Beat up dominos scrolling across the screen.

Backlit character movement on a light box. ???

I like the look of Cape Fear.

Casino – Letters & Numbers raining down. Perhaps…..Sneakers.



Kuntzel + Deygas.

A mixture of video & animation.

Marko Polo Title

Saul Bass title sequences.

Sneakers – Playtronics Break in

Casino Royal

Smashing Mag 50 Stop motion Titles.


Food Fight


Editing tweening controls.

Easing in & Out with Motion.

Neon Text

Standard video sizes.


Editing tutorials.

Butlers Packaging

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The purpose of this project is to create an art period inspired packaging design for Butlers Chocolates. A design will be made for both a box of chocolates & a 100g bar of chocolate.

It is my intention to create packaging for a new “Vintage Range” of chocolate based on the period of Art Deco Style, with the design linking all products within the range.

You can also view this finished project on Behance

Research on Butlers Chocolates

Butlers chocolates was founded in Dublin’s Lad Lane in 1932 when Ms.Marion Butler finally realised her ambition to create “Little moments of happiness”.  In 1959 Mr Sheamus Sorenson bought the company which continues to be run as a family producer of fine chocolates.

Today Butlers is located in a purpose built premises and while it has outlets in countries around the world they all supply chocolate that has come from this one location.

As a supplier of luxurious chocolate butlers has a limited number of direct competitors. Rather than the likes of Cadburys or Nestle who produce mainstream chocolate bars & snacks, Butlers main competitors would include the likes of Lily O’Briens, Lindt, Lir, Skelligs & Chez Emily who all produce for the luxury personal & corporate gift markets.

Butlers produce very fine luxury chocolate & have positioned themselves to be seen as the only choice for gifts either personal or corporate.

I have completed a design brief for this project which can be found here – Butlers Design Brief.

This brief is intended as a guidance to my research & design, I will be referring to it regularly but it may very well change during the process.

Research on Chocolate Products on Display

I had a close look at a number of displays where other brands had similar sized products to see how they were marketed. I found a number that were very similar in size & also in design to Butlers. Most were displayed in upright format to conserve space on the shelf. They almost all used bright colours that screamed “Pick Me”, and most of them also had some kind of gold or silver foiling on the wrapper.

I thought that the need to make the packaging more “BLING” lessened the perceived value of the product. For this reason I decided not to use foiling of any kind.

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Market research

Is there a story behind the product.? Yes, this product has its origins in Dublin at a time when the country was really becoming aware of the world around it and the styles of that time. Dublin in the early 1930’s was starting to bustle with the styles of the UK, Europe & the USA & the Art Deco movement was gaining momentum in many areas of design.

Why was the product created. The founder of the company, Ms. Bailey-Butler believed there was a market for a luxury confectionery.

What message do I want to give Shoppers.? I want their first instant impression to be one of quality & style.

In 3 words, how does this package make me feel.? Quality. Mystique. Desire.

Why would someone buy this product.? As an indulgent treat, a deserved extravagance.

Main differences between this products & others on the market.? Remains true to the original ideals of the founder. Locally produced luxury product. Unique traditional recipe.

Target Market.? 25 year old demographic. Corporate & personal gifting market.


  1. Lilly O’Briens
  2. Lir Chocolates,
  3. The Irish Chocolate Company,
  4. Celtic Chocolates,
  5. Chocca Mocca,
  6. Skelligs Chocolates,
  7. Torc Truffles,
  8. Druid Chocolates.
  9. Ferrero Rocher

5 Claims. Traditional recipe. Irish made for Irish tastes. Locally made. Supports local employment. Wholly Irish product. Irish style & mystique. Butlers Chocolate – Its good for the soul.



Choosing my Art Period Style.

I looked at a number of styles from which to take my inspiration for my designs. They included Art Nouveau, Art Deco & Swiss International style. However, as my intention was to create a design that would communicate quality I felt that I could achieve a more effective result using inspiration from the Art Deco period.

The Swiss Style, being very structured & considered, speaks to a more logical side of the brain. However, I don’t believe it is the logical side of the brain that convinces us to buy chocolates even though we know we probably shouldn’t. Its the more aspirational & creative side that convinces us & says “Go on, you know you want to…”.

The Swiss Style just wasn’t suitable for selling a luxury confectionery.

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I looked at different types of die cut layouts for my box & settled on an existing box from Butlers. I measured each dimension & created my own die cut layout. I also took the measurements from the 100g bar packaging to layout my design for my bar.

Other options for chocolate box.








When first discussing Die Cuts, we printed one of a simple box, cut it out & assembled it to get a feel for how they worked & see what kinds of things need to be considered when working with them.

Practice Die Cut box.
Practice Die Cut box.



20160107_145025We also practiced creating textures & frames for use on this project. While I didn’t end up using any of these they did get me thinking about using patterns in my design & sourcing them from different places.


Some of the patterns created using tools like a roller, brush, wire, comb,bubble wrap & other bits & pieces.

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Some of the colour pallets & patterns I took my inspiration from.

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In choosing the colour palette for this project I decided to stay close to a traditional colour such as brown. The clients logo is often reproduced in a yellow/gold colour & I felt the brown would compliment this nicely. Also, a rich brown has a feeling of comfort or luxury.




Early Design Concepts.

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I looked at alternative design concepts for my packaging, including the use of some Art Deco elements such as the Shell. I also looked at using thick borders or bars as used in both Art Deco & Swiss International style. The borders & the geometric shapes are also suggestive of the Swiss Style.

I also looked at the use of fruit on my design but felt this was an element which has been used in packaging too frequently & I wanted to make my packaging stand out for its differences rather than blend in for its similarities.





I did try different colour schemes on my first design, the 100g bar, and while some of them look really nice & might work well as a range, I felt that they wouldn’t work as well on the box. As this project was to create a Vintage Range including both the box & the bar I decided to stick with the one unified colour & design theme for both.

The different colour options for the 100g bar.

My inspiration for the design came from the art deco period as referenced in the images in the slide show above. The darker richer colours combined with the dynamic, almost Swiss like lines creating pattern & leading lines. Also, the use of Art Deco elements such as the Shell & the Sun Burst gave a very Art Deco look to the design.

I chose the typeface Bifur for the sub logo, placed below the main logo. I don’t think there is another typeface that says Art Deco more than this one.


When putting the box together I found it quite difficult trimming to a clean edge. I also found that the paper the design was printed on was very light weight which didn’t stand up to very much handling at all. It also wouldn’t keep it’s shape.

I overcame this problem by laminating a second sheet under the design before trimming, then when it was cut out the design held its shape much better. I was able to get a much cleaner & stronger fold where needed, resulting in a much cleaner looking finished product.

Product Shoot.

Once the packaging had been assembled I set up a small light tent & 2 lights. I placed a roll of white paper inside the light tent to create a type of rollarama which would give a very clean look to the backdrop, so no lines at the back of the products to be edited out.

I shot in raw format & edited the images for exposure & colour balance, though I didn’t have very much that needed to be done to them as I managed to get them very close to how I wanted them to look in camera. I find this is always the best approach as it cuts down on the amount of editing time post shoot.

I shot a number of images, some just very straight up pack shot style, another with a lot of room around the product with the intention of using them in an advertisement as I will show on my presentation board.

100g Bar Back
Box, Back
Box, Front
100g Bar, Front







Final Presentation Display.

Here I have laid out a presentation board containing each of the 2 final designs, along with the font & colour palette used.

I have also placed the images in the format of a possible advertisement to give the viewer an idea of how they might look in use.



Presentation Layout
Final Design Presentation & Advert.

Presentation Layout Low Res-2Two possible uses for the packaging in advertisements.

Butlers Add 2 Low
100g Bar Advert.
Butlers Add 1 Low
Chocolate Box Advert.






Critical Review.

I think the packaging design does communicate a sense of quality & style, but the end product is perhaps a little flat in its final look. Its possible that the colour scheme is a little too dark, however, the use of a Pantone gold in the Butlers logo would certainly lift the look & visual quality of the product.

I am also aware that the majority (Not all) of Butlers packaging tends to have a ribbon or bow on it, I made the conscious decision not to put one on my design as I felt it would take away from the finished look.



Writing a design brief. David Airey

Packaging Die Lines

Bar code Generator

Halftone Printing

Popular Packaging fonts

The Guardian on Art Deco in Britain. – The design work is very important because, as Bord Bia research has shown, imaging and packaging are vital in the luxury chocolate sector. “Consumers need to feel that what they are buying is special and exclusive,” she said.