We have been eagerly anticipating channel 4’s latest comedy Year of the Rabbit. This spoof police drama is set in Victorian times and stars Bafta winner Matt Berry as the unlikely East End detective. The Victorian-themed set required period graphics to set the scene and Acme graphics was on hand throughout production and filming, we created everything from matchboxes to signage.
The graphics we designed and made can be seen throughout the six-part series however, it’s episode two that showcases the majority of our hero designs. The episode centers on the case of the mysteries killer who takes the guise of the Brick Man. We received great visuals from one of the writers Andy Riley and used these as the starting point, every aspect of the hero posters was considered from the typography to the colours. As the plot develops, Brickman and subsequently the graphics take on a new sinister transformation. Additionally, we created supporting graphics including the human size Brick Man outline, signage and vintage style photographs.
Acme were once again asked to create Hero Props for the Emmy-nominated comedy anthology series Urban Myths. Last season we worked on the ‘Sex Pistols vs. Bill Grundy’ episode, based on the infamous Bill Grundy interview on the Today programme, this season saw us design and make props for the ‘Paul McCartney’ episode which explores the story behind one of their greatest hits: ‘Yesterday’.
Some of the props were created to support the plot, whilst others were recreated from iconic images which included vintage signs based on a photograph that depicts Jane Asher smoking in the doorway of her room in the early 1960s. Among the signage and magazines, we also designed and made the vintage record sleeves including the hero Bobbie Skiffle record prop. This hero prop was pivotal in illustrating the influence Skiffle music had on the Beatles in the early days of their careers.
Timewasters are back for a second season, this time around, the South London jazz band have time-traveled back to the 1950s. Acme were tasked with creating two hero props, the first showcased in Episode 4. This episode centres around Horace’s private diary that is found and published. We designed the prop book cover that is heavily featured throughout the episode.
This book cover was inspired by sci-fi book covers of the era. Every aspect of the prop was considered including colour, composition and typography. The colour scheme is in keeping with the vibrant classic sci-fi covers of the 1950s, bearing in mind the presence of the atomic age, atoms feature in the background of our design.
Graphic props are a great way of adding historical context to a production. Vintage Graphic props are one of our favorite requests; we have designed all kinds including newspapers, posters, signage, and labels. We have worked on some great projects including the ‘League of Gentlemen’ and most recently Channel 4’s ‘Year of the Rabbit’. The devil is in the detail and historical props are no exception, we take great care to reference authentic sources and techniques.
Period props are often a balancing act between authenticity and the expectations of the audience. There are a number of different ways we age our props, both physically and digitally. For example, often we use aged, slightly discoloured paper for our periodvintage newspaper props even though the papers would have been white originally.
In the past 20 years, the world has adopted digital and mobile devices for most of it’s ‘non-voice’ communications, and that has been reflected in film and television storytelling. Interactive Screen Graphics is a relatively new area for art departments to commission, but something Acme has been creating for most of the digital revolution era.
The use of bespoke designed interfaces and applications are becoming more common on screen, while also being used a crucial storytelling mechanism to quickly and affordably communicate essential plot points and information to the audience.
Motivated by storytelling, Acme’s approach assists and drives the narrative, action and character from the concept stage to implementation, we can provide technical and original screen graphics for producing and playing-back high-quality imagery onto computer, video and devices.
We provide such graphics as, Text Message Applications, User Interfaces (UI), HUD Display, Websites, Map Applications, Computer Software, Operating Systems to play on devices such as Smartphones, Computer Screen, UI, HUD Display, Multi-Screen Control Rooms.
We are used to a variety of weird and wonderful requests here at Acme, the latest being for Mitsubishi who’s ‘mockumentary’ style advert promotes the ASX model and takes place in the ‘Overworked Human Sanctuary’. Whilst showcasing the capabilities of the ASX the focus is on the rehabilitation of Colin the overworked Accountant.
We created parodies of all the signage you would expect to see in an animal sanctuary such as feeding schedules, warning signs and logos. The location signs were printed on vinyl with a waterproof laminate, the effect of wear and tear like many of our props were created graphically, giving the Art Director greater control over the final finish.
One of our many Christmas projects last year included Sky One’s Christmas comedy ‘The Queen and I’. Based on Sue Townsend’s 1992 novel, ‘The Queen and I’ it tells the fictional story of the royal family who are dismantled and forced to live a normal life after the Republican Party win the general election. This was a great project to work on, highlights included creating graphics for a new currency and political party.
The monarchy’s fall means the circulation of a new currency is devoid of the Queen. In her place, the new currency aptly features Walter ‘Wat’ Tyler, leader of the 1381 Peasants Revolt in England and the The Tolpuddle Martyrs known for changing the face of workers rights. The prop bank notes even have silver foiled details and a hologram effect.
Prop newspapers are often used as story telling devices and ‘The Queen and I’ was no exception. Our newspapers where used throughout the film, the newspapers used were a combination of bespoke designs and also from our library of artwork.
The latest drop of QuickBook Adverts has arrived. Acme were tasked with creating a number of different props for a diverse range of workplace related sets. This series of adverts required over 500 individual prints, including a graphically saturated tattoo shop. The need for neon art visuals has proved a popular request this year, this visual was inspired by Tracey Emin’s works of art.
The Dog Parlour required original, copyright free Artwork that had a very specific colour palette. The Pop Art inspired prints used for QuickBooks are part of our own diverse library of artwork which is available for hire.
The annual flurry of Christmas adverts always signifies the start of the festive season. For Acme, Christmas always arrives early, usually around mid summer and this year was no exception. We have been busy making graphic props for several different Christmas commercials including Boots, Heathrow, Next and Burberry.
This sentimental advert tells the story of a mother-daughter relationship through the eyes of the daughter. For Boots we made a number of graphic props, including the Hero magazine that features the glamorous hair do that the mother tries and fails to replicate.
One of America’s biggest brands TJX – the company that owns T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and Home Goods, came to London to film their series of Christmas commercials. The commercials use a first person point of view and focus on different Christmas lists. Unusually, the floor provides the backdrop; we were commissioned to design the bespoke tiles featured throughout the series.
The well-known Heathrow bears are back. As well as creating graphics fit for a bears fridge we also made graphics for the airport including some bear sized luggage tags.
On Saturday our latest crop of graphic props were showcased on ‘Inside No.9’s’ live Halloween special. The award winning series famed for it’s dark humour, produced a unique episode full of surprising twists and thrills.
The episode begins with Pemberton’s character returning home to Flat No.9. A number of Acme props and graphics were used in this sequence including all of the food packaging. Bread packaging is often a prop that art directors are wary of using; however we have mastered the art of creating a realistic prop that would not look out of place at your local supermarket.
Along with all the food packaging we made a number of signs; everything from the brushed aluminium signage, to the large vinyl lettering.