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 newspapers even though the papers would have been white originally.
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 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.
Often the graphic props we create are made to seamlessly blend in with the aesthetic of the set, so it’s always a treat to work on a prominently featured hero prop that has a full screen shot. Our latest hero prop to air was for the latest round of PayPal ads.
We were asked to create a vintage feeling French poster; drawing inspiration from classic Art Nouveau Posters. Typefaces in this movement are typically stylised so we where keen to reproduce this highly decorative style within our own design. The result being a poster that is familiar to the era yet unique in it’s own right.
We have been eagerly anticipating the arrival of Netflix’s brand new supernatural thriller The Innocents, which follows the story of teenage lovers Harry (Percelle Ascott) and June (Sorcha Groundsell) who run away from their repressive families to live together, only to find themselves navigating a strange and dangerous new world. Despite the Innocents being a supernatural drama, Acme was tasked with making prop graphics that were relatable in today’s world.
Among the long list of graphics props made for The Innocents were the animated sequences. A notable one shown in episode two is the online poker game, we created everything from characters to the interface and interactive animated elements.
It’s been a busy month here at Acme, amid the graphic prop requests we have been making animated computer sequences for film and TV. Having specialised in creating bespoke animations for mobiles, tablets and computers for many years, we have found ourselves creating them for a diverse range of productions.
We worked on the BBC’s adaptation of Zadie Smith’s acclaimed novel NW. NW tells the heart-breaking story of Natalie and Leah’s friendship and the different directions their lives have taken. Acme was tasked with creating all of the computer and tablet animations used by the actors, including a Facebook inspired screen graphic.
This animation was created as an interactive animated sequence that required us to design everything from the logo and tools to the interface. Simulating such a well-known program as Facebook is a balancing act between creating something that is instantly relatable and that does not infringe any copyright laws. A program such as Facebook would usually take a significant time to design, however working within this industry requires us to work within a tight timeframe, within budget whilst creating a program that is both believable and accessible.
Behind the scenes of every newsagent set are the countless graphic props. Acme was recently enlisted to recreate a variety of props used in the latest Eve Mattresses commercial. This devious commercial – directed by Madcow’s Greg Bray – tells the story of a couple who dupe an elderly women out of her lottery winnings, the tagline being; ‘How do they sleep at night?’.
The walls behind the shop owner are lined with over 100 magazines, designed, printed and mounted by Acme. Our extensive library of original Acme designed graphics allows us to easily create an authentic aesthetic for even the most graphically saturated sets.
We are often asked to create graphic visuals for agencies, bringing life to their creative concepts. Our latest work was for Oreo, we were briefed to recreate different Oreo packets with icing. Our visuals provided a creative template that was then recreated with real icing for the final shot in the advert.
We created a number of fun designs for different flavours, experimenting with techniques to mimic different styles of icing. This month, Oreo released the first in the series, the final shot being based on our ‘Birthday cake’ graphics.
We work on a diverse range of jobs here at Acme; anything from a vintage prop cigarette case for a period drama to a crest for an international campaign. Our recent graphic props for the latest Urban Myths episode – aired on Sky Arts – has to be one of our favourites. ‘Urban Myths: Sex Pistols vs. Bill Grandy’ tells the reimagined story behind The Sex Pistols’ infamous appearance on Bill Grundy’s show in 1976.
We recreated a variety of graphics, one being the 3D patterned flats seen in the studio background of the notorious interview. We created the vector graphics that were then used by a CNC router, this created an almost identical replica of the original. In addition to creating signage and logo’s we also recreated posters and newspapers using original archived imagery.
Another day, another advert aired featuring Acme artwork. This time, Acme was asked to make a number of different props for the latest round of HSBC commercials, including some hero props. HSBC’s latest commercials are fronted by Comedian Richard Ayoade, who lends his classic dry humour to the world of banking.
Some of the hero props requested included an array of bank cards, these were a combination of specifically designed cards for HSBC and pre-existing cards taken from Acme’s extensive library of artwork. With over 20 years of experience in Film and TV, Acme have accumulated a vast library of artwork ready and waiting for any of your productions needs.