Waxwing

The first blossom brings Spring’s gentle warning.

Waxwing is the story of an extraordinary day in a young birdwatcher’s life that is charged with both magic and fear. Set in the curious beauty of the wilderness that exists on the boundary of city and country and on the cusp of Winter and Spring. It explores the awkward negotiations that children navigate between themselves and the adults that surround them.

Challenge

I was given a unique opportunity to work with a film director on such a powerful film. My challenge was to create a space that promoted the film and allowed people to be engrossed inside its beauty.

Tim's universe

I really wanted to get inside the mind of the Director/Creator of the film. We had a couple of drinks at various pubs and I grew to know him well. He reminded me of Spike Lee, so many ideas and so little time. I decided the best way to comprehend Waxwing was to place Tim at the centre of his own universe.

tims universe drawing

Design

I had a huge role to play in the project. The design – the development there was a lot to contend with. I do enjoy these Kung Fu style journeys across the wilderness of the digital forestry though. I knew with so much amazing talent involved, I could make something special of what was presented to me.

I began the whole process by going through the mood boards, the photography and the script. Watching the film over and over again and listening to the music till I was fully engrossed in the whole thing. Only then could I really understand the entirety of what the film was about.

Typography

I wanted to find a font that matched the quirks and fire of the film. The boy in the film seemed educated beyond his years and into his books. I came across Goudy Bookletter 1911 – the character of the type face felt like a good fit with what he would most likely see in the books he read.

waxwing-Typography sheet

Colours

As I flicked through the film’s mood boards and behind the scenes shots, I got a real sense for the transitional from Winter to Spring – such a colourful process, but I purposely picked muted colours that almost gravitated towards the darkness in the film.

waxwing colours sheet

Sketchy concepts

With the aid of my trusty cosmonaut pen, I threw myself into the deep-end and came up with three concepts based on three very different approaches.

Grid system

Once I figured how the website would look I gave myself a practical grid, as the designs were so different.

waxwing grid sheet

a unique opportunity to work with a film director on a such powerful film

Concepts

I began my journey into conceptual land – with a clear mind I set off using the rough sketches I had done as the basis.

The Book

This design was moulded around the idea of a classical book about the Waxwing bird. From the textures of the book, typography and imagery you almost felt the authenticity. With each page turn, you learn more about the bird and the film. It was about highlighting those individual elements that surfaced the fragile nature of the boy and his curiosity of life.

concept book

Moments

A concept about those frozen compositions of the boy’s obsessions. I felt like the small artistic treatments helped bring out the inquisitiveness found within his mind – applying them further connected the film and site.

concept moments

The Standard

This was my backup plan – like every designer you have one in your pocket just in case you get a “No no no…” from the client. People might have the tendency to feel comfort with what they are familiar with, and this is the familiar standard I believe.

concept standard

 

Luckily, Tim was so happy with all the designs. We discussed the many pros and cons of each and settled on the book concept. It gave the right twist to an already interesting film.

Final design

Examples of the various templates for the book, trailer and about us pages.

Fin

Looking back I feel like we created a simple, yet meaningful experience – connecting the audience in a story telling manner. While following the ideology of the film through to the site in the poetic way it was first intended.

Credits

Company

  • Tim Mercier
  • Film

Devices

  • Computer
  • Mobile
  • Tablet

Roles

Art Direction
Web Design
Front End Development