A great plot and story create a good film. But we also need to remember that a film or a movie would not be complete without its visual elements. These visual elements help viewers to be engaged in the world of the film. The scope of the visual elements in a film is called production design. 

As visual elements are very important for film production, production design becomes a key for a film to succeed for several reasons. In this article, we will discuss production design and the reasons why it is essential. Without further ado, let’s get to it. 

What is Production Design?

Production design is a team of creatives in production who create the look of a film. This team is responsible to manage the production’s story backdrop. The process is done to ensure that the audience has a grasp and understands when and where things take place in the film. 

Production design helps bring the story from the script to life on screen. They help the film to communicate a clear vision that leaves a lasting impression on the audience and conveys the message that the filmmakers are trying to communicate to their viewers.

Also read: Who Is The Best Singapore Production House?

Why is Production Design Important?

One of the primary objectives of a filmmaker is to make the audience understands the message they’re trying to convey through their film.

1. Add Production Value to Your Movie

In the process of making a film, filmmakers will always strive to make their films more believable or reliable. This is where production design comes in and adds value to the films. Production designers help add realistic elements to create reliability within the video. 

We can use the advertisement below as an example. This advertisement was made by Superpixel, an animation company based in Singapore. We were tasked to create a realistic CGI of the Aedes Mosquito for NEA’s Do the Mozzie Wipeout Campaign 2019. Even within a very tight timeline, you can see how cool the visual effects are made to look very realistic within the project. 

2. Increase Credibility and Trust in Your Film

Production design helps craft the real world into a film. With the help of production design, the scenes brought into the screen will be more trustworthy and viewers may perceive them as being real. 

We can have ‘The Titanic‘ movie as an example. The movie itself accurately depicts the way the Titanic ship looked. We can also see the details that the production designer is trying to make, such as the type of clothing the guests on the boat would wear and the way they talk or the type of language they would use. Besides that, the props and sets all accordingly depict all the scenes that help viewers to be immersed in those scenes. 

3. Create a New, Unique, and Aesthetic Worlds

A design creates something in a way that appeals to its viewer who will look at it aesthetically. A good design should be both aesthetically pleasing and functional simultaneously. But there is one thing that will typically influence the design decision, and that is the genre of the production. 

The director’s vision and the producer’s desire for the finished product may also affect the design. This is why collaborations between production designers and directors are very important because they both have the strongest visual senses in the production process. By having a good partnership, they will be able to create new and aesthetic worlds of the film. 

Also read: SFX Meaning and All You Need To Know About Special Effects

Film Elements Defined by Production Design

In a film, we can see there are a lot of details that filmmakers need to focus on, especially the details in cinematography and editing. But those are not the only details that filmmakers need to focus on. Elements like costumes, makeup, set decoration, etc are also some of the elements that you need to pay attention to in your filmmaking process. 

To pay attention to those details, production designers need to highlight some elements of the film to elevate the story of your film. Below are the three elements a production designer communicates into a film.

1. Mood

Production design can be defined as a way to communicate how the scene of a film is supposed to ‘feel’. Production design elements help the film to communicate the mood of a scene by defining it using their elements, including props, sets, makeup, etc. 

2. Character

Besides defining the mood of the scenes in a film, production design elements also define the characters in a film. Production design helps filmmakers describe their characters using visual elements, which are parts of production design. With production design, characters in a film are defined by the spaces they occupy or the props they are using. For example, the character’s home, office, car, or any other sets will help the viewer understand what the characters do or what their roles are in the film. 

3. Theme

Lines of subtext in your characters’ dialogue may not be able to be transferred effectively to the audience, which then may cause misunderstanding of the audience. This is why directors need to work with the production designer to highlight their story’s themes. Consider the key themes of your project, then discuss them with the production designer and let them enlighten you with how set decor and props can help you deliver your messages better to the audiences. 

What Does A Production Designer Do?

The responsibility of product designers is to oversee the overall look and feel of film production. By working together in a team, production designers are responsible for creating the props, graphics, and sets that are needed in production. 

Production designers manage the backdrop of the production’s story and help ensure the audience has a grasp of when and where things are taking place in the film. The production designer is assigned to decide about every object, prop, or element that is created or used in the film. 

They also manage the department that scouts filming or production locations. Production designers create a unified look and feel for a film by working closely with the directors and cinematographers. By working together, these people visually represent the story appealingly and help viewers to have a better understanding of the film. 

Besides a production designer, a production design team consists of several creative members, such as:

  • Art Director – in charge of the draftsmen, storyboards, artists, and set decorators

  • Concept Artist – also known as production illustrator, who creates the initial sketches and designs alongside the product designer and art director

  • VFX Coordinator – make sure the CGI elements and the practical set match each other

  • Costume Designer – develop the look of the characters alongside AD

  • Set Decorator – researches and develops the look of the set, and obtains items to put on the set

  • Set Dresser – lay out the items from the set decorator and make sure the continuity between scenes

  • Makeup Artist – in charge of all makeup aspects of the production

Also read: What Is VFX? All You Need To Know About Visual Effects

Production Design Process

There are three-part of processes to be done in the process of a production design:

1. Concept

The first step of a product design is determining the initial visual style of the production. This process encompasses reading scripts, meeting with the cinematographer and directors, and visually representing ideas. The production designer might need to research the best concept illustrations and mock-ups, including the set architecture, costumes, props, makeup, and VFX design. These things might need to be produced and sent to the director and producer to get their approval to go on to the next step of the design. 

2. Planning

After their concept designs are approved, production designers can only move into the planning stage. For this step, the production design team will conduct additional research on locations for the set, create blueprints for set construction, and develop budgets and property lists for each scene. The product design team needs to ensure the set has the most appropriate location and make sure the budgets being used don’t go beyond the funding they have. 

3. Fabrication

The actual fabrication of the design can take place after the designs that have been made are approved and plans are finalized. This step is when the production design team makes the story come alive. Construction and procurement of items are done in this step, and also the start for each part of the team, including the set decorator, dresser, costume designer, and makeup artist to develop their parts and tasks. After the process above is finished, the cast, crew, and director can begin filming. 


Now that you understand the importance of production design, it is now time for you to start engaging your audience by creating an engaging production. Nowadays, video advertising has been the best strategy to engage consumers in the business. 

As mentioned above, visual elements are one of the most important factors of content, including video advertising. Effective and successful video advertising needs a visually appealing element that can help its viewers engage in the content. Wonder where to start? You don’t need to worry, because Superpixel can help you create your content.

Superpixel is a design-driven animation studio that empowers brands and businesses through well-crafted 2D and 3D animation. We brought fresh, creative, and relevant concepts to elevate your story and define your brand by listening to your story first. 

Want to start creating your own visually engaging content? Come and collaborate with Superpixel, and experience the excitement and fun of engaging your content production process.