Annie Atkins

Homegrown Head of the Secret World of Graphic Design for Film, she creates the details that make us believe…

How did you get started and how you get to where you are? I used to work as a graphic designer in advertising, but then left to study a Masters in film production. I thought maybe I wanted to change careers to be a camera operator or a writer, but at film school I discovered this whole new world of design that I had never considered before. When I graduated, I was hired to design all the graphic pieces on the third series of The Tudors at mArdmore Studios – royal scrolls, stained glass, love letters…. After that I began to specialise in making graphic props for all kinds of period filmmaking. I was drawing graphics for the animated film ‘The Boxtrolls’ when I got a call from Wes Anderson about a movie “set somewhere in the Alps between the wars…” and I went on to spend the winter in Gorlitz with him and his crew, making The Grand Budapest Hotel.


What is your favourite part of the job?

I love the craft of making graphic props by hand – the printing, ageing, stitching, stamping, waxing and perforating. It’s these tiny details that a cinema audience rarely sees in close-up that really help create the world for the actors to work in.


Do you have any advice for anyone thinking of following in your footsteps?

Choose graphic design as your area of study – you need to practice the

principles of typesetting, layout, and printing, plus gain an understanding of the history of art and design. Then, arrange an interview with an art director at your local TV or film studio. Don’t go with a digital portfolio: print your work and make some props that will work in an actor’s hands, paying close attention to the details. Always check your spelling!

What copyright protection in the film industry means to you?

Copyright protection means there will still be a fairly-paid film industry to work in in ten years’ time.

What is your Favourite Film?

I love the art direction in films like Tim Burton’s Big Fish and Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom, and Laika’s animated films Coraline and Paranorman are also favourites of mine.

Best wishes, Annie
Annie Atkins
Graphic Designer