If you're seeing this message, it means we're having trouble loading external resources on our website.

If you're behind a web filter, please make sure that the domains *.kastatic.org and *.kasandbox.org are unblocked.

Main content


How graphics support the theme of a land. Copyright The Walt Disney Company.

Want to join the conversation?

Video transcript

As we discussed earlier in this lesson, buildings and landscape are important visual elements in the construction of a land. Other big visual elements are illustrations, signage, and other forms of graphic design. And that's the topic of this video. Graphic design appears everywhere in a themed land, and like everything else, graphic design supports the theme and the story, so every single aspect or detail receives a lot of attention. The story always comes first, even when it comes down to the graphics. So we work very closely with our creative director to get an idea of his or her vision and how can we tell the story through graphic design, while keeping that vision in mind. Graphic design comes in a lot of flavors inside of a theme park. So there's categories. One category is what we call ghost graphics. Ghost graphics are really just part of the set design, like the imaginary, left over graphics that tell you a place is real. In Pandora -if you go wandering through Pandora - there's all this leftover industrial stuff that tells you, "oh I see this used to be some kind of industrial warehouse cause look at those faded old words and graphics on the side of the building." I don't need to read them, they don't need to be legible, I don't actually need to ever look at them, but they're part of my set design, and that is graphics. And a graphic designer does that. Then there's another set of graphics that are inside the story and they help me to understand the story. And so those could be the name of a shop. And who's the character that lives there, and did he create the sign for that shop himself? Probably in the Caribbean, yes. Barrels that have some coffee on them. Any of those are just graphics that help describe what's going on, but also finish telling the story. There's also like letters from pirates or there's fan mail to the cars in Luigi's, there's all sorts of that stuff, that's really is just a show element to the park. So that's a another form of graphic design. I'm supposed to read it, I'm supposed to look at it, and I'm supposed to understand that it's inside the story. And there's another kind of graphics that are sort of super-important legal, or safety, or directional graphics that I have to be able to read. Those are really necessary to help a guest figure out how to get through each attraction, facility, restaurant. You know, where is the entrance to this, or how long do I have to wait in line for this attraction, or where's the next land, and directional signage. I must be able to read them, and so the range of design control over them is more limited because it is very important that I see it, that I recognize that it is a category of communication I am supposed to read, I have to read, and so it's very legible and usually a little more restrained, and the trick is to keep all of these balanced with each other so that they can do their function. And that you don't become overly aware of the artificial difference between them. To summarize the types of graphic design. We use we have ghost graphics, that are part of the places, history graphics that are part of the story, an operational signage for safety or navigation. Sometimes graphic design fades into the background, providing subtle, almost subconscious hints at story and theme. At other times graphic design plays a central role. Let's hear about some of those examples. Cars Land is a really great example of graphic design helping tell the story in a land. If you look around there is signage everywhere. If you're walking down the streets, you just see street signs that really make you feel like you're on Route 66. We faithfully recreated all of the neon, all of the signs, which was very much part of making that a very real, unbelievable place. You see posters telling stories about the different characters. There's a big huge neon sign telling you to go into Flows. They're not only based on the film, but we brought some to life to really further the development of the storytelling. The interiors of Flow's V8 Cafe, for example, with all of the gold records from Flow and the Motorama girls back in the day. We got to make all of that up, and so all of the signage, and the record labels, and all of that, like you know, Jeep bait and that was no accident. The graphics are a tremendous way to help tell that story. And we're working on Shanghai Disneyland we wanted to have our graphics be very closely married with the Chinese language as well so when we chose our English fonts to fit with within a certain theme, we wanted the Chinese copy to feel like that too. So we worked really closely with Chinese calligraphers, who helped get to that goal. So when you first cross the bridge into Pandora, the first sign that you see is very, very much like a sign you would see as you are entering a national park or eco-reserve in a place like South America, where you might go on an eco Safari. The style, the color, the palate, the choice of typography, the way illustrations are put on the sign, should remind you of a Nature Reserve, or a national park, or a eco-resort somewhere. So in the case of Treasure Cove, we wanted to make sure you understood what this place was. There is a wrecked ship with a torn sign that hangs over the guest that says, "Treasure Cove" and so it's very clear that you're entering a pirate story. What was really cool about working on Cars Land is we got to use real neon. We worked very closely with neon experts to understand the limitations and what we could do with neon to really tell this story. If you look in Radiator Springs, in the film there's neon everywhere, so we just wanted to bring that element of the film to life. What role will graphic design play in your land? Use the next exercise to figure that out.