ManvsMachine has created a trilogy of films for Squarespace each focusing on the website design of a different creative, featuring fashion designer Sadie Williams, artist Daniel Arsham and eclectic chef, Danny Bowien.
Tasked with the top-line brief of “Bring the product to life. Literally.” ManvsMachine had to develop a concept for showcasing “the process of building a site on their platform, but in a fresh, compelling and unique way,” creative director Adam Rowe explains. “They were looking for an abstract and artful demonstration of Squarespace’s product, while still making it obvious to the audience that a site was being crafted.”
Settling on the concept of “Digital Made Physical”, each film brings “digital gestures into a physical world, representing them as a series of simple, graphic scenarios,” Adam continues. “Each scenario references a different digital gesture or UI interaction, but also forms part of a larger narrative that tells the story behind a different featured artist.”
Each film, despite being for a digital product, shares an insight into the creative’s personality which flows through their work. “We got the chance to work closely with each of the creatives to ensure we portrayed them authentically,” says Adam. “We gathered as much information as we could on each artist’s process, which was crucial as it helped to dictate the scenes within the films. We collected even the smallest points of inspiration for each; everything from clothing to make-up and musical inspiration.”
Although each film displays the alternative mindset of a certain creative, as a trio the films link seamlessly in terms of the overall look and feel of the film’s treatment. “For us it was vital that we developed a framework that allowed each of the films to have its own flavour whilst still working together as a tightly-knit set,” Adam explains. “Type treatment, edit structure, graphic compositions, border and grid overlay, lighting, art direction, and pace make the pieces instantly recognisable as part of this campaign while also keeping it open enough to set each of the films apart.”
Across the films is a constant interchange of physical and digital creativity, but ManvsMachine’s approach makes it difficult to tell which parts are set designed or completed in CGI. “The set design became pretty epic for these films in the end,” says Adam. Filmed at Warner Brothers Studios the large space gave the studio the opportunity to jump between numerous different sets, ideal for a tight deadline. “Hats off to our production design partners on this one, Stripeland, who did an amazing job in bringing to life our vision and each of the artist’s works.”
ManvsMachine want the films to be entertaining for users to watch with Adam saying: “We like the idea of people not thinking about how this was made and more enjoying it as a pleasing bit of eye candy.” This consequently inspired the overall look of the finished films. "We purposely wanted the art direction to be incredibly graphic and to bridge the gap between reality and 3D so everything blends seamlessly together.
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