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Signs of the Times: Graphic Design (2007)

Video  -  Documentary | Short  -  3 December 2007 (UK)
7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 15 users  
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Production illustrator Tom Southwell takes us through some of the logos, neon signs, badges and magazines he created to be used in the background of Blade Runner.

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Title: Signs of the Times: Graphic Design (Video 2007)

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Tom Southwell ...
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Production illustrator Tom Southwell takes us through some of the logos, neon signs, badges and magazines he created to be used in the background of Blade Runner.

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Documentary | Short

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3 December 2007 (UK)  »

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1.78 : 1
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This featurette is found on the Four-Disc Collector's Edition and Five-Disc Ultimate Collector's Editions (DVD, HD DVD & Blu-Ray) of Blade Runner (1982), all released in December 2007. See more »

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Features Blade Runner (1982) See more »

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User Reviews

 
On Safari through the Atari
12 March 2009 | by (Rijswijk (ZH), The Netherlands) – See all my reviews

Whenever I catch clips from Blade Runner somewhere it reminds me of a book by Wichert van Engelen called Op Safari Door De Atari (see translation above). Unfortunately, the prominent Atari, TDK and RCA logo's aren't mentioned in this 14 minute documentary, but I'm still expecting all three of them to make a comeback some time between now and 2019.

Instead we get a quarter of an hour with Tom Southwell, one of the production illustrators who worked on the film for 6 months and was mainly responsible for all the different logo's that are plastered all over the futuristic L.A. Inspired by Heavy Metal magazine, with influences from many different time frames, Tom cranked out an impressive amount of logo's, most of which is never even seen clearly on screen. This documentary sheds some light on his work by including a lot of the original sketches in various stages. Bear in mind that most of these were changed, aged and altered after Southwell's first pass and therefore he is quite hesitant to take credit for any of it.

Special attention is given to the White Dragon Noodle bar, which actually turns out to be based on the White Castle. During the interview Southwell produces out one of the original signs he managed to take home with him (one of the few color elements in the all white bar) but not the neon two forked dragon that can be spotted several times in the film. Another bit of urban decorating T.S. added to the film were the stickers on the deadly parking meters which would electrocute people if they touched the wrong way, only excepted mechanical cards instead of coins and could also detect traffic to a certain degree. He also invented the 'Walk Now' Traficator lights that apparently are now showing up for real in downtown L.A.

Southwell's favorite piece of neon art was the Cuisnart tomato slicer and the various fake magazines (Moni, Dorgon, Kill Weekly, Horn Zoid & Creative Evolution) that were created to fill an entire stall that is only in one or two background shots during Zhora's escape. Ridley Scott gave Tom some books on German military uniforms and American Indian art to be used as symbols on the police riot gear and Spinners. And yes, in this particular future, 911 has been changed to the alpha numeric 99S.

It's a shame there's only 14 minutes or so allotted to each of these features, for this reviewer could sit and watch these designs for a lot longer. Guess I'm just gonna have to hunt down a reference book in order to decorate my place with the signs of the future (as well as a neon Atari logo), for from where I'm sitting 2019 is only a decade away.

9 out of 1S


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