Friday, June 1, 2018

A Young Designer's Guide to Design Principles & Translating Them to Scene Attraction Design

More information on Bradley Caruk can be found here.

Design principles such as pattern, rhythm and movement are often taught in U.S. schools. Within the field of design, the correct number of principles, whether it be 6, 8, or 12, is often debated. Regardless, many young show designers in the industry today fail to see the parallels used in the real world of designing scenes within attractions.

Take, for example, the concepts of “Proportion” and “Large versus Small.” These principles refer to the visual weight, size, and prominence of various elements within a composition or frame of reference, as well as how they work off of and/or relate to one another. When telling a story without using words and by visually utilizing these principles, it often helps to have a specific order of elements that are revealed to the guest that enhances his or her experience.

Concept Art by Alex Seifert, ITEC Entertainment
By grouping related elements, aspiring designers can best assign them importance, even ones smaller in size or of less significance. Imagine a swarm of tiny beetles purposefully meant to flood guests’ RV through projection mapping. The swarm would disrupt the guests' expectations within a climactic scene of a dark ride. Then, one huge element would follow the tiny beetles, such as a gigantic beast reaching out to grab the guests' vehicles. The contrast between the two elements is significant to the entire experience in a visual, experiential and storytelling point of view.

If all the elements of your scene design are well-sized and thoughtfully-placed, the guest’s overall experience will be greatly enhanced. That is just a first step in the right direction. Of course, there are so many other elements to consider for this process that I could write a book about it, and that is not even including sound, lighting, atmospherics, smell, music, and so on. However, once a show designer masters the principles of design and applies them to real world design by building relationships, their process of composing a scene becomes more intuitive and will elevate the memorable moments of the experience.

At ITEC Entertainment, much of our project development for scene attractions is to bring a story to life using these principles and ensure that every guest receives the same enthralling experience. In addition, we have also honed the ability to perfectly orchestrate motion with object sizing and other sensory components, including audio/visual, that is necessary to create a unified guest experience requiring repetition every few seconds or minutes. Transferring abstract concepts into something that is both calculated on the back-end and natural for the audience is at the core of great scene design, and what we've delivered for almost 30 years. By starting with a strong foundation and understanding of design principles, young designers can find their way too.