Ralph Breaks the Internet: a Graphic Design Perspective

28 Nov 2018 5:43 PM | Molly Joss (Administrator)


Ralph Breaks the Internet is a new 3-D movie from Disney. The plot is pretty standard Disney fare, but what interested me most about the movie is how the animators envisioned the Internet in physical space.

Briefly, Wreak-It-Ralph and friend Vanellope von Schweetz journey from their video game homeland to the worldwide universe of the Internet on a quest. No more spoilers on the story than this!

Now, consider the design challenge this brief represents and then focus on the biggest part: showing the audience, a mix of kids and adults of various ages and attention spans, the journey and the space that is the Internet, but in physical terms they will find engaging and non-threatening (this is a Disney film, after all). This is a huge and intriguing designer puzzle and it must have been a lot of fun to solve.

No spoilers on how the animators accomplished this feat, but I do have a suggestion for graphic arts business owners and managers and also for people who organize group activities for graphic designers and students: take a group to see the movie and then discuss how well the animators met the design challenges, large and small.

Do the activity seriously, though, as everybody involved has so much to gain from the effort. Don’t just go around the table at a meal or meeting and ask for general comments that take all of three seconds to make.

Instead, make the participants get way down deep into the scope and the details. After all, with animation you can do just about anything, so make the group think about the challenge and how and why the animators made their design decisions and ask what your group members would have done differently.

For people who manage writers and for writing groups, you could do the same thing, but focus on the story challenges and how well the writers met the brief as I’ve sketched it out above, not the design aspects.

If you would like help developing a set of questions to ask or other aspects of such an outing, get in touch and I’d be happy to help. And, if you do take up my suggestion, I would love to hear about it.

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