A Set Design Research Index
An online resource for visual designers in theater and film.
This compilation is just starting.
These are some useful websites and books that I've found while researching shows (or just goofing around) - deposits of knowledge that might help you too. Most of these sites will be geared towards scenic design - pages on architecture, interior design, etc. - but there will also be some costume and prop related sites.
Take a look around!
An online research library for the theater or movie designer that will continue to grow. Please leave suggestions for other sites that ought to be included.
This is a beautiful book.
This is also a really USEFUL book on color palettes throughout the twentieth century, put together by that leader in color, Pantone. I've found this helpful for general research, but INVALUABLE as an aid when working with a director... you can flip page together, looking at the various color combinations popular in different decades and from this book develop the set color family for your show.
Such a time saver!
A lovely and indispensable designer's helper.
Links to Historical Color
Creating truly historic color can be difficult... even historic materials can lie to you. For instance, a room in George Washington's house was once restored to match the sample of paint left (hidden) on a wall. But, of course in hind-sight, that color had faded. When researchers discovered Washington's recipe for that original blue/green color and made the paint fresh, they discovered the color was much more vibrant!
- The Colors of Rome
These are fabric dyes rather than paint colors, but give you a good idea of what was available at the time.
Architecture and Decor
This (growing) list includes websites with good information and/or images useful for set designers and other artists of stage and screen.
But first... A designer's personal library of books is always their best friend - but the internet has more information every day. So I've listed here some of the books I use myself (over and over again) as well as purely online sources of info. For the set or scenic or production designer, mostly what we need is information on architectural and interior design styles - specifically by historic period.
Single Best Research Source
I've had this book for years now and find it a never-failing inspiration (and information source) when I design period sets.
The book is lavishly illustrated with drawings, paintings, watercolors, and, in the later period by photographs actually from the time periods discussed. Invaluable!
Interior Design History
I've only recently bought and read this book.
Its text is a very thorough discussion of the development of the modern home and its decoration, with a revisionist mildly-anti-Modern tone that's understandable written by the director of the Prince of Wales' Foundation for the Built Environment. (H.R.H. has had a feud going with Britain's Modernist architects for several decades now.)
Beautifully illustrated! This book makes a good companion volume to my long-time favorite research book, Thornton's, Authentic Decor.
Books to Add to Your Working Library
A few suggestions of books that seem helpful in creating period looks...
Not so much that you can afford to buy this stuff... more you can see what you need to fake up!
A lotta architecture on stage or film.
It's all in the details.
These are terrific!
Age of Enlightenment Architecture, Decor, & Props
"Where Benjamin Franklin would shop if he were alive today."
This company specializes in supplying re-enactors, theaters, pirates, and period enthusiasts.
From the Costumer's Manifesto - lots of links on decor
"A good starting point for all things Jane-ish."
- A Flikr portfolio of Victoriana by Lee Jackson
Some great modern photos of (mostly) Victorian remnants around London, by the blogger at www.victorianlondon.org
Steampunk - (Think Jules Verne)
Victorian technology extrapolated to futuristic contraptions. The film Hugo is a great example of a steampunk aesthetic.
Bear with me, I'm just starting to explore here!
- 2D Goggles
The fantastic site of an animator who draws the beautiful pen and ink adventures of Charles Babbage (real Victorian computer inventor) and Ada Lovelace (real Victorian First Ever computer programmer). Her research is great - lots of links to histori
- Steampunk Home Decor
A Squidoo page with some interesting steampunky stuff.
More research sites.
Terrific Resource on 20th Century Color
Decade by decade, this fascinating book explains the color trends of the last century.
A must-have for theater designers!
In each section there are Pantone color palettes tied to the period and the illustrations being discussed. Incredibly useful.
Resources on furniture and styles.
- DesignBoom - Rocking Chair History
Nicely illustrated short-version of the development of rocking chairs.
Scenic Tour of Theater (Scenery) History
The history of theater set design!
TV and Film Resources
A selection of helpful sites on film and TV related maters:
On this website about houses a list of many houses featured in film or on TV with great images. I particularly liked Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House
Interviews with film and TV production designers.
The Diary of Anne Frank, WaterTower Theatre, Addison, Texas
Information Sources Organized by Show
THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK
A virtual tour through the Anne Frank's hiding place, at the official historic site's website www.AnneFrank.org.
Hard to know what else to call this category. This is the start of a list for more specialized topics of research... Starting with a great site for naval (and piratical) history.
- Paulines Pirates and Privateers
An excellent site for historic naval info... with good images.
I can't help it, I keep finding costume information!
- Venice Carnival Costumes
Gorgeous photos of Carnival costumes and masks - plus a mask making video.
- FastCompany.com "What to Wear to the Apocalypse"
A fascinating illustrated article on costumes as character-builders for the show The Walking Dead. (Be sure to click through the photo gallery.)
- The Costumer's Manifesto
Links to costume sites.
- Hat Patterns for Women
Plus gorgeous period images!