Design tips from Wes Anderson’s films
I’ve decided to break down some major visual themes in Wes Anderson’s films because, well, they’re fun to notice, and they showcase how design choices can heighten an emotion or thought. Whether or not you vibe with Wes’ style, our tips below taken from his work apply to any sort of style you want to master.
Right off the bat, Anderson introduces viewers to some new microcosm of a world. His films take place on very carefully designed sets with symmetry, prescribed color themes, costumes like you’d see in a play, and font collections for everything from the film’s title to words on a bus ad in the background (Futura and Archer are some of his favorite fonts that are easy to access).
Choose a color pallete but don’t be afraid to deviate
This is a great method to mirror in your own home! Choose a color pallete and composition early (Wes likes Art Nouveau hues and right angles) but be willing to make rare deviations. This will help you emphasize important details, like a piece of decor you want to make stand out.
Looks inspired by The Grand Budapest Hotel
Click here to watch The Grand Budapest Hotel
Use objects that symbolize something meaningful
Another stylistic tool employed in his films is called material synecdoche (yes I looked this up and still had to use spell check). This fancy term just means that Anderson uses a material object to stand as a symbol of something important. In Moonrise Kingdom, Suzy’s binoculars symbolize, well, Suzy, as well as her curiosity, her longing for something outside of her world, and her tendency for spying…
Looks inspired by Moonrise Kingdom
Click here to watch Moonrise Kingdom
Some friends of mine use this idea in their life and have a few objects that represent significant moments or ideas. For these friends, it’s all centered on the Dr. Seuss book, Oh, The Places You’ll Go! It’s all about adventure, positivity, and how being different is brave. Choose an object or material that you feel drawn to that represents a theme in your life (like my friends’ book) and figure out how to incorporate it into your style!
Whether it is polka dots or acorns, poppies or binoculars, choose something that feels like you and treat it like your design calling card. Sprinkle it into your home and your wardrobe, et voila! You have a trademark ~look.~
Looks inspired by The Darjeeling Limited
Click here to watch The Darjeeling Limited
Add handmade touches
One detail that we at Lars particularly love is the prevalence of handmade items in Wes Anderson movies! Most of the sets are handmade. (Aisle of Dogs is a crazy masterpiece) and the clothing is all designed and sewn for the characters like a costume in a play would be.
Handwritten notes are everywhere in his films, even graffitied in the margins of textbooks in Rushmore. This kind of attention to detail helps him achieve this classically curated look, and a similar attention to detail in your life will create your own uniquely curated look.
Looks inspired by Rushmore
Click here to watch Rushmore
Don’t lose your own personal twist
Part of why we love Wes Anderson is of course, because of the people in his films. Yes, they’re funny, yes they’re well dressed, yes they’re witty. But what I like most is that the main characters are creative.
In Rushmore, the main character Max is an aspiring playwright. In The Royal Tenenbaums, Margot wins a national writing grant in the ninth grade! Fantastic Mrs. Fox is a fabulous painter, and is shown in a number of scenes working on a really complicated landscape.
Looks inspired by The Royal Tenenbaums
Click here to watch The Royal Tenenbaums
As a creative person, Wes puts these snippets of himself into these films and therein, I tend to find someone a bit like me.
Wes Anderson Inspired Home Decor
Kid’s bedroom decor
Prints and Books
Kid’s classic toys
Wes Anderson Inspired Fashion
This post is part of our “In the Mood For” series, where we highlight the taste of famous people and characters we love. Click these links to be inspired by kindred spirits like Anne of Green Gables or Jo March, or to learn how to re-create the iconic styles of real life heroes Iris Apfel or Alexander Girard.