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What we learned from designing TV show props

Yun Ying Yun Ying | 28 March 2018

Two years ago,

MediaCorp commissioned JIN Design to design various mobile apps to aid with their channel 8 TV production, Dream Coder – a drama revolving around tech startups in Singapore.

Together with our partner agency – Originally Us, we worked closely with the production team of Dream Coder to delivered 9 app designs collectively in the last two months of 2016.

This entailed providing various digital props to be exhibited in the drama like wireframes and mockups & also provide design consultancy and on-site support.

Aside from a fun and eye-opening experience on the production set, here are the 3 takeaways from being part of this TV production:

1. Different approach in understanding design requirements

Unlike how we usually gather our design requirements, we sat down for 3 hours with the scriptwriter and producer to go through 20 episodes worth of storyline.

We had to understand the script thoroughly and identify lines where designs are showcased on-screen. From there, we gathered and studied the design requirements for each app design.

Script:

Requirement:

 

2. Creating the best first impression

Designing for TV show props differs from designing an actual app. The audience, unlike actual app users, do not get to explore and experience the app physically. Thus, we control what they see and how they feel about the app.

Each app we designed only had a mere few seconds of screen-time. It may seem easy to design these 4-6 screens, but behind the quick appearance, it took us 1 ~ 7 days to complete each app design.

First impression counts when designing for this particular project. We had to make sure the audience understand what the app does through the few seconds of screen-time and supporting lines from the actors.

3. Showcasing the key points

As we can’t show the whole app design, we identified key screens and functions mentioned in the script. This helped us conceptualise, create wireframes, mockups and the interaction to be shown.

Working hand-in-hand with the production crew definitely sped up the process. As we produce the designs, we discuss and align with their vision and expectation for the scene.

Want to see more app designs done up for Dream Coder? Check out our portfolio here.

Read up on the blog post for this project’s brief and design challenges here.

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