aka Production design

The idea that everything together creates a narrative motif grounded in the context and subject matter. Everything working together, by design, creates a deeper experience for the audience than the separate pieces by themselves. Cinematography, editing, lighting, mood, tone, characters, their costumes, makeup, hair, voices, and their world and sets, decor, acting, action, animation, interaction, colours, graphic design, rendering, edge quality etc, etc.



Every detail, every design element and principle in the production at hand, can represent something in the dramatic question at hand – be it literally in the design itself or as a visual allegory, metaphor or even as indirect subtext like a color cue in lighting.

   Thematic visuality is an interdisciplinary research area between gestalt and philosophy. It is inspired by semiotics in communication studies and symbolism through art history but brought into a modern, practical context for contemporary productions.

   Each design, such as a character's design, can represent something within the theme. Such as a skull for mortality. The design is the theme, visually. This can be literally, figuratively, symbolically, metaphorically or as visual subtext, both on an intellectual level but also on a subconscious level for the audience.



E.T.'s glowing finger, touching and healing Elliot's emotional wound: empathy.


Mozart's crazy wig, bright colours and hysterical laugh ridiculing Salieri's strict grooming and faith in Amadeus. Notice the camera looking up at Salieri, empowering him, and down at Amadeus, suppressing his visual status during his visit to the court. He is also excluded in the compositions through proximity, the others grouped visually together.


The colour details In Schlinder's List representing hope and faith, like the flame and the girl.


Se7en's open titles characterizing the insanity behind humanity's worse sin: murder.

Apple's Apple icon  referring to the Apple from the tree of knowledge in the garden of Eden, the source of good and evil.


I.e. composition, design and culture creates context.


I began exploring Thematic Visuality as my reSearch at Uppsala University in Sweden 2010-2020 as I during my tenure as Associate Professor in Gestalt. But I not an academic. I was appointed on artistic merit.



This playful graphic design of the word research represents that I am re-visiting – re-searching – my methods, documenting and thinking about why and what I am doing, artistically. Pass it forward.



Sources are Oxford standard credited. If a source can not be validated it will not be credited to avoid false credit. So some sources are left unaccredited intentionally. Art and design are practice-based. Many ideas are best practices and wisdom, taught and learned through sharing, through history. So proper credit might not be traceable. Like the "Zorn" palette was not invented by Zorn. He learned it at The Royal Art Academy in Stockholm as student. Source unverified.


© Leopold. Certain rights reserved.

Please see each paper specifically.