Art Director / Senior Designer
Concept Storyboard Artist
SDCC 2022: Netflix Machine
Design | Unit9
Netflix Machine is an interactive booth designed for the 2022 San Diego Comic-Con. Powered by the upcoming Netflix titles including The Sandman/ Stranger Things 4/ The Gray Man/ Squid Game and more, fans can sign up and play with a gigantic capsule toy machine, try their luck and win SDCC exclusive swags.
What are UNIT9’s key messages about this project?
After two years of absence, SDCC is more anticipated than ever in 2022. Netflix Machine is the chance to show the fans that we have not forgotten about their love and passion. We aim to design a booth that not only looks vibrant and fun, but also contains a main interactive piece that drives the hype and offers the fans a rewarding destination upon entering.
What’s the tone of the project?
To attract people’s attention across the humongous convention floor, the booth needs to look as playful and exciting as possible within the limited given space.
By implementing Netflix’s sub-brand “Geeked”, we created a living and breathing capsule toy installation that is self-manifesting and eye-catching. The booth became a playground giving the promoting titles new visual interpretations and keeping them under “Geeked” art direction—allowing all titles to sit together without any visual conflicts.
A large amount of suspended LED screens were served as canvas showing branded motion graphics, offering fans the opportunity to see what’s next on Netflix. When the capsule toy machine is activated, the screens will show you how the capsules are delivered to their hands.
In the end, we successfully delivered instant eye candy regardless of where you are on the convention floor. Which not only draws high foot traffic to experience the fantastic machine but also becomes a waypoint for Comic-Con attendees.
The techy bit
Visual accessibility and line management are the two crucial elements that define a successful SDCC booth. Our response to these two main challenges is to keep the majority of the components suspended, maintain visual engagement above the crowd and free up the floor space.
However, SDCC has very strict regulations about what/ how much we can hang. We end up designing a system hiding the capsule containers near the floor and using motion graphics on the suspended screens to portray the journey of the capsules. In another word, the suspended screens only show illusions, while the real container is a standalone structure.
This solution prevent us from worrying about the suspending weight and opened up the freedom to illustrate the journey of the capsules however we like. Also, this method allows the structure to be moved around freely since they aren’t necessarily attached to each other, giving us more room to play around with SDCC regulations and fabrication limitations.
Highs and lows
There are so many dilemmas during the design process- how we tackle the line management/ how we balance the art direction while having so many stakeholders to satisfy / how we use the budget smartly to fulfill the suspension structure… All of them contribute to a few intense weeks of non-stop problem solving and endless design revisions.
But when hearing attendees saying this is their favorite booth not only this year but across multiple years, and seeing kids’ faces when playing with Netflix Machine, it’s all worth it.
A quote from Director
Netflix Machine is a playground for 2022 SDCC attendees to engage their favorite titles. Apart from the typical booth elements, you can find a huge floating capsule toy machine at the center- where fans can try their luck and win exclusive swags. The machine’s playful and colorful components not only become instant eye-candy and waypoint across the convention center but also make a strong statement showing tributes to the beloved Netflix IPs.
We had to cut booth reservations off before 10:00 AM, merely 30 mins after the opening, I guess no more words are needed to describe how well received it was!
Art Director: Daniil Kutuzov
Set designer: Enes Yaman / João Teixeira / Julio Villarreal Castellanos / Francisco Cortés
Graphic designer: Chuck Ramírez / Florencia Pavan / Jessica Pezenti / Ana Maria Montero Barrantes
Motion graphic designer: Chuck Ramírez / Azrin Hilmi / Fabio Sai
Head of Production: Mindy Lubert
Production Lead: Sarah Barson
Production designer: Kai Boydell
Producer: Peyton Moore
Art Director: Linn Gelert
Motion graphic design: Ron Winter
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