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Adam Tankell

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"You may not notice every day how much of your surroundings is designed," explains Adam Tankell, "but in building an environment for a film, you have to create every visual detail."

Tankell, a graduate of Parsons' BFA Communication Design program, is a leading graphic designer for movies and commercials. His work often involves extensive research. For the Spielberg film Catch Me If You Can, for example, he helped design the forged checks that were pivotal to the plot. "I had to study the time period to get the look exactly right,” he says. He also creates graphics and street signage for the TV series Heroes, which is set in locales such as Japan, India, and Guatemala. "It's complicated but challenging and fun." Tankell enjoys the investigative, interpretive nature of his job. "Scripts give you visual outlines," he says. "They may say that a scene takes place in a hospital, but not what kind. What does it look like? When was it built? What graphics will relate? There are all these clues to uncover."

Photo: Courtesy of NBC studios, from the television series Heroes; production designed by Ruth Ammon

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