Ken Averill on Christopher Glass, production designer, Jim Beam “Parallels”

In “Parallels,” Christopher Glass carries the emotional tone of another era into the present with his keen sense of style, his clear understanding of concept, and the seamless relationship he builds between them. Reflecting both the seriousness of the period and the imperative of what’s at stake, the decision was made to shoot the spot in black and white — which of course always presents a challenge for a designer. Sets that might make a strong visual impact in color can easily fall flat in monochrome due to the similarity in the tonal value of the colors.

In this spot, that isn’t the case. Just like the hero in the commercial, Glass makes “bold choices” that “take you where you are supposed to be.”

Perspective and angle of vision are the driving forces behind both story and design. Glass understands this. Each set is designed with just enough symmetry to lend itself to either a straight-on camera shot to emphasize duality, or one that allows for a slow tracking shot that moves through the scene.

The smart decisions made in the design allow for a quick read of the material; they work to highlight the choice the hero must make by moving the viewer from varied shades of grey to the striking and strong use of high-contrast black and white. Visually stunning, the end result of Glass’ design draws the viewer in to this graphic and impactful spot.

Ken Averill’s credits include commercials for AT&T, Budweiser, Pepsi and Ikea.

Tightening the definition
Designers on design
Production designers and art directors comment on the ADG-nominated work of their peers
John Muto on Dante Ferretti | Greg Grande on Jefferson Sage | Norm Newberry on Stuart Craig | John Sabato on Patti Podesta | Ken Averill on Christopher Glass | John Shaffner on Steve Bass | Dave Blass on Mark Worthington | John Iacovelli on James Yarnell