Aardman’s Heather Wright on the Art of Designing Unforgettable Characters

Heather Wright, Executive Director of Partner Content at the four times Academy Award® winning animation studio Aardman Animations, spoke to Doreen Lorenzo for Fast Company about creating content that connects with people and how she manages teams to find the right balance of creativity.

Wright recalled her interest in 3D animation actually being sparked by Ardman themselves after she saw a film created by them in the 80s. She found herself intrigued by the idea of bringing things to life and really believed in the way the craft connects with people at a heartfelt level. When designing in animation, Wright explained how the character’s appearance, personality, and actions are all interconnected, making design a critical aspect of storytelling. Aardman creates a wide range of content from movies and TV series to games and AR/VR apps. Wright explained how at Ardman they work with small brands to large theme parks companies and anywhere they can add energy, characters, and storytelling. 

With the democratization of design and animation and the introduction of technologies like AR/VR, Wright described the challenge of constantly evolving to find new talent and explore new mediums all while retaining quality. When finding new talent, she encourages people to “go bigger than the script, bigger than the idea, revisit it from a fresh perspective and try and buy just a little bit of time, because that’s what your real added value comes from.” She explained that at Ardman they find that working in smaller “trust groups” encourages this atmosphere of creativity, experimentation, and free-thinking. And that’s where the best ideas come from

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