Graphic Design Expert DeAnna Gravillis


CEO/Co-Founder of Gravillis Inc., a visual communications company that creates advertising campaigns for the entertainment industry

Home: Los AngelesDeAnna2

Years of experience: 21 years

Proudest accomplishments: Launching Gravillis Inc. in 2000 and keeping it alive

Clients: The Weinstein Company, 20th Century Fox, Warner Brothers, Netflix, HBO, Universal and FX

Best part of the job: Working with my partner and husband, Kenny

Hardest part of the job: It’s very demanding. There are a lot of moving parts, but that’s also what keeps it exciting! We create the key art for billboards, magazine ads and posters. Often times, our key art may be used for a teaser poster, which is not always used for a billboard or magazine ad.

Perks: One of the great things about being a boutique agency is that we have the freedom of choosing which projects we want to work on and which ones we don’t.

Timeline: We are often brought into the process a year or two before the movie is scheduled for release. Often, the film is still in production and filming. Sometimes, we are brought into it later, closer to the release date if the client hasn’t found exactly what s/he is looking for in the campaign. It all just depends on the client and their needs.

Mac or PC: Mac

Favorite tech product: iPhone

Programs used: Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator

Favorite posters you’ve designed: Blackfish, Only God Forgives, Kiss of the Damned, and The Fault In Our Stars

Favorite movie: The Incredibles

What are the first steps of creating a movie campaign?

The client provides us with either the script or screener of the film (often both). After our creative team has read and viewed the film, we have a kick-off meeting and go over the creative brief. Many times, our sketch artists start sketching ideas and concepts for the poster. This gives our clients a visual of what the poster can become if they haven’t done a photo shoot yet. Our copywriters provide us with copy lines that help direct our exploration. Our creative team meets to share ideas, and starts building comps from these ideas. We then send our presentation to our client. The client picks which comps s/he wants to pursue and gives us notes on changes.

How do you select the final photo and copy?

My partner, Kenny, and our creative team work closely with our clients in an extensive exploration of the film. Together, we choose photography from the film that best suits the idea the client is trying to capture for the poster. Then, we get copy from our copywriters, read through all of the lines, and pick which lines will work for each comp. Sometimes, one copy line is used on several comps. It just depends on our creative team and how they want to use them.

You created the visual for Fifty Shades of Grey, which releases on Valentine’s Day. You could have gone with a more seductive angle. Why this design?

We were fortunate enough to be asked to design the teaser poster for Fifty Shades, a year before it would be released. The goal of this poster was to get everyone excited about the film. We chose to use the photography of Christian Grey facing out the window to tease what was to come. The copy line was chosen as if the poster was speaking to everyone individually. “Mr. Grey will see you now” is a phrase reminiscent of corporate culture. The visual of Christian Grey showing his back to the viewer shows he is powerful, respected and intimidating. Viewers who haven’t read the books have to question, “Why is this man so important?” and it makes them want to see for themselves. For those who have read the books, it piques their curiosity as to how this larger-than-life character will be portrayed on the big screen.

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