Adam Savage Speaks to an Expanse Graphic Designer!

January 5, 2020 posted by

Obviously when you think about a show
like the Expanse you think about the sets and the props and the costumes but
one aspect that you might not consider in your head that’s super super
important is the graphic design: the labels on the walls, on the floors and on
the clothes and that is the job of Kim Sison here. Kim, you’re first assistant
graphic designer. Yes I am. I’ve been working on the Expanse since season two. Tell me about what your job is like? You’re sitting and coming up
with graphical information, labels stickers, posters … So I’m the graphic
designer for the Expanse. I basically do all the graphics that you see on sets, on
any props so these would be more obvious things or you would see like branding
and stuff. But we also do the chevrons on the floors and all the splashes
of color that’s vinyl is ours. Numbers, space numbers — lots of space number.
Warning labels … A lot of warning labels. I’ve become pretty much the go-to person
for mechanical labels because I’ve just done thousands at this point and I just
I love looking at them now. It’s something you don’t usually notice. There’s a visual iconography to it that’s very specific. Yeah, and it just adds to
it, adds to the texture. Yeah, that’s what I do. Well so I want to talk about
this because so here is a backpack from season three am i right i season two
season two and like when we when we think about something like this people
may see this as a prop ago oh yeah that looks like a kid’s prop from some show
right but you’ve got a design so it’s funny cuz like I read the book the first
book before I started and this there’s this whole beautiful like segment in the
book where they talk about misko and Mariska but it was never in the first
season right and I was really glad that they like added it in a prop as a nod to
the book series right yeah so I basically took what was described in the
books as two comic character yeah – it’s a children’s TV show that
exists in the universe that Holden and Miller were both reminiscing about while
they were in eros and they were like singing the theme song and they’re like
oh and and like do you remember when they’re always like being chased by this
guy with a pink hat and all that so yeah I just had I mean that’s the thing is it
feels like it carries with it a history of a thing that really existed and
that’s not trivial to give it that was there was their source material you took
inspiration from like the Teletubbies or I just really like looking at lowbrow
art as far as I was really really big into vinyl toys like in the early 2000s
so this was all I drew which was really funny because when it came up as a
project I was just like code like this is I have been training all my life for
this right in your department if you’re super enthusiastic about a specific
design they’re just gonna give it to you pretty much that I usually like the
little drawing ones and there’s usually about four or five people in the
department and each person has something that they specialize in but yeah like I
do the little little illustrations like this eventually you’ll use everything
you ever lived right exactly also I want to talk about this this incredible
intergalactic waffles takeout container now just in when you encounter a real
takeout container from some branded company in the real world it’s the
result of hundreds of hours of meetings and decisions and efficiencies and
industrial design and then you have to do all that yourself in like a few hours
like I think I only had maybe two days to do this or something crazy this is
amazing from incredible it feels like I’m looking at a real thing we we had
some like source material there was just
these like really beautiful packaging like Asian packaging that was just like
from Google like we were just googling like all these really interesting
packaging and they just kind of created this thing out of it
but it’s not even real cardboard because we wouldn’t they could have print on
cardboard so I had to like get a cardboard texture and print it on vinyl
yeah so this is whole like this is all vinyl on cardstock got printed and then
like it was really funny it’s just like getting a prototype done out of paper
and like making sure everything worked in the color matching was great like
okay because all I really was given were these takeout boxes okay the two takeout
boxes and these like ice cream containers and you came up with a
formula and the cutlery in gyms like put them all together
I love the cutlery sitting in this is brilliant and this is what any companies
should actually do this is smart design thank you that is fantastic
okay now a tie Frank just gave me something that I think is partially your
work is the savage industries jumpsuit this is you this is me so yeah you know
how much I love Futura Extra Bold is a great
it’s very Universal and I think it will carry on hundreds of years from now I’ve
talked to me about this gorilla talked to me okay so the gorilla is actually
originally was a stock image because we only we only have like a day usually to
do these things and it’s tricks of the trade so I got this like full-size
gorilla image and then just like manipulated it to get just this head and
like it had to be the perfect shape to go with it with the logo and then it
turned into that and like when I first got it I was really really excited
because I was a huge fan of Mythbusters it’s really bizarre it’s like going a
full circle isn’t it yep you’re gonna find that regularly with life no well
tell me about these other logos these are also all
other logos that were created I think these were created by me
yeah I’m pretty I’ve done so many mission patches on the show yeah it’s so
for every single mission pets you have to again tell a story about that mission
so it can’t feel like every other mission path yeah exactly and we just
looked at a lot of mission patch references online and like even just
looking at sci-fi like other mission patches from sci-fi shows as well just
to kind of get that blend of both yeah I’m curious about your process do you
start out with a paper and pencil doing rough drafts or do you sometimes
sometimes I do usually it’s just mucking around with with illustrator just moving
things around until some it feels right our working files are just it’s an
absolute disaster it’s all these like shapes and like trying to like cut
champers out of things because everything is on an angle okay right um
yeah and then you just kind of keep going until you see a shape that works
and then color scheme that works when I was I was working in the model shop at
the Industrial Light and Magic I did a lot of laser cutting and as such I drew
a lot of weird shapes and whenever I drew a particularly complex one I would
actually store it in a separate file that just was like the repository of all
weird shapes you must have photos like that yeah I do I also have a big file of
just like reference images like going back to mechanical stickers yeah I have
like a library of mechanical stickers that I just go back to every time for
reference just for inspiration just for inspiration
yeah yeah and as far as like for things like where I’m actually illustrating
something like the intergalactic waffles and even the scone risco it would be
like an iPod iPad sketch with a periscope with a pen okay um because
that’s where it’s going now yeah like paper and pencil or another thing I
smell of them I still try to draw on those notes though I do draw on a lot of
post-it notes you save them I do sometimes yeah yeah I still have I
think I I still must have something from the original mr. Moresco somewhere
is there a design in season four that you are particularly ecstatic about well
aside from the intergalactic waffles is pretty Amanda with us my favorite I
think that I’ve done for season 4 is the Tainan the time so I did all the
graphics for the Tyne in the China airlock and it was just so cool like it
just felt like you are in space and you’re in the future and like
everything’s so gritty and it all fell into place for you
oh yeah I was a huge sci-fi nerd growing up and it’s really funny like this is
like a perfect job oh yeah totally totally the perfect job for me because
it’s like again this coming full circle from like now I’m making Kenan right
you’re the person that’s I’m gonna go to to ask about and I used to go to like I
mean I still go to comic-con so I still get excited about cosplay and everything
and now there’s like people that are cosplaying stuff that I’ve done and like
replicating graphics that we’ve done and it’s just really cool that’s the best
channel thank you so much for giving me an eps into your world yeah


100 Replies to “Adam Savage Speaks to an Expanse Graphic Designer!”

  1. Veles says:

    No wonder she said "some Asian packaging". It's Japan. Packaging is alsomst a religion in Japan. The most fun, well thought, comfortable and practical packaging is designed there.

  2. Austin Whitaker says:

    “It started as a stock image” is the most honest graphic design statement lol.

  3. Rena A. Altman says:

    So cool, thanks! I never really thought about how in a sci-fi show you have to make EVERYTHING in the world. Obviously there's a lot of original design needed in, say, a modern legal drama but at least there you could buy real-life products to have in the background. It's so wonderful to see how much effort goes into world building. Brava, Kim and the whole Expanse team!

  4. GreenAppelPie says:

    That is a boring ass show after watching the first 3 episodes. Does it get any better? There’s just nothing original about it.

  5. Freddie Beltran says:

    I studied graphic design.

  6. Tim Tam's says:

    That thumbnail so meta.

  7. forgotn1 says:

    These are my favorite Tested vids. I love watching Adam and another person geek on that person's job/expertise. You can tell how much passion Kim has for her work and how much Adam loves hearing how his favorites worlds are built.

  8. Bakko says:

    Eating waffles with knife and fork is a thing..? A spoon for the jam and cream I could understand.. o___0

  9. aeg001 says:

    Once she was but the learner. Now, she is the master… Loving the Expanse Keep up the awesome work!

  10. James Patrick says:

    I love her work.

  11. Robert Shaver says:

    I hope Tested/Adam gets onto the set of the new production of Dune and Dune: The Sisterhood. I think they both will release by the end of 2020.

  12. Alexander Olsen says:

    I love expanse and adam for making these videos!

  13. Dan Newcomb says:

    They need to sneak some AvE warning stickers in somewhere.

  14. Coregeek Creations says:

    That waffle set speaks to every aesthetic bone in my body. Futura EX Bold is also my jam.

  15. Adam Savage’s Tested says:

    Catch Adam's other interviews with cast and crew of the Expanse here:

  16. Frank Ozaki says:

    as a graphic designer, i'm both devastated because her job and work is infinitely cooler than anything i've ever done, but also super heartened because her process and technique sounds very similar to mine.

  17. Derek Mcfadyen says:

    Shes like the female version of adam ! 😀😀😀

  18. Lori Jean says:

    Wow, I am so glad I found your Channel!! I have not had tv since 09 and I am a huge science geek! Thank you so very much, you are looking healthy! Happy New Years!

  19. Erik Peterson says: can print on craft card stock and do low runs.

  20. Joey Grable says:

    “Paper and pencil is not a thing….”

  21. Brittany Wegman says:

    sooooo….how do i apply for this job? (for real tho….)

  22. Tristan Bell says:

    YAY KIM! She's great! Her work is great! It's great to see her featured!

  23. Sweet Cthulhu says:

    Such an amazing job

  24. Snakewind says:

    She sounds like she's geeking over meeting Adam! I love it, lol.

  25. Jason Littlefield says:

    As a designer I love how she is still on both sides of the coin with excitment. So cool and it's not always easy to get into a job like that. 🖤🌟 Thanks for putting this series together Tested its been awesome to watch so far!

  26. Ta On says:

    Of course it would be a tattooed purple haired and pierced skinny-fat midget.

  27. Rapunzel Ghostbear says:

    So… nobody else mentioning the Starfleet ammo box with a hand written "We got this" on it in the shelf on the right?

  28. Chris Galardi says:

    i could listen to the two of them talk for hours. this honestly should have been a 30 minute segment at least.

  29. Tim Cameron619 says:

    Weird clown coloured hair gets an instant thumbs down.

  30. Eine kleine Nachtmusik says:

    Wow, fantastic. Kim is REALLY fucking good!

  31. Seumas MacKinlay says:


  32. Marcus Antonius says:

    dream job for me

  33. Debbie F. says:

    Very interesting!

  34. Jason Creech says:

    Great job on the show also good job to all the coworkers that help support the project.

  35. allluckyseven says:

    5:10 – "This is what food companies should actually do."
    No! You'll eat with those!

  36. Ed Be says:

    I love her work.

  37. Jokicmoki says:

    Can we buy these stickers/graphics somewhere? Neeedz them

  38. Janred says:

    The show is awesome!
    I am not much of a space dude and the first few episodes didnt catch me but once you are in… So good 😉

  39. Ben Corbeil says:

    It's awesome when two people who love what they do talk about what they do

  40. jfbeam says:

    Heh. Adam just proves how much he's an artist… There's a reason there are committees and large numbers of people involved in designing real world packaging. As an artist, you absolutely love the cutlery. As an engineer, while I can appreciate the aesthetics, my first thought as soon as that came into frame: there's no way you could do that for real — it's impossible to keep them sterile. (and there's only two sets.) Chopsticks (paper wrapped) might work well like that, 'tho.

  41. Ben Kapitan says:

    The graphic arts department on this show does such an amazing job that it is easy to forget you are watching a fictional universe. The world is so thoroughly built that it makes it feel completely real.

  42. californiakayaker N6GRG says:

    Wow, she's amazing. So much of the flavor and look of the show came from her ! Outstanding ! An inspiration for everyone, become good at something you love, and get a job doing what you love. It does take some of the enjoyment away from that avocation. But, it will come back when you retire. I still love doing what I did as a job, which started as my favorite hobby !

  43. Darren of Photos says:

    Imagine being the designer of a bunch of things, then going to a ComiCon and seeing your work go past on someone's cosplay. You probably wouldn't stop them and say 'hey, I designed that' because, well, they may not believe you. Or they would believe you and they'd be totally stoked. Dunno. Anyway, superb segment. The enthusiasm just bubbled everywhere. Probably for a lot of us at home too.

  44. mwmnmwm says:

    sooner or later I'm going to have to get around to watching this show, prob never will, but all the props look nice.

  45. Jeff King says:

    Toronto has so many incredibly talented individuals working in the film industry.

  46. RageSkoda says:

    I'm a huge fan of The Expanse and I must say you're doing a fantastic job, Kim! The set design and graphic design for The Expanse is truly excellent so thank you Kim for your amazing work!

  47. postulusml says:

    I love your work. I know how small I am, but I wanted you to know.

  48. Chris Kettleson says:

    The dream– to literally only do the fun parts of my job.

  49. Antonio Tyler says:

    I remember reading about all the graphic design for Blade Runner, but this is nuts!

  50. Thomas van den dries says:

    I love that you can feel the amount of respect adam has for these creators

  51. ZodZulu says:

    Nice to see someone like graphic designer getting some attention. She does wonderful work.

  52. 2 Old Geeks Talking says:

    Kim putting her Art major to work….good for her. Taking something fantastic and making it look ordinary takes skill.

  53. Karlos Sain says:

    You sound like a mix between Mark Hamill and Robert Downey, Jr

  54. PiDsMedia says:

    Soooo,… This would be the talented artist and geek who added the Starship Troopers reference to the media reports on Naomi's comms, with the "Would you like to know more?" tag.

  55. Vic Miller says:

    You need to patent the cutlery idea. And take a look at old military mission patches for more ideas, some of them are just wonderful to look at.

  56. wavion2 says:

    SPOILER WARNING: The Season 5 premiere will feature what will colloquially become known as the "Amos Towel Scene."

  57. Paul Gee says:

    Too bad The Expanse is such a crap show in general. I finally had to stop watching somewhere in S2.
    I've never read the books. I've been told by people who have, that The Expanse is MUCH more understandable,
    which makes it "better", but that is an Epic Fail, because you shouldn't have to read the books to be able to
    understand what is going on. Unfortunate.

  58. SPFDRum says:

    Her enthusiasm is infectious…

  59. Tarka Jedi says:

    I had to Sub after Adam used cables and dropped at 80% !!! Then i found this fun video!!! Really cool !!! The best Hard Scfi show in the world clearly is that way because it has talent at every level !!!

  60. Capt. Marco Hawk says:

    this is why i love the expanse so much the detail in everything, and yes that waffle package was a awesome design

  61. Bruce Willi Bruce says:

    Make a cartoon version of Mulan 1998 sword next time

  62. RandomBytes says:

    "You're going to find that regularly with life." lol, Full circle comeuppance, haha

  63. Daniel Tsosie says:

    I'm amazed the card board has to be printed in texture on vinyl. So crazy.

  64. OOZ662 says:

    I love that Adam's so excited to ask his questions but also "gets out of the way" when an interviewee starts to respond. Plenty of other people would keep talking until their question was completely out.

  65. Belinda Short says:

    The art is wonderful in the show. It's so amazing that Adam has done so many behind the scenes things. Keep it up I love it

  66. matt Keilty says:

    As a graphic designer for 15 years, it’s been a dream of mine to do it in this industry, so far all I’ve managed is movie poster artwork, but it’s still my dream to do on set/prop graphic design!

  67. portland 182 says:

    Wild to see Kim talk about her work, I have been obsessing over her mission patches for ages.

  68. HEAT SEEKER says:

    Terrible to see Adam is gone full WOKE. Mediocrity celebrated for the sake of representation.

  69. C Ka says:

    What is the fonts name?

  70. zep909 says:

    Did we see that backpack in a previous video? Cool stuff, I laughed at the reveal of the cardboard textured vinyl 🙂

  71. Псина Злой says:

    Waited for you to talk about the rest of the patches but you never did 😔 The one that says деревня Потёмкин especially. And the chinese one that is upside down 😌

  72. Jeremiah Bachmann says:

    This chick is SUPER hot.

  73. Susan Thomson-Lafosse says:

    he talked with a purple haired elite socialist twit from Hollywood

  74. MidnightSt says:

    I hope you also have interview with the IT UI designer.

  75. Lorenz Siggel says:

    Great! How can anyone dislike this!? Creativity with strict time constraints is hard work but Kim makes it sound easy and fun. I loved the books and the show is better than ok but those constraints….time, money……I'm looking forward to the next season anyway

  76. Viborgdk says:

    They are doing such an amazing job on the show, not only with graphics design, but with everything. A simple thing like a warning label or stickers on work clothes, might seem like a trivial thing, but they need to look like they fit in the universe. I don't notice the patches on clothes very much or the warning lables, you see them at a glance, and personally I think that's when it's done right. You watch a scene of whatever, warning lables on the walls or something just telling you it's something a person would need to handle carefully (or what ever it would be about). If it doesn't look natural, it would stick out like a sour thumb, and that's defiantly not what you want. This is what I think they do so right in the show! The sets, everything in the universe they've created feels like it belongs in the right place, that's why I love the show so much. That and great story obviously.

  77. slingshot1961 says:

    What a cool, talented woman. Just like the cast, she is the perfect choice for the job. The Graphics on the Expanse are amazing.

  78. Captain zac says:

    Is that a star trek crate behind Adam?

  79. Leonid Andreev says:

    She mentions a particular airlock as her favorite design from season 4 – which one was it?

  80. Aaron Gross says:

    This kind of work in classic films like alien, jurassic park, bladerunner, etc. Is what got me into graphic design. Now being a professional designer I have grown an even deeper appreciation for this artform.

  81. jackNinety2onehundred says:

    really hope my life comes full circle and i can do cool stuff like you guys one day. idk if that day will ever come. things have been so bad lately. nobody will pay you for your dreams or for being a good person, finding suitable work to make my dreams happen is so hard when dealing with anxiety, depression and very likely PTSD. but if i can find some opportunity i could atleast put some good into this world. just like you guys, your awesome videos make me happy.

  82. hi says:

    One of the most well produced TV shows in recent years. I'm addicted to it, can't wait for Season 5!

  83. Scott Hedrick says:

    I want to see a Fruity-Oatie Bar.

  84. Lacey Graham says:

    Everyone needing beauty products or make up especially for cosplay check out my wife's beauty products website

  85. wordkyle says:

    It's nice to see creative people who are not also excessively weird. (Or at least who can present themselves as relatively normal.)

  86. Cleetus the Dog says:

    Mind blown 🤯 that the waffle take out packaging wasn't actually cardboard! It's crazy how they innovate, design and create everything. Awesome Sauce 🤪

  87. Sailor of Fortune says:

    How is that future font name spelled?

  88. David Sharp says:

    Can I have a savage industries jump suit

  89. Gr8Success says:

    this chinese fat woman is kinda overrated for something she pulled from google . she's mediocre at best

  90. C N says:

    Everything about your show, Tested is amazing. Thank you.

  91. Laurance Moseley says:

    " WE GOT THIS". . . .So talented

  92. Galakyllz says:

    Wow, what a great interview. It's great to see people that love what they do. You can't beat a job that lets you create interesting art (no matter how small sometimes).

  93. Matthew Sinclair says:

    "I make canon now" is one of the coolest things I've heard in a Tested video.

  94. FormerHumanX says:

    I want space waffles now.

  95. Raileigh Greene says:

    That’s so awesome! That’s so cool.

  96. Aries Darkmage2 says:

    I am currently looking for a graphic art designer that's inside of Missouri anybody who is willing to talk to me send me a Facebook message Joseph white on there and I will get back to you as quickly as possible going to try to make some video games if you're along for the whole you will be making a good commission for me and promise you if we make that big cut you'll be there for the rest of the time being

  97. Ryan Bagby says:

    I so want the savage industries

  98. mauimudpup says:

    I hate having a thing I want to research and can't find it online. Mechanical stickers just added a new one. All of the ones that pop up in google are for vinyl cut stickers

  99. SiXiam says:

    Just downloaded that font: Futura Extra Bold.

  100. Flare Choo says:

    Am I the only one who is wondering what is the story behind the Neo (New) Tokyo mission patch being upside down?

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