That same design language can be seen inside the rest of the Wallace Corporation. It's a sparse but immediately recognisable look. Territory's goal was to build something that felt like Wallace's own, personalized operating system. So specialized, in fact, that Wallace wouldn't require the usual labels and iconography found on mass-market platforms like Windows and MacOS. It was designed for him, and is, therefore, supposed to be an extension of his tastes.
Wallace's employees, of course, aren't Wallace. So the implication is that everyone inside the company is using an operating system designed for someone else. "It speaks of corporate arrogance and confidence," Sheldon-Hicks said. "And a power that is beyond needing to worry about the masses."
The LAPD is a little different. K reports to Lieutenant Joshi, played by Robin Wright. The monitors in her office are chunky and the screens have a blue tinge to them. They're functional and better than what most of the public has access to, but a far cry from what Wallace Corporation uses. It's a reflection of how law enforcement and emergency services are run currently. The UK's National Health Service, for instance, still uses Windows XP. Police often have to wait to acquire new technology for their department.
Layering that context into screen designs can be tricky. The technology had to look outdated for 2049, but given the time period, also relatively futuristic. "It's old technology compared to Wallace," Popplestone explained, "but it's still advanced for us. So we had to make it look modern and more advanced than what we've got, yet still somehow slightly knackered and dilapidated."
Territory also had to be mindful of the original film and the off-screen events that Villeneuve had envisioned between 2019 and 2049. It was a relatively straightforward task; the sheer length of time and the cataclysmic event (partly explored in the Black Out 22 short by Shinichiro Watanabe) meant there was little the team had to reference or honor. That was by design. Villeneuve wanted a world "reset," so everyone on the project could freely explore new ideas. The film has Spinners, rain-soaked cities, and Deckard's iconic blaster, but otherwise there's little in the way of technological tissue.
"It was a completely clean slate," Eszenyi said.
Almost every screen Territory produced serves a specific purpose in the story. They help K uncover a new clue, or learn something interesting about another character. But each one also says something more about the world of Blade Runner 2049. What's common or unusual for people in different jobs and social classes. They hint at the state of the economy, the rate of innovation and how the development of artificial intelligence -- replicant and otherwise -- is affecting people's relationships and behavior with technology.
"It's a much more subtle, contextual narrative," Popplestone said.
Take the market. Partway through the movie K stands in the middle of a square, contemplating a series of photos. The film is focused on these images, but in the background you can see large, illuminated food adverts. They're square in shape, doubling as buttons that dispense orders like a giant gumball machine. Up above, animated banners advertise Coca-Cola and other food and drink products. It's one of the few times Territory designed graphics that didn't have a specific story function. They're still a point of interest, however, providing a rare look at how people live in this future version of Los Angeles.
Territory also had to think about how its screens would look in relation to the camera. Some were filmed up close, while others were only visible in the background. It was important, therefore, that designs were readable at different distances. To test this, the team constantly squashed and scaled up its graphics to see what they would look like on screen. "Does it have the detail to have a close lens on it? And can you go wide, and blur it out, and still read it?" Sheldon-Hicks said.