Pinocchio / National Theatre

Submitted By Emilie Chen


The production
John Tiffany directed this co-production between the National Theatre and Disney telling the story of the wooden puppet who dreamt of becoming a real boy. The story followed the plot of the Disney cartoon with one addition: a prologue introducing the tree Pinocchio is made off being chopped down by the Fox.

The brief
John Tiffany described the story as a tale of metamorphosis and asked for the image to show a tree on the verge of becoming a boy or a boy on the verge of turning into a tree.

The concept
I was looking at Bryan Nash Gill relief prints from the cross-sections of trees and the lines reminded me of a head scan of Michael Phelps I had worked on in my previous role. I realized I could distort the rings of the tree to create the profile of the hero, suggesting it had morphed into a boy over time.

The execution
I enlisted the help of freelance designer Jamie Malcolm to create a Photoshop visual based on the pencil sketch I had drawn.
His visual was sent to Disney, who loved it, and my creative director and I commissioned CGI artist Real Life Living Things to create the final artwork and an animated trailer.

The reception
The image was used to promote the show in print and on the underground, and I worked with the National Theatre Publishing and Commercial Operations team to create a bespoke activity book and a merchandising range.
Disney absolutely loved the artwork so much they offered us leather notebooks with the image embossed on the cover as a gift for the show opening!


To promote the National Theatre Christmas 2017 family show, a co-production with Disney.


National Theatre


National Theatre in-house design studio







Real Life Living Things




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