The Relation of Design and Identity in Cinema Works: The Example of The Lord of the Rings

Sinema Eserlerinde Tasarım Kimlik İlişkisi


  • Ahmet Şadi Ardatürk



Identity, object, cinema, design, the lord of the rings


The phenomena of displaying, watching and viewing, which are as old as mankind, have existed in different forms and methods throughout the history; evolving, developing, and continuing to exist alongside humans. This development not only changed and improved the essence of the phenomenon with various techniques but also renewed the perception of the viewer along with it.

In terms of knowing, perhaps, the most frequently employed faculty is the sense of sight. Although the distribution among the employment of different senses is known to be quite balanced in the early periods of human history, in today’s world, the sense of sight is clearly the most frequently employed faculty. The relevance established with the visual should fundamentally be handled in this context. Whether the visual is a sign, a performance, or a work of art, it forms direct and indirect contexts with the individual and the viewer.

In terms of knowing and perceiving visuality, plenty of different techniques and methods have been used in the course of history. Today, cinema exists in a central position in terms of viewing and knowing despite its relatively short history compared to several other forms of visual art due to its technological requirements. This position exists in a reality that majorly impacts the form of both narration and perception. The cinema, perhaps the most effective visual art in terms of conveying messages.

As in many other fields, the phenomenon of design can also be considered among the leading actors in the field of cinema. The design can be read in every aspect of the cinema’s existence as a form of organization within its own essence. Beyond the simple act of problem solving, this organization involves providing an aesthetic and ergonomic solution to the problem. It forms meaning and context. At this point, the creation process comes into existence from its own essence and evolves from an idea to reality.

Cinema offers an organizational integrity that includes different design points such as space, character, fiction, object, etc. At this point, these design elements turn into parameters that comprise the reality of the cinematic work. Cinema and design exist as two different representations of the same movement. The same complex structure can be observed in many areas of art either in mental or productional terms. In particular, art fields that contain fiction, action patterns, character, and planning exist in this contextuality, just like design.

This study focuses precisely on the relationship between meta and identity, which constitutes one of these parameters. The study came to life with the idea that the designed objects used in the cinema works are more than just simple objects. The moments when certain discourses of the author are interpreted through metas make up the subject of the discussion.

In this context, J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy constitutes the main research area of the study in order to investigate the related thought. In this field, war instruments are considered as basic objects, especially as elements that relate to identity and character, but also create spaces with body and fiction. However, other books and movies such as The Hobbit and The Silmarillion can be expressed as additional areas that are mentioned when necessary.

The study interprets the information obtained from the scenes from a perspective of design, making detailed and comparative analyzes of the war instruments used in the scenes. In this regard, the instruments have been depicted one by one, which enabled to reveal and perceive their differences. The study objectively analyzes the concepts such as the stories of the instruments, the background of the people who own them, their lives and deeds, their heroism, etc., and then examines their structures, places, narration styles, and positions within the work.

The study is structured in a way that associates the design and artistic features of the relevant instruments such as their functional, ergonomic, and aesthetic qualities with identity and character, as well as in a way that discovers their discourses within the work. The study, which exists in the intersection of cinema and design, touches on the points that unite production and representation, meta and identity, form and character, phenomenon and story, etc.

This discussion, which creates contexts between instruments, fiction, characters, and stories, concludes that the objects used in cinema works are, beyond being just functional objects, a means of representation, markers of the characters’ identities, and carriers of past details that the audience is unaware of and unable to see in the film.