Pentagram partner Marina Willer recently ‘felt that the world has been going to such a bad place with so much xenophobia, hatred and mistreatment of refugees,’ that this was the right time to make a film about her father’s family. The Czech family managed to escape the Nazi rule in their occupied country and ended up in Brazil. The critically acclaimed movie ‘Red Trees’ explores today’s refugee crisis through the lens of the family story.

As a graphic designer, Willer has led the design of iconic brand identities, including the Tate, Serpentine, Southbank Centre, Amnesty, and Oxfam. She studied Graphic Design at the Royal College of Art, where she has subsequently served as an examiner. Prior to joining Pentagram, Willer was head creative director for Wolff Olins. She is a member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale.

Next to her graphic work, Willer always has been interested in moving image. Her short films and promotional ads have been awarded and shown at major film festivals. ‘Red Trees’ is her first full length feature film.

In making the film, ‘being a graphic designer has helped,’ Willer told Design Week. ‘The precision of the images is so important with this type of narrative, to help you really take in the words. The film is very image-led but also very words-led, the narration is very strong.’

Meanwhile, designers can learn from movie makers too, Willer says. ‘Designers could really learn from film-makers in terms of storytelling. Design is not about pretty pictures, it’s also about telling a story and everything coming together.’