Generative art for a book on the cult Netflix sci-fi series

Applied Works collaborated with designer Zoë Bather on Inside Black Mirror, the first official book about the cult Netflix series. Using a series of code-based filters, we developed a visual aesthetic for the book’s chapter openers, inspired by Charlie Brooker’s nightmarish visions of our relationship with technology.

Tech-driven approach

The Black Mirror anthology examines society’s increasing dependency on new technology, and the potential for chaos when we lose control of it. We wanted to reflect this theme by building a series of digital filters to deconstruct or regenerate a base image from each episode, allowing us to relinquish a certain level of control over the visual aesthetic.

Emoji filter

Our emoji mosaic filter redraws stills from the show as a tapestry of emojis, tailored to reflect the theme of the episode – 15 Million Merits for instance, is created from hundreds of bicycles, microphones, notes and stars.

Vector filter

Our vector explosion filter uses core motifs from different episodes, like the White Bear icon, and explodes them across the page.

Pixel sorting

The pixel sorting filter deconstructs the base image into layers using brightness thresholds, then sorts each pixel in an area by colour.

Offset filter

The colour offset filter splits images into their component RGB values, redrawing each channel in a screen of different shapes with a slight offset and transparency to create layering effects.

19 Chapters

We applied the four base filters across the title page and 19 chapters, creating a varied but cohesive set of artwork.

Zoë Bather and Applied Works have given Inside Black Mirror a suitably eerie aesthetic

Aimée McLaughlin Creative Review

Digital afterlife

To coincide with the release of Bandersnatch, a new, interactive episode of Black Mirror released in December 2018, we built a website where users can create looping GIFs using three of the four book filters, giving the chapter openers a digital afterlife. Users can pick any of the source images from the 19 episodes used in the book, along with Bandersnatch, or use their own image to create a looping GIF to share on social media.