QI (TV Show and Set Design)…

The current set of ‘QI’:

I chose to research the british game show, ‘QI’ (also known as ‘Quite Interesting’). Up until 2016 the panel show was hosted by TV presenter, actor, comedian, author, journalist, broadcaster and film director, Stephen Fry, who has now been replaced by comedian, author and presenter, Sandy Toksvig.

The TV show’s set is designed around the shows name, ‘QI.’ The ‘Q’ takes center stage, shaped as the letter ‘q’ but also as a magnifying glass. The ‘I’ is the subject of the magnifying glass, placed in the middle of it. The magnifying glass’ shape serves as the panel of which the presenter and contestants sit behind. The rounded shape of the panel helps the contestants become more integrated which aids in the comedic dynamic of the show as it helps the guests bounce banter off of one and other. The circular center is lit softly as not to take attention away from the members of the panel who are lit in a more harsh white light.

Behind the seat of the presenter is a large mural and again, the same logo appears in the middle of it. Surrounding the logo is a series of four circles, becoming larger in size the further out they are. The circles have different examples of texts on them, such as hieroglyphs and mathematics which is a nod to the ‘trivial pursuit’ aspect of the show.

Another feature to the set is the two large screens that sit behind the contestants. These screens generally show images that relate to the questions being asked. If a contestant wants to answer a question they have to press a buzzer which is located on the panel in front of them.

As for the colours incorporated into the set design, they generally gear more towards oranges and, blues and black. Orange appears in the lighting which has a slight tinge in areas that don’t necessarily need to be well lit. It also appears in two of the circles on the ‘QI’ mural. As for the rest of the set, blues and black seem to fill up most of the set which benefits in having more focus on the presenter and contestants as well as the big projector screens and the multiple uses of the ‘QI’ logo.

Finally: camera positioning and setup. Multiple cameras are used for the filming of the popular TV show, ‘QI.’ There are two camera operators on either side of the set who film the panelists, a camera that points center, filming the presenter, with an autocue attached to it. Another is hung from above the set for wide shots and lastly a ‘jib’ (a camera on a long swinging pole) which is used to film long shots during the intro of the show.

Set designers:

Set designers are responsible for the look of a show as it is presented on television. However, set designers are responsible for the look of sets on films and in theatre shows as well. They have to be aware of camera positioning, lighting, layout and use of colour to optimise the aesthetic of the programme. They are responsible for major design features like the magnifying glass/QI logo in the center of the set of my chosen game show:


When creating a set, set designers have to keep budget in mind as well consulting multiple members of the production crew like the director, producer and costume designer among other members of staff.


qi moodboard.jpg

Concept art and detailed floor plan:


Redesigned logo:



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