The first true involvement I felt on a profession project was doing research for a series of films for The Truman Library produced by The Ink Tank. It's also the most fun part for me.
For one project we're working on, we have to be culturally specific as well as reproduce a person's likeness.
The filmmakers we're working with provided these, otherwise I'd have spent a lot of time tracking them down.
Every project has its own graphic and cinematic language. It's generally impractical to create one from whole cloth, so using terminology that's already out there is a good start.