Stair Bears

A self-initiated project from creative agency DBLG creates a charming stop motion animation using 50 3D printed model bears

Natalie Greenwood, a producer at DBLG says “We often undertake studio projects as a platform to experiment and above all have fun. Fascinated by 3D printing we embarked on a project to explore the use of stop frame animation using 3D printing technology. Collaborating with our friends at animation studio Blue Zoo we set ourselves the goal of creating a two-second continuous loop using a bear originally designed for our Animal Planet rebrand [which we covered here]. After four weeks of continuous printing we created 50 3D printed bears walking up stairs each making a frame of our animation.”

Here’s the finished project

 

And some making-of shots

The 100 Archive: documenting Irish design

Ireland’s creative community has launched an online archive documenting visual communications in the country. We spoke to designer David Wall about the project…

At this year’s Offset conference in Dublin last month, the three-day schedule featured a range of talks from Irish creatives: photographer Richard Mosse discussed his stunning images from Eastern Congo, Chris Judge spoke about his award-winning children’s book, The Lonely Beast, and street artist Maser reflected on his colourful and thought provoking public artworks. On smaller stages, studios and educators spoke about their creative heroes, getting commissioned and judging good design – and several mentioned the 100 Archive.

The 100 Archive is a website documenting visual communications in Ireland – from illustration and animation to album covers, packaging, identities, exhibition graphics and logos.

The site is divided into two parts: 100 Future, which acts as a rolling record of contemporary professional work in the country and 100 Past; an archive of the 100 finest projects submitted each year, as well as examples of great graphic design and communications dating back to the 1960s.

The project was initiated by four Dublin studios – Atelier, Conor & David, Detail and Studio AAD. Atelier founder David Smith first suggested the idea at AGI Open in Barcelona in 2011, when he became the first Irish member of AGI, followed by Johnny Kelly a year later.

The archive was officially launched late last year and since then, it has received hundreds of submissions: a curatorial panel are in the process of judging the finest projects from 2010-13 for 100 Past, which launches next month, and they have also trawled archives and personal collections for interesting items from the past five decades.

“Ireland has a rich visual culture and history of visual communication,” says Conor & David co-founder David Wall. “Design competitions have played a vital role in the setting and raising of standards, but they haven’t left us with an extensive record of the work done here. The ultimate goal of the 100 Archive is to establish such a record,” he adds.

To submit work to the 100 Archive, creatives pay a 20 Euro fee and their entry is assessed by a professional panel who decide if it’s suitable. The panel is currently made up of Johnny Kelly, Alastair Keady (Hexhibit), Susan Murphy (Ogilvy & Mather), Gillian Reidy (Penhouse) and Eamon Spelmen (Limerick School of Art & Design).

The criteria for submissions is broad, says Wall, and any work that has been produced in response to a commission and led by an Irish designer or created in Ireland, is eligible.

“If the work can be described as any of the following: good, interesting, different, unexpected, simple, modest, clear, well executed, considered, culturally relevant or noteworthy, it can be added to 100 Future,” he adds. If three out of five judges opt to include a project then it is uploaded, and judges aren’t aware of how their peers have voted.

There are local and global awards schemes for Irish creatives who’d like to see their work recognised, of course – some of which are documented online – but Wall says that as a non-competitive scheme, the 100 Archive offers something quite different and is more inclusive.

“As a non-competitive space for showcasing work, the archive offers a celebration of graphic design rather than the exaltation of a small group. Crediting of work is centred around individuals…so as the archive grows, it offers a rich history of the people behind the practice,” he says. “For those at one removed from the day-to-day industry here — whether they’re students or designers based abroad — the Archive [also] provides an overview of ongoing work here,” he adds.

The 100 projects added to 100 Past each year are chosen by an additional curatorial panel, which will change every three years. The current line-up consists of Brenda Dermody, Gerard Fox, Oonagh Young, Linda King and Liam McComish, who have also been responsible for sourcing historical work from archives and personal collections.

As well as its core staff, the site lists a number of ‘founders’ who have made the site’s launch possible through donations. The team has received hundreds of submissions for inclusion so far and Wall says many have dedicated their own time and resources to sourcing archive material. These objects will be launched on 100 Past later this year, says Wall, and include packaging, album artwork and editorial design.

“One of the things I’m most looking forward to seeing is the evolution of the Tayto pack. Tayto is one of Ireland’s longest established crisp brands — their packaging has passed through the hands of many designers over the years so that will make an interesting case study,” he says.

“Another gem that has come to light is Campaign magazine, which came to us from ICAD. They are the oldest representative body for creatives in Ireland and have been working with us to identify projects and individuals of merit from their extensive archive – Campaign was their magazine in the 1960s and 1970s and some of the cover designs are a joy to behold,” he adds.

More recent examples include the cover of U2’s Boy, designed by Steve Averill, which Wall says is one of his earliest memories of graphic design. “I remember being struck by the image on the cassette cover when I was barely older than the boy pictured on it. Steve’s son Jon is also a practicing designer, and part of the 100 Archive community too.”

The 100 Archive is a community project, and Wall says the response to the site has been overwhelming. “At each step, we’ve found more and more people who are willing to help  – one of the exciting parts of the process has been to forge new connections with designers whose work I knew but didn’t previously know personally,” he adds. In the future, he hopes there will be an exhibition of featured work from the 100 Archive, too.

It’s an interesting model and The 100 Archive provides a great platform for the country’s designers to share their achievements, work together and review their practice on a regular basis. The site should also prove a valuable source of inspiration for aspiring creatives, and a useful reference point for designers based abroad.

Images (from top): Dublin UNESCO City of Literature Stamp by The Stone Twins; What Happens Next is a Secret exhibition catalogue by Ciaran OGaora; Insular typeface by Naoise Ó Conchubhair; Le Cool exhibition poster by Rory McCormick and Rossi McAuley; Back to the Start by Johnny Kelly; DIT Masters of Arts programme by Cian McKenna; Ard Bia cookbook by Me&Him&You; David Smith & Oran Day’s artwork for Ghost Maps; Wayne Daly’s Archizines; a 1963 cover of Campaign magazine;  album artwork for U2’s Boy; AGI Open identity by Dan Flynn, album art for Dulra by David Donohoe studio and The Lonely Beast ABC app by Chris Judge. For more info on each project see the100archive.com

Nokia enlists students to create phone imagery

Above: by Akseli Valmunen of Lahti University of Applied Sciences


As part of its Future Creatives scheme, Nokia is working with students around the world to create wallpaper imagery for its phones

The pictures are pre-loaded onto a variety of Nokia devices as ‘lock-screen’ images. Students are paid €500 per image used while the college faculty receives a payment of €2500 to be spent ‘in pursuit of photographic excellence’.

The scheme, which started just over a year ago, is run by Nokia Design’s head of visual content David Harrigan and his London-based team. Previously, Harrigan explains, the lock-screen images on the company’s phones came from a variety of sources, licenced in a variety of ways, some of which were also used by the brand’s competitors.

 

By Sanni Siira, Lahti

 

Commissioning original imagery from students, shot using its phones, Harrigan explains, enables the company to “build up a bespoke range of images that we have complete clarity over” (Nokia buys the rights to the ‘digital entity’ of each image to use on all its devices while students retain their copyright and are identified in the file name of each picture). The images are specifically shot to show off the phones’ technical abilities and can also be tailored to local demands. So, for example, if a service provider in China would prefer local imagery to be installed on its phones, Harrigan will be able to provide that or, if such imagery doesn’t exist as yet, will commission it via the network of university partners his team is building up.

 

By Sarah Jun, SVA

 

Nokia piloted the idea with students from Arts University Bournemouth and LCC but has now run the scheme with Lahti University of Applied Sciences in Finland, SVA in New York, China Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing and, most recently, Michaelis School of Fine Art at the University of Cape Town.

Nokia works with 20 students in each location. “All participate in a week long intensive content creation process. Each student is loaned a Nokia Lumia 1020 for the duration of the project,” Harrigan explains. “We provide a creative brief that we share in an initial three hour workshop at the beginning of the project. Each student then has one week to shoot images for us as defined by our brief and references. During the week we have a series of workshops at the University to work ‘one on one’ with the students, giving them advice on the direction of the imagery that they have captured and the direction that they are heading. My team is also on hand to advise on the features of the device and answer any technical queries.

 

By Leng Wen, China Central Academy of Fine Arts

“At the end of the week there is a final large sharing workshop, where we again meet with the students, review their images and then wind up the project. Once the images have been edited back here in the London design studio and all stakeholders have been consulted we then decide upon which images will be selected for use within our Nokia devices.

For each of the images we accept we pay a standard fee of €500 per image with no limit on how many images may be chosen from each individual student. The university receives a donation towards the faculty of €2500 to use as they wish.”

By Denis Twerenbold, China Central Academy of Fine Arts

 

Harrigan is about to run what he calls Chapter Two of the project. In May, three students – one student each from New York, Beijing and Lahti – will come to London for a briefing before flying off to either Iceland, the Western Isles or Barcelona on assignment, armed with the latest Nokia phone. Nokia will be looking to buy €10,000 worth of images in total from the three of them.

Next, the project will extend beyond photography to textile design and animation. The Nokia team is working with students at the RCA to create physical textile designs which will be used as textural backgrounds on the phones. The animation students may either work in partnership with textile students to create moving image pieces together or create something on their own. Again, both students and faculties will be paid for their contributions.

More on Future Creatives here

 

Zhang Chao, China Central Academy of Fine Arts

 

 

Nokia enlists students to create phone imagery

Above: by Akseli Valmunen of Lahti University of Applied Sciences


As part of its Future Creatives scheme, Nokia is working with students around the world to create wallpaper imagery for its phones

The pictures are pre-loaded onto a variety of Nokia devices as ‘lock-screen’ images. Students are paid €500 per image used while the college faculty receives a payment of €2500 to be spent ‘in pursuit of photographic excellence’.

The scheme, which started just over a year ago, is run by Nokia Design’s head of visual content David Harrigan and his London-based team. Previously, Harrigan explains, the lock-screen images on the company’s phones came from a variety of sources, licenced in a variety of ways, some of which could have been used by the brand’s competitors.

 

By Sanni Siira, Lahti

 

Commissioning original imagery from students, shot using its phones, Harrigan explains, enables the company to “build up a bespoke range of images that we have complete clarity over” (Nokia buys the rights to the ‘digital entity’ of each image to use on all its devices while students retain their copyright and are identified in the file name of each picture). The images are specifically shot to show off the phones’ technical abilities and can also be tailored to local demands. So, for example, if a service provider in China would prefer local imagery to be installed on its phones, Harrigan will be able to provide that or, if such imagery doesn’t exist as yet, will commission it via the network of university partners his team is building up.

 

By Sarah Jun, SVA

 

Nokia piloted the idea with students from Arts University Bournemouth and LCC but has now run the scheme with Lahti University of Applied Sciences in Finland, SVA in New York, China Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing and, most recently, Michaelis School of Fine Art at the University of Cape Town.

Nokia works with 20 students in each location. “All participate in a week long intensive content creation process. Each student is loaned a Nokia Lumia 1020 for the duration of the project,” Harrigan explains. “We provide a creative brief that we share in an initial three hour workshop at the beginning of the project. Each student then has one week to shoot images for us as defined by our brief and references. During the week we have a series of workshops at the University to work ‘one on one’ with the students, giving them advice on the direction of the imagery that they have captured and the direction that they are heading. My team is also on hand to advise on the features of the device and answer any technical queries.

 

By Leng Wen, China Central Academy of Fine Arts

“At the end of the week there is a final large sharing workshop, where we again meet with the students, review their images and then wind up the project. Once the images have been edited back here in the London design studio and all stakeholders have been consulted we then decide upon which images will be selected for use within our Nokia devices.

For each of the images we accept we pay a standard fee of €500 per image with no limit on how many images may be chosen from each individual student. The university receives a donation towards the faculty of €2500 to use as they wish.”

By Denis Twerenbold, China Central Academy of Fine Arts

 

Harrigan is about to run what he calls Chapter Two of the project. In May, three students – one student each from New York, Beijing and Lahti – will come to London for a briefing before flying off to either Iceland, the Western Isles or Barcelona on assignment, armed with the latest Nokia phone. Nokia will be looking to buy €10,000 worth of images in total from the three of them.

Next, the project will extend beyond photography to textile design and animation. The Nokia team is working with students at the RCA to create physical textile designs which will be used as textural backgrounds on the phones. The animation students may either work in partnership with textile students to create moving image pieces together or create something on their own. Again, both students and faculties will be paid for their contributions.

More on Future Creatives here

 

Zhang Chao, China Central Academy of Fine Arts

 

 

Patatap turns your keyboard into a musical instrument

Google designer Jono Brandel has developed the perfect tool for a little Friday procrastination – a website that lets you create musical sounds and colourful animations with your computer keyboard…

Press any key at patatap.com and you’ll trigger a sound and create a shape. Pressing spacebar refreshes both the colour palette and the sounds, which range from bells and whistles to drums and lasers.

Here’s a few of our experiments:

And you can try it for yourself here – just make sure you plug in your headphones before getting started.

The site’s designed to work on any browser but unsurprisingly, it’s quickest on Chrome, and you can read more about the concept on Brandel’s website

Patatap turns your keyboard into a musical instrument

Google designer Jono Brandel has developed the perfect tool for a little Friday procrastination – a website that lets you create musical sounds and colourful animations with your computer keyboard…

Press any key at patatap.com and you’ll trigger a sound and create a shape. Pressing spacebar refreshes both the colour palette and the sounds, which range from bells and whistles to drums and lasers.

Here’s a few of our experiments:

And you can try it for yourself here – just make sure you plug in your headphones before getting started.

The site’s designed to work on any browser but unsurprisingly, it’s quickest on Chrome, and you can read more about the concept on Brandel’s website

Designs of the Year show opens

The Design Museum’s Designs of the Year show opened last night. As usual, there’s an eclectic array of projects, from the worthy to the quirky, but it’s difficult to spot a frontrunner for the big prize

 

 

If anyone’s ever challenged you with the old “what is design?” question, sending them along to the Design Museum show would be a good place to start. Its breadth, from fashion to vehicle design (Sadie Williams dress and VW XL1 car shown above), type to architecture really brings home the multifacted potential of design today.

 

Model of Makoko Floating School

 

But this diversity also poses a problem for the judges who convene on Monday March 31 with the unenviable task of choosing a Design of the Year. Comparing projects so different in intent, scale and budget is enormously difficult.

 

 

That difficulty has been offset in previous years by the presence of an obvious frontrunner at an early stage – One Laptop Per Child, for example, or last year’s winner, Gov.UK. Looking round the show last night, it was hard to think of an equivalently obvious candidate (see our post on the nominees here) but I’d suggest the ABC syringe which changes colour when exposed to air thus alerting users to its pre-use or potential exposure to infection, might fit the bill.

 

e-Go single-seater aircraft byGiotto Castelli, Tony Bishop, Rob Martin and Malcolm Bird

One thing that does stand out for me this year is the exhibition design. This is a really difficult show to pull together coherently. This year’s designers, Hunting & Narud with visual identity and graphic design by OK-RM, have headlined each project with a one-line explanation of its purpose: ‘A tactile watch for blind people’, for example, or ‘An identity built around the letter W’.

This proves to be a simple and highly effective way of drawing in the visitor to the more detailed information on each project which is presented on cards atop long thin stems next to each piece. It also provides a kind of snapshot sense of what the show is all about as you look aroudn the room – great ideas to improve our lives. But which deserves to be Design of the Year?

 

MEWE car, Musem Jumex model

 

Hybrid 24 electric bicycle by A2B

 

Iro Collection by Jo Nagasaka.


Prada SS14 Collection by Miuccia Prada. All above images by Luke Hayes

 

Grand-Central by Thibault Brevet

 

Vitamins’ Lego Calendar and Anthony Sheret, Edd Harrington and Rupert Dunk’s Castledown Primary School Type Family


For more on the nominated projects, see the Design Museum site here or our previous post here

Designs of the Year, supported by Bird & Bird, runs until August 25 at the Design Museum, Shad Thames, London SE1

The video of This is a Generic Brand Video

Published on McSweeney’s Internet Tendency last month, Kendra Eash‘s satirical poem This is a Generic Brand Video has now been made into an actual video by a stock footage company…

In an interesting take on Eash’s subject matter, stock footage providers Dissolve looked to their own database for every single cliché she describes in her poetic tribute to the ‘brand video’.

Aping the kinds of signifiers which fill brand videos for all manner of companies, her poem opens: “We think first / Of vague words that are synonyms for progress / And pair them with footage of a high-speed train.”

On their website Dissolve explain that “the minute we saw Kendra Eash’s brilliant ‘This Is a Generic Brand Video’ on McSweeney’s, we knew it was our moral imperative to make that generic brand video so. No surprise, we had all the footage.”

They then found the right music – emotive piano – and, in Dallas McClain, a familiar sounding narrator for the video.

On Twitter, Eash has said she’s delighted with the results, though one can’t help feeling this is a bit of a bizarre self-promotional move from a company whose product is essentially the fuel for the satire – though the brands themselves are of course the acual target.

We’ve seen stock imagery providers as the target of jokes before – Women Laughing Alone With Salad being a highpoint – but never the providers themselves sending up how their visuals are routinely used and abused.

All the clips featured in the film are from dissolve.com.

Kendra Eash’s original piece is published on McSweeney’s (see more of her writing here), while Dissolve’s film is on Vimeo here.

New site to give students a Hand

A group of Kingston students led by Joshua Lake are launching an online exhibition space to bring together work from degree shows across the creative disciplines

 

With so many degree shows taking place each year, not all of them get the attention those participating might like. Lake’s idea is to create an online exhibition space to aggregate work from degree shows in one place.

Hand launches in May and is “an online art and design gallery catering for students, individuals and groups across all art disciplines, creating space for inspiration, collaboration and discovery,” the organisers say.

At present, the site is displaying a ‘trailer’ version but this does give some sense of how the fully-functional site will work. It will focus initially on degree shows but “in addition to student exhibitions, non-student shows will be featured on the site throughout the year,” the organisers say.

 

Graduating students will be allowed to create an account and upload work from their exhibition to the site. More details on how to get involved at hand.gallery

 

Concept: Joshua Lake
Art direction: Oliver Long, Frederik Mahler-Anderson and FRancis North
Built by Frederik Mahler-Anderson
Copy: Jodie Edwards

Offset 2014: Day one

Creative conference Offset kicked off in Dublin this morning, with talks and debates on book cover design, animation, illustration, graphics and advertising. Here are a few of the highlights…

Sarah Mazzetti

Italian illustrator Sarah Mazzetti gave the first talk of the day, providing a look at her commercial work, self initiated projects and her creative process. She discussed making posters for music events at the Locomotiv Club in Bologna:

Creating a website, programme and installations for Welsh music and arts festival Green Man (top and below), which she was asked to do after her Locomotiv posters were featured on various design blogs:

And creating editorial illustrations for the New York Times, financial publications and publishing house Feltrinell, as well as Italian magazine Studio.

Mazzetti also runs Teiera, an independent publishing label producing comics and illustrated zines – including work by UK illustrator Ed Cheverton (featured in CR’s February issue).

Golden Wolf

Next up was Ingi Erlingsson, co-founder of London animation studio Golden Wolf. The studio was founded as an animation offshoot of design studio I Love Dust, but recently rebranded as a separate company.

As a teen he wanted to be a graffiti artist but Erlingsson decided to pursue illustration after his street art led to run-ins with police, he said. Before joining I Love Dust and Golden Wolf, he completed a spell at NY company Surround, where he worked on the music video for The Killers’ Mr Brightside.

 

Showing examples of the studio’s work for MTV, Cartoon Network and Nike Erlingsson presented the 10 ‘golden rules’ of Golden Wolf, including:

-Surprise people: If you do something unexpected or take people out of their comfort zone, will always get a better reaction. “Its all about mystery and intrigue,” he said.

-Don’t be an a**hole: “We’re a small company and love what we do,” he explained. “We don’t want egos to come into the equation.”

-Always over deliver: “If you do your best and excel clients’ expectations, they’ll come back.”

-Respect the almighty client: “When I was starting out, client felt like a necessary evil, someone trying to destroy ideas. But they are your most important collaborator, the people who can make or break a project and they do help,” he said.

-Invest in progress: if a client comes to you with an idea, you’ll probably want to go crazy, but will have to meet them somewhere in the middle. It’s a sweet spot for the client but doesn’t necessarily lead to progression for the studio, said Erlingsson – which is why Golden Wolf often runs self-initiated or self-funded experimental projects, which lead to more ambitious projects such as this black and white Kubrick-inspired animation featuring a cast of astronaut dogs for record label OWSLA:

 

Marina Willer

Pentagram partner Marina Willer’s talk began with a discussion of things that inspire her – including her upbringing in colourful and chaotic Brazil, living in London, and her twin sons’ curiosity about the world.

She spoke about her work for the Serpentine Gallery, which was recently shortlisted for the Design Museum’s Design of the Year award, as well as pitching for a Louis Vuitton project and rebranding UK charity Action for Children.

As well as a flexible typographic logo for the charity that can be arranged in various ways, Pentagram has designed a visual language based around the statement, ‘we can’t wait’. Print ads feature a series of phrases such as ”we can’t wait to grow up’ and ‘we can’t wait for your help’, communicating a sense of urgency but also children’s optimism about the future.

The project has not yet been implemented but has been approved by the company, and Willer says the aim was to create something that is “not depressing, but is serious.”

Willer ended with a look at a series of short films promoting architect Richard Rogers’ exhibition at the Royal Academy, exploring objects and ideas that inspire him:

Book cover design

At lunchtime, as well as a talk from Mike Perry, there was a discussion between Conor Nolan & David Wall, Max Phillips, Niall Mccormack & James Kelleher about book cover design in Ireland.

The country no longer has a book cover design awards scheme, and the recent recession has led to a decline in the number of books being printed, but there are still beautiful covers made here, said David Wall, whose studio recently designed a beautiful cover for Oliver Jeffers, which you can see more pictures of on their website:

There were some interesting discussions around the future of book design, in particular, how it will be affected by the growth in kindles and e readers, but Wall had an optimistic take on this.

While there may not be a need to print some kinds of book – such as more ‘throwaway’ mass market fiction titles –  it may mean that books which do go in to print are more rewarding to work on: there will have to be real reason to print them, which presents amazing opportunities for designers who will be given a mandate to do something interesting, he said.

When asked about who wants to become a book designer these days, speakers agreed that there was still a huge interest in it among students and design professionals, and Wall said anyone could become one if their work was good enough.

“If you do good design people will come to you – if someone has taken initiative to set up a website and do beautiful book covers – if they’re 16 or 40/50, people will take notice,” he said.

Detail

After lunch, Paul McBride and Brian Nolan of Dublin studio Detail discussed the studio’s branding work for corporate and cultural clients, including an identity, campaigns and exhibition graphics for the Science Gallery:

And a visual identity and mapping system for Georgian garden Merrion Square, inspired by architecture of the period and a map from 1780:

As well as signage, wayfinding and iconography for Father Collins Park, a sustainable park with sports facilities, playgrounds and wind turbines.

Detail is also curating an archive of Irish design along with Conor & David, AAD and several other Irish studios. The archive will be a celebration of the country’s visual culture, they said.

Serge Seidlitz

Serge Seidlitz followed in place of Mark Bernath and Eric Quennoy of Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam, who were unable to attend.

Seidlitz talked about his solo exhibition at London’s Coningsby Gallery, illustrating a book on mental health by Ruby Wax and a project for Coca-Cola, which he described as ‘a nightmare’. He spent over a month designing around 3000 illustrations for the brand’s Share a Coke campaign, only to find out it was scrapped six months later.

 

He also presented posters and DVD packaging for F*ck for Forests – a documentary about a group in Berlin that sells erotic films to raise money for the rainforest:

And packaging for a soon to be launched range of ice creams from American brand Homer Hudson. Flavours include Death Row (chocolate and vanilla), Mo Dough and Prom Queen Dream, and Seidlitz has created some typically witty, colourful illustrations to match.

Fun is the guiding principle in his work, he said, and Seidlitz showed various early sketches of projects as well as the finished result, showing the craft, time and improvisation that goes into each.

Jessica Walsh

Jessica Walsh received a huge round of applause for her talk, which focused on the idea of play.

“I see my work as play rather than a job – and the more fun and play in my work, the better people respond,” she said, explaining how play is educational and helps drive innovation.

After teaching herself to code as a teen, Walsh studied at Rhode Island School of Design, where workshops included painting, sculpture and woodwork as well as digital design.

When working as an art director at Print magazine following an internship at Pentagram, Walsh had a strict budget and often had to create and shoot sets herself.

Both experiences have heavily influenced her work at Sagmeister & Walsh, she said, and she continues to experiment with tactile processes and raw materials. “Sometimes, you just need to get off the computer and make shit,” she said.

Walsh also discussed the need for play to have rules, however, and said that often, the best work thrives on creative constraints. If clients give her an open brief, she will devise a strict set of rules such as using a simple set of shapes or a monochrome colour scheme (see work for middle eastern brand Aizone, above. It took around 12 hours to paint models in each picture in the series).

Discussing the work that goes into persuading clients to back her ideas, Walsh said the key is to only present one concept – but make it great.

She also discussed the importance of fighting for an idea you believe in, taking risks and pursuing personal projects: her relationship experiment, 40 Days of Dating (in which she dated a friend for forty days, blogging about the experience, attracted millions of followers, and Warner Bros has since bought the film rights to the story).

Mark Waites

Mother co-founder Mark Waites provided the final talk of the day, and also spoke about creative constraints, arguing that the best projects embrace restrictions.

Waites presented several examples of successful projects created by Mother despite challenging briefs – such as its ambient campaign for documentary London Ink. With a budget of just £150,000, the agency created a series of massive tattooed sculptures around London.

They looked impressive (and certainly made an impact), but figures were made as cheaply as possible, said Waites: they weren’t given eyes because it would be too expensive, and one was made to look partially submerged in the ground to avoid the cost of building a whole body. “The trick with doing things cheaply is not to let your audience know…you don’t have to lessen the quality of the execution,” he said.

He also discussed how failed pitches can lead to greater success – such as when Mother lost a Eurostar account to Fallon, but managed to persuade the company to invest in a film directed by Shane Meadows instead (read our blog post on it here). “If we’d have won that gig, the film would never have happened. Sometimes, no is the answer you need,” he said.

Waites said he was terrible at ‘blue sky thinking’, and finished by saying, “if you ask us to do anything, we’ll do nothing. The more problems we have, the more creative we become.”