“Sometimes it simply doesn’t matter how good the brief is, how good your idea is or how well the project seems to be going. Design is a creative pursuit and definitively ‘right’ answers simply don’t exist. To design – or do anything creative – is a practice in asking questions, trying things out and exploring uncharted territory. Attempting new approaches and new ways of thinking are a part of being a creative person. This experimentation can lead to brilliant, maybe even groundbreaking results. But not always. Unfortunately, sometimes you just have to concede that what you’re trying to do, simply doesn’t work. By no means an easy thing to accept, the fact is that attempting new things won’t always result in success. Saul Bass knew this… Keep reading…
Computers these days are amazing. With the right software and a little bit of know-how it’s never been easier to whip up any ridiculous image you have in your head, and make it a reality for all the world to see. If it doesn’t look quite as good as you’d hoped, maybe add a load of drop shadows, lighting effects and any other number of gimmicky Photoshop filters until it does? Although, after a while you begin to realise that perhaps the reason it ain’t that great, is because of the idea in the first place. If the foundations aren’t strong enough, the house will fall down. A truly great idea can stand on it’s own without the need to be supported by effects and decoration.
Steven Bonner is a designer and illustrator based in sunny sunny Scotland. His work is largely focused on beautiful illustrative typography and we’ve been big fans of what he does for some time now. He has worked for a range of clients including Audi, The British Heart Foundation, Cadbury, Coca-Cola, Diesel, Nike, The Scottish Government, William Hill and many others. Refusing to stick to a single style, each brief is approached from a completely different angle, the only common factor being that everything he does looks bloody amazing.
He kindly agreed to give us an insight into his world by answering our Ten Questions.
Creative briefs are, by their very nature, problematic. They are a challenge set out to designers – ‘Here is a problem, solve it’. Sometimes the solution is blindingly obvious, sometimes it’s a little more elusive. Every now and then, the answer simply seems to be impossible to pin down. At these times, the best approach is often to forget what you know, ignore the supposed parameters and do something that doesn’t obey convention. Something you haven’t been asked to do and perhaps even something which strays into forbidden territory. Taking these creative risks is easy to talk about, incredibly difficult to actually do and the majority of the time will create the most interesting results.
At Mat Dolphin, we mess about. We work hard on client work, day-to-day admin, finances, quoting, invoicing and endlessly hunting for new business, but an important part of the way we work involves playing, experimenting and trying out things we find interesting for the sake of trying them. The process is often as important as the final result and the fact that these experiments have no real ‘point’ (in terms of financial gain), is the thing that makes them worth doing.
Thank you to each and every one of you who took the time to pen romantic verses for our Valentines poster giveaway. We had a huge number of submissions to choose from – some beautiful and creative, some ridiculous and funny, quite a few creepy and vaguely worrying, but all very much appreciated.
We’ve gone through the lot and are pleased to announce the following lucky winners. Our judging process was pretty simple and based on one simple question; which ones did we like the most? Apologies to those who contributed work and weren’t chosen – we would love for all of you to be winners but there could only be a lucky few, and (in no particular order) here they are…
** UPDATE ** The competition has now closed, we’ve been overwhelmed with a huge number of brilliant entries, and will be announcing the winners soon!
The time has finally come to announce the details of our Valentines poster giveaway! Let’s get it on…
If you’d like the chance to receive a copy of our A2 Valentines print delivered your door anywhere in the world, all you need to do is get in the mood for romance and follow these three simple steps:
This week see’s the annual return of the corporate, manufactured and over-priced celebration of all things love – St. Valentines day has arrived!
We decided to get involved with the romance and produced some posters, which we’re planning to give away as a token of selfless love. If you keep an eye on our Twitter feed on 14th February 2013, you’ll witness the grand unveiling and be in with a chance of having one of the beautiful, love-themed A2 prints sent directly to your door. Free of charge. Don’t say we never do anything for you.
Since long before starting Mat Dolphin we’ve been hugely inspired by Non-Format. The two man studio is run by Jon Forss and Kjell Ekhorn and the work they produce is beautiful, interesting, boundary pushing and, at times, a bit weird. The pair have created a style that is both completely unique and instantly recognisable for a pretty impressive client list. Since establishing the company in London in 2000, the pair have gone on to work with the likes of Nike, Coca-Cola, K-Swiss, Gap, Sony, Adobe, EMI, Orange, Rick Owens, Nokia and The Economist as well as a number of small independent record labels – music packaging being one of the things for which they’re best known. Now based in Minneapolis (Jon) and his native Norway (Kjell), their incredible typography, design and art direction has spawned a host of imitators but by the time most people have caught on, they’re already two steps ahead.
They were kind enough to spend some time answering our Ten Questions. Here’s what they had to say.
Our Ten Questions series has been absent for a long time. Too long, baby.
With this in mind, we wanted to make sure the first of 2013 was an absolute belter, so we got in touch with Marta Cerdà Alimbau. A Barcelona-based illustrator and designer, her work is largely focused on illustrative lettering and her eye-catching, highly decorative work has attracted clients such as Nike, Coca-Cola, Ray Ban, Penguin Books, Zoo York, Panasonic, Virgin and many others.
Since setting up her own studio in 2008, she has developed a visually rich and distinctive style of her own. We’re huge fans of her work and are delighted to get her involved in the series. See what she had to say below.
We’ve had an amazing 2012 and although we seem to say this every year, it’s been quicker, busier and better than we could’ve imagined. We’ve worked with some amazing people and been involved in some projects we feel truly lucky to have been a part of. With this in mind we would like to say a huge, heartfelt thank you to all our clients, suppliers, supporters, followers, haters, friends and family. Merry Christmas to all of you!
Don’t ask us how or why but recently, we stumbled upon this (obviously NSFW) online archive of Playboy back issues. The collection spans from the first ever issue all the way back in December 1953 to the present day. The early days of the magazine show some great examples of inventive and well considered editorial design. Creative, elegant and much better than most of the tat that fills newsagent’s shelves these days — Top shelf or not. We love them. So we thought we’d share some of the best we came across. Fnar.
David Airey is a designer and writer based in Ireland. When he’s not looking after clients around the globe he somehow finds the time to run the brilliant design review websites Logo Design Love and Identity Designed, (bookmark them immediately if you haven’t already) as well as amassing a huge following through his prolific Twitter activity. 2009 saw the publication of his first book. Based on his original website, Logo Design Love was a runaway success and belongs on the bookshelf of any decent design studio.
Here at MDHQ we’re always on the look out for new stuff to inspire us. When we find something we think might inspire others we shove it out to twitter and spread the love to one and all. Recently we came across the work of Timothy J. Reynolds and were instantly captivated by his style and work. Timothy is an exhibit designer and illustrator based in Milwaukee, WI. Born and raised in the south and originally from Winston-Salem, he picked up the random nickname Turnis when he was a kid and it just stuck. He went to school for architecture, worked in a design firm or two, and then his quit his job and sold everything he owned and left. Wow!
We got in touch with Timothy to ask him if he’d be interested in getting involved with our Ten Questions series. He said YES, so check out his replies…
Most graphic designers love the FedEx logo. Designed by Landor Associates, it’s simple, it’s clean, it’s been around since 1994 but still doesn’t look dated. The thing most designers really love about it, however, is the ‘hidden’ arrow. The little nod to progress and movement that sits in the negative space between the ‘E’ and the ‘x’. Practically everyone (designer or otherwise) knows it’s there, but being in on the worst kept secret in design does give a feeling of being in the know.
Almost a year ago to the day we received an email from an enthusiastic second year Graphic Design student at Bournemouth university. On any given day we get inundated with emails from students, people looking for work placements and chancers, but we always try and reply to everyone. This day in 2011 was no different. We’re still a little bemused when we hear from people who like what we do and contact us about the prospect of working for us. Us? Really? But in line with our If You Give Love, You Get Love™ mantra, we feel it’s only fair to reply and help out if we can.
To the uninitiated, BUG: The Evolution Of Music Video is an ongoing series of bi-monthly events at the BFI Southbank in London, celebrating global creativity in music video. The shows are hosted by Adam Buxton — the funny, petite, bearded half of Adam and Joe — and have become an essential forum for fans of music videos and aspiring film-makers alike. If we can get tickets we try and make it along each and every time, it’s that good. It’s not just about getting away from our desks though, Adam literally has everyone in stitches, and the music videos aren’t half bad either. It’s sound and vision at it’s best.
It’s normally a packed out event, so for those that couldn’t make it along, or for those that didn’t even know it existed, we’ve compiled all the videos shown at last nights event. Watch / listen — have them on in the background. There’s dubstep, there’s throat slitting, there’s weird horse dancing and something a little perverse. So, something for everyone. Just think of it as your Mat Dolphin Friday visual playlist.
From his home in Norway, Magnus Voll Mathiassen produces some stunning design and illustration work for a wide range of clients. It’s difficult to describe his style, as he brings a completely new and different approach to each project. In 2009 he parted ways with Grandpeople, the studio he co-founded, and set up shop under his own name. Since then his work has effortlessly crossed the boundaries from hard-edged graphic illustrations to experimental typography treatments to loosely sketched drawing styles to abstract, organic watercolour. Always different and always brilliant, he has collaborated with the likes of Nike, Intel, Microsoft, Sony, Varoom Magazine and Adidas as well as a number of personal projects and exhibitions.
We got in touch with Magnus to ask him if he’d be interested in getting involved with our Ten Questions series. He swiftly obliged and here’s what he had to say…
It’s been a long time since the last installment in our regular Ten Questions series. Too long. With this in mind, we got in touch with the brilliant Sam Green and asked him if he fancied getting involved.
Thankfully, he was up for it.
Sam is a London-based illustrator who creates stunning, abstract, dreamlike images. Since graduating from Central St. Martins, his work has attracted a client-list which includes 55DSL, Big Chill Festival, Dazed & Confused, The New York Times, Nokia, The Times and Wallpaper* amongst others. We love what he’s doing and can’t wait to see what he’s up to next.
We can hardly believe it but today is our 3rd Birthday! A huge amount has happened in the world of Mat Dolphin since our humble beginnings in 2009. It feels like we’ve come a long way and the journey has certainly been an exciting one. We’ve made more mistakes than we care to remember, learnt a huge amount more than we ever thought possible, done some work that we’re incredibly proud of and, most importantly of all, met some amazing people along the way.
We want to say a huge, heartfelt thank you to each and every person who’s been involved with Mat Dolphin over the last 1,095 days. Without you we wouldn’t be able to do what we love everyday and pretend it’s a job.
This is still only the beginning though and we can’t wait to see what happens next!
Thanks for everything,
Phil and Tom