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Jekyll & Hyde
Detail of the poster for the Americas Remixed contemporary art exhibition, organised by the City of Milan, 2002.
Block of promotional flyers entitled Fill in the blank. become a designer, made for the Scuola Politecnica di Design, 2005.
Brand for HTC - High Tech Computer Corp, a leading manufacturer of smartphones and palmtops using Microsoft® Windows technology based in Taiwan, 2006.
How has your experience developed and what is the distinctive characteristic that gives your office its personality?
Although we came from different backgrounds, we found that we were sharing several experiences when we were working as freelancers with other agencies and discovered that we shared a common understanding about our profession. Both of us wanted to work on projects that would not give up the aspiration to be top quality, possibly capable of experimenting with new graphic languages and of contributing to our clients' immediate objectives. So we invested loads of enthusiasm, curiosity and our desire to have fun in setting out on our path together.
Over the years, we decided not to have a visual style of our own, but to adapt our language to our clients' requirements. We are a bit wary of routine and very fond of coming to grips with different problems all the time. What has made this desire of ours to try things out, make changes and conduct experiments easier has been the extreme variety of our clients, who range from music to contemporary art, from technology to fashion.
What design method underlies the way you work?
We have always tried to achieve a conceptual approach in our designs. There is always an idea behind our aesthetic or functional choices, something we want to communicate, a concept we want to convey that makes the design distinctive to the client and to the market. We like to create designs that are simple and radical at the same time. We believe that all the designs we do can and must be improved on: that is why we prefer to work in a team, with horizontal bonds and strong agreements, alternating moments of individual design work with moments of group verification. Extensive research at the very start, which also includes drawing sketches and mock-ups on paper, is still an important, indispensable part of everything we do.
Lastly, while we work, we like to imagine how people will react when they come face to face with our designs, use them, move them around, add to them and question them, discovering their meaning or maybe a different way of seeing them. That is what we did, with a pinch of sense of humour and poetry, in the material for the Scuola Politecnica di Design, in the website mocomoco.it, in the image for the Americas Remixed exhibition, in our own institutional brochure and in many other designs.
How is the experience of experimenting with your see nothing project coming alone?
For us, experimenting means exploring new areas and I think that is an important component of the work of any graphic designer. We experiment with methods, techniques, materials and languages to try to find new visual, communication or functional solutions. If you stop experimenting and exploring, all you have left to use is the familiar old ways: you have to fall back on the profession or on fashions and that makes you run the risk of creating designs that all look the same. But experimenting also means risking getting it all wrong or making a mistake.
So we decided to carve out a space for experimenting in our everyday work with this see nothing project: it's a sort of training ground where we can strengthen and increase our abilities.
We asked ourselves what exercise would be the most ambitious for us, the one that would oblige us to field all our finest energies. And we found the answer in the opposite to what we had always done: in the principle of not seeing, of not being visible. We are perfectly aware of the imperceptible note that cuts across every form of graphic design: the grid for a book is there, but you don't see it, just as the eye does not detect the rules for using a logo or the graphic design work behind a contemporary art exhibition.
Year after year, our jekyll & hyde promotional materials and a section of our website have continued touching on this area of the invisible. With difficulty and sometimes running the risk of going right off track. But the sheer joy of going that bit further than every new discovery made the whole journey more intriguing. So it was time we involved more people. Which we duly did in 2004. Graphic designers, photographers, illustrators, friends and perfect strangers: how would they react to see nothing? We collected the contributions made by young beginners and nationally and internationally acclaimed professionals, together with or own work, in see nothing volume two, generating a compilation of graphic experimentation, photographs and illustrations about the topic of non-visibility, of not seeing, of invisibility. It was a conclusion (or maybe just a stopover) to the project we started in 2000.