News of a Motion Design studio launch are always exciting, more so when the studio has already possessed a considerable repertoire and strong reputation in Graphic Design.
Originally a Graphic Design / Illustration studio with a clientele ranging from Pepsi to Microsoft and Sony, ilovedust had been flirting with Motion Design for a while, but it wasn’t until recently that they finally decided to launch a Motion department.
With four new projects for clients such as Nike and Mtv , ilovedust showcases their range of styles and technique, from traditional animation to 3D, as well as some great storytelling skills, particularly in the “Nike Chase” project – done in collaboration with Curious Pictures and Director Ro Rao.
We were fortunate enough to get a first glance at the new ilovedust site – which launches today, by the way – and catch up with CD Ingi Erlingsson for an exclusive and very interesting interview.
Make sure to spend some time on their new site and check out the work, motion or static, bombastic stuff!
Looks like they are here to stay. Welcome!
- How did ilovedust come to be and when did you first become a part of the team?
ilovedust was started back in 2003 by Mark Graham and Ben Beach. They were both working for a fashion label and decided their time would be better spent on their own ventures. They set up shop in a dusty studio space in Southsea, UK and went to work building a portfolio of initially local clients, but were soon working for some of the biggest companies in the world like coke, Bloomingdales and T-mobile. I joined them in early 2006 after graduating and a short stint in New York working for a motion design company called Surround.
- Originally a Illustration / Graphic Design shop, what made ilovedust wander into Motion Design?
Back when I joined the major bulk of work was made up of illustration, with the occasional web site or logo thrown into the mix. Because of my animation background we were always experimenting and playing around with animation work and one day we were working on a print campaign for Pepsi and the opportunity to direct and produce a TV ad came up. We jumped on it head first and the next day we were on a plane headed for New York to cast and shoot the ad. At the time we didn’t have too much of a clue about what we were getting ourselves into, but we surrounded ourselves with some great, talented people that helped guide us through it all. Being in at the deep end has always been a big part of our ethos, we feel we learn the most when we bite off just a little more than we can chew. After that we gathered momentum and started to pick up more and more motion work, which led us to the decision to start up a dedicated department.Illustration and design are still a big part of what we do, but I feel we’ve found a great partner in motion design and animation. Our designers find inspiration in the animation work and the animators get the same from the designers. It helps us evolve and keeps things exciting and interesting, so it’s a great combination for us.
- Was there any specific challenges involving the setup of the department, and how do you balance things during the setup of the London branch?
We recognised early on in the process that in order to make the most of our opportunities it would be essential to be situated in London. Here we have access to some of the best freelancers, facilities and creative minds around, so it was a no brainer to set up here. So in early 2009 we started off by renting a small space (which we soon outgrew), hiring a few key people and then went to work. We’re lucky enough to have found and hired some incredibly talented people who have helped us develop a style and approach and also fit right into the family. It was important to us to get the motion work up to the same standard as our print and illustration work so it took a lot of trial, error, swearing and experimenting. We were lucky enough to be able to balance the personal, experimental work with enough paid work to keep us afloat until we were ready to show what we could do.
- Regarding the Nike project: how did the project first begin? Can you take us through the main evolution stages/process of the project? For example: did ilovedust pitch on this directorially?Was there a specific element that the agency was looking for which would determine who won the pitch? I.e. was it the character design mainly, or other things?
Initially when the project started AKQA asked us to pitch treatments and style frames. I think we pitched about 10 ideas to them, all of which we felt pretty strongly about, which I think helped us win the pitch. The final script turned out a little different to our treatments as we’d based them on the lead character being a runner, but in the end she was a dancer. The main stages of the project played out pretty quickly after the script was signed off, we built our characters, designed the environments, shot the motion capture and then got to work putting all the pieces together. The last piece of the puzzle was the sound design which was done by our friend Wevie in Brighton. The director’s cut version we decided to put on the site is a lot closer to our original direction, mixed with a bit of angry robot and mayhem.
- How did you guys end up collaborating with Curious Pictures and Ro Rao as live action director?
Ro and the guys at Curious were already working with AKQA on the campaign, producing and directing the other 4 spots of the 5 spot campaign. They shot the footage in LA under the watchful eye of the AKQA creative team, with us keeping tabs on the progress remotely from the UK. It was great to work with Ro and the guys on the live action as it came out really great and helped all 5 spots work as a series.
- How do you see yourself in comparison to other studios in the industry, both locally in the UK/Europe and internationally? Do you see a certain advantage or disadvantage having grown from an illustration and graphic design company?
I think we have a definite advantage having evolved out of a design and illustration environment. The more animation we do the less we need to worry about the technical challenges which allows us to really let our design experience take the lead. We also have a team of 12 full time designers/illustrators so when it comes to pitches and work we have a huge resource to pull ideas and design from. We have the advantage of being able to do full campaigns in-house, from the print ads to the tv ads and websites. In terms of our positioning in comparison to other studios I’d say we were somewhere in between the small 3-4 person shops and the big production companies. We’re still young and fresh to the game, but there are over 20 of us in all across two studios so we have a lot of aggregated experience behind us.
- What lies in the future for the ilovedust motion department ? And for the company as a whole?
For the motion department it’s all about growth. We’re looking to take on a few new key people and expand and build on our expertise to really take our work to the next level, along with continuing build new relationships with designers, animators sound designers and creative types around the world that we can collaborate with. We’re also constantly working on self initiated studio work so there will be plenty more of that coming from us in the next year. In terms of things we haven’t done yet, we’d love to do some music videos. For the company as a whole I think it’s a similar goal. We want to build on our previous experience and use it to do bigger and better work. We have some great existing clients like Nike, Sony, Microsoft and Dunkin Donuts that we will be continuing to build our relationship with, as well as making new relationships in the future.