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This month’s cover design was designed by Jeremy Tai, co-founder of Fork Unstable Media in Hamburg, Germany. As you may know, he contributes to Info World Hamburg monthly. SHIFT interviewed him on his design life and source of inspirations that drives him design.

First of all, please tell us, what “Fork Unstable Media” is?

Fork Unstable Media is a digital design studio housing a mixture of young American and German designers and programmers specializing in cutting-edge solutions. The three partners – Jeremy Abbett (art, creation), David Linderman (art, creation), and Manuel Funk (marketing and business development) and are backed by a mix of eight other people. We have very mixed backgrounds: I’m Asian-American, David left a family of religious fanatics in the heart of American midwest, and Manuel is from southern Germany who spent some time in New York and came back to Germany. We see Germany as a playground for pioneering new ideas. But we also see it as a platform for seeing how far we can push the rigidity of the culture in our design and ideas.

Can you explain about your own web site, Suture?

Suture is a place to throw-down ideas that I have running around in my head. A place for thought and experiments. A stomping grounds of sorts. Or perhaps a ‘Sketch Book’ in a digital sense.

Fork unstable media“, people who has each background gets together there to inquire into the possibility on web. And “Suture“, he expresses his personal field there.
On the other hand, he’s also a member of “Team China”. In “Team China“, edgy graphic designers such as David (DHKY), ‘suction‘, ‘23dreams‘,etc compete with having common ground.

What “Team China” is?

Team China is group of people that decided to show themselves on the ‘ a little community of boats strung together that communicate every so often but not all together, and at once.

How do you know Team China?

I first saw David Yu’s work for Giant Robot and then saw his site.
That was my introductin into team china.

When you made the cover graphic for Shift this month, what did you image?

I remember when I first saw shift, a statement they used a lot was “Time For Things To Change”.
So when i made the graphic, I was thinking about how the fall season brings so much visual change, like the leaves changing from their summer shade of green to a fiery red, orange, and yellow. A cycle in life. The shifting of seasons.
I think plants are interesting, especially this time of year when they decide to make a big exit by blushing and dropping-off from their summer long home. It is a time for change.

Please tell us about your surroundings to produce.

Macintosh G3, Photoshop 4.0, Freehand 8, Flash 3, Director 6, SoundEdit 16, BBEdit 4.0.
I can program Lingo and Javascript. I’m in the process of learning DHTML.
I hack together pre-existing scripts written in Perl and Java.
Normally I start with rough sketches and a pile of footage (Photographs, Illustrations, Sounds) and compose something in Photoshop. If there is a lot of structure in my idea I start with Freehand.

Do you have any experience of DTP?

I’ve done flyers for drum-n-bass parties, stickers, and assorted other stuff.

What kind of music do you like listening to?

I like drum-n-bass but I tend to not buy any drum-n-bass vinyl or CDs. I like jazz a lot, like bruebeck and miles, and also like air and morcheeba a lot. I also like saint etienne. easy beats but a good mix of edgy stuff like cornelius.

As far as music, Germany is known with techno music. Ian Kelkhf who is a director of the movie “TECHNO” say drum-n-bass isn’t popular in Germany because for almost Germany isn’t good at playing drums.
Do you agree with this opinion through your experience there?

Drum-n-bass is quite popular with certain groups, but techno is still quite large. Techno is also super commercial so theres forms fo techno that are really marketed towards the massses. Of course drum-n-bass in Germany is not as innovative as other countries, like the sounds coming from England.

Does music inspire on your graphics or on your daily life?

Music does not play a big role in my design. Well, not as much as day-to-day events like seeing people out on the street shopping. I also think kids are quite a big source of inspiration; the way they interact with their surroundings.

What do you think the difference between web and print for you?

The web has the element of movement and sound. It’s more etheral while print is tangible, you can hold it in your hands.

Who is your favourite designers in all field of design?

I like Tomato quite a lot. They do what they want to. I admire the depth in me company’s work. And the art from Blue Note (Jazz label) in the 60’s. And David Yu is quite amazing, the way he integrates bits of his everyday life in his site. I enjoy seeing chalk drawings on sidewalks from the little kids in my neighborhood. They have such a way with colors.

Jeremy seems to read a lot of books from the beat-generation and other authors, like Jack Kerouac and Paul Auster When he has free time. He also has an active respect. He enters the race of muntain bike in Summer and Autumn, and enjoys snow board in Winter. He seems to spend his well-balanced daily life amusing himself. He has a plan to set up his new office in NY in early next year, and he talked he’s interested in how to go around with new technology and how to take it in his life.

Fork Unstable Media
Jeremy Tai : Creative Direction / Partner
David Linderman : Creative Direction / Partner
Manuel Funk : Business Direction / Partner
Andrea Mittmann : Designer
Anne Eickenberg : Screen Designer
Christian Schaumann : Project Management
Ralf Kemmer : Project Management
Nicole Kengyel : Production
Jan-Michael Studt : Programming
Sascha Merg : Programming

Text: Rita

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