This month's cover design was produced by 'squidsoup', a group of interactive designers, artists and musicians based in London. They have designed numberous web sites and CD-ROMs for major clients, and at the same time, they keep creating experimental interactive works on their web site.
First of all, please tell us who you are.
squidsoup is a group of interactive designers, artists and musicians whose aim is to break down the restrictions of current thought within interactive design. Originally started by Anthony Rowe and James Lane, after meeting at Middlesex University in 1996, it now provides a thriving atmosphere where we are always seeking to push the boundaries of the medium, both technically and creatively.
Could you tell us more about squidsoup.com?
Sound, film, video, animation, photography, typography, graphic design. We try to combine these elements in innovative, yet appropriate, ways to ensure that the full potential of interactive media is achieved.We are particularly interested in bringing atmosphere to user experience, by creating immersive environments in which they can interact. We feel this philosophy can be applied to the design process throughout interactive media.
What do you think is the most important aspect about web design?
To constantly be looking around and keeping an eye on what's going on in development, both technically and creatively. To communicate ideas between others equally interested in taking the medium beyond the current e-banality.
What are your policies/ideas on design and which personal principles do you follow in creating a design?
We have one guiding principles in all our work. To stimulate the user.
When you made the cover for Shift this month, what did you imagine and how did you work on it?
We wanted to produce something very simple and clean, but with a gentle twist in it's tail. It is interesting to have such an open brief, yet one with such a specific goal.
We would like to ask you about the web and multimedia scene in London. What's hot now?
We tend to be inspired by stuff outside of the medium we work in day to day. Some of the things that have touched us are: 'Force Fields' exhibition at the Hayward Gallery, Tate Modern, ICA Cybersalon, Fabric and East London skies..
What do you think about being based in London?
There are some fundamentally and increasingly rare inspiring events/people/spaces which just about balance out all the superficiality of such a self-centred city.
What do you think about Japan?
I'm drawn to certain aspects of its culture. The spareness and simplicity of everything from graphics to food to traditional architecture and painting.
What are you interested in now?
Getting funding to develop the next versions of altitudezero.
Who are your favorite visual/graphic designers and sites?
David Carson - the textural catharsis to those pixel pixies
State - like what they did to open onedotzero4
Southern Indian film posters - that hand made feel
Majorcan bullfighting poster - block printing, bold and crude and beautiful
Projecta9 - simple NY cool
Golan Levin - lush java
Netbaby - pixel perfect
Mono*Crafts - the first of its kind, good stuff.
John Maeda - tap,type, write...
The last question. Do you have any plans for the near future?
The near future holds much excitement and stimulation carrying on developing our own work. With technological advancements and the gradual shift in thinking of the 'mainstream', the type of work we want to do is becoming more of a reality all the time.
Interview, Text: Mayumi Kaneko