This month's cover design was produced by Me company, a London-based design company. The purpose of the company is to produce strong and original imagery from graphic design, advertising, character design, character animation, broadcast video, brand development and the internet using modern digital technologies. They are well known for producing the vast majority of Bjork's singles and albums.
How was Me Company established?
Me Company was founded by Paul White 15 years ago. It's now a large and thriving design studio with a wide range of commercial and non-commercial activity. We work in metamedia, consultation and exploration for a wide range of corporate, private and agency clients.
Please tell us about the recent activities of Me Company.
Everything we do is confidential these days so it's hard to give details. The studio is very busy and will remain so until the summer when we all hope to get some sort of a holiday! We're working on a range of projects which include product design, web developments, fashion, advertising and video. There are plans to hold an exhibition in Japan later this year, so we are also working on that.
You've got a great reputation for your visual works for Bjork including promo video, poster and record sleeve. How did you start the collaboration with Bjork?
Paul was one of the founders of One Little Indian records. The relationship with Bjork is just something that's developed over time, it's based on trust and artistic telepathy. We hope that people don't only associate us with Bjork, she's a great client but there is a lot of other work that we do that we also like doing :)
Please tell us about your production process.
There is no such thing as a usual production process. Every project is different and needs a different approach. We base our work on two fundamentals, communication and concept. All of our work is rooted in the idea of expressing a conceptual idea in the most original, visual ways. We enjoy to work closely with our clients, taking inspiration from conversations and idea sessions. When we have a basic idea we will often make rough sketches to aid our visual thinking. If we are working on a video project then we'll make a storyboard or animatic to express the ideas in a temporal format. From this basis we can start to do the real work. Ideas are just as important as technique. This is always true without exception.
You've been working in various media include CG animation, web and graphic design. Is there any consistent concept or theme through your creation?
There is certainly a cluster of ideas that contribute to and inform the work. I'll give these in no particular order.
Modernity, Technology, Character, Narrative, Fashion, Architecture, Biology, Transformations, Metamorphosis, Illusion, Altered States of Consciousness, Furniture, Landscape, Religion, Philosophy, Literature.
We are an intelligent group of artists who come from different backgrounds and educations. We work as a team in the creation of our work, it's hard to be exact about why we produce the work that we do. We have an ambition, we want to be unique :)
Please tell us about the 'Mind the Banner' project. What was the concept when you created it?
Modern technology allows something like Telepathy. I can enter the ears of a friend thousands of miles away, it's a very powerful experience if you remember how strange it is to be able to do this.
We mixed this thought with the old cultural myths about the Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis when people thought that they were messages from the Gods or ancestors.
We were excited by the similarity of belief systems exhibited by both ancient and modern culture in terms of strange methods of communication. It seemed funny and strange to look at the world in this way.
On top of this we wanted to create a typographic system that would create letters from the inter-related movements of parts in three dimensional space. It was our idea of the language of the Gods. One of the things we wanted to communicate was the idea that the Northern Lights speak very slowly but with great meaning and importance. This is different to people who make chattering noises into their phones all the time but very rarely say anything interesting.
What was hard for you in this project? And what did you try to communicate through it?
The project took us about 3 weeks with a team of between 3 and 4 people working on it. The conversion of our ideas into something that could be streamed at 3k per second was really hard but we hate loading screens so it had to be done. The rendering of the 3d type system into a superflat scintillating 2d form was the largest technical challenge and required some late nights and pizza.
We'd like to ask you about the current new media scene in London. What's hot or interesting now?
There's so much talent in Europe at the moment, London is just a part of it.
There's too many people doing good work to mention specifically.
What do you think about Japan?
We've had a long and creative relationship with clients and friends in Japan that has been going for about 10 years altogether. We try to visit regularly and continue our creative conversations in interesting ways. Japan has an exciting and vibrant culture, and an appetite for interesting design that suits our ways of working. Hopefully our exhibition will happen later this year and give many more people the chance to see our work.
Is there any creators you're interested in?
There's too many to mention specifically, we would worry about offending any that we forgot :)
Do you have any plans for the near future?
Creative activity is an organic process. Each idea leads to another idea in a never ending journey. We try not to predict our progression in case we limit what we can do with preconceptions. However, we would really like to make an IMAX movie :)
We send our best wishes to all our friends and associates in Japan, and the global community of Shift.
Tel: +44 (0)207 482 4262
Text: Mayumi Kaneko