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Big Active, a notable design studio in London that deals with art direction, graphic design and creative management. Their field is pretty wide, having worked on CD sleeves like Basement Jaxx, publicity, fashion, leisure and life style. They will release book of their work “Head, Heart and Hips – The Seductive World of Big Active” from Die Gestalten Verlag.

© Die Gestalten Verlag Berlin, 2005

Could you introduce Big Active?

Big Active is a creative design agency. We are best known for our work in the fields of music and editorial graphics. We believe in the seductive spirit of collaboration, and our London based studio is uniquely associated with a number of influential illustrators and photographers, who we represent commercially.

© Die Gestalten Verlag Berlin, 2005

Could you tell me about your recent activity?

We’ve been really busy art directing and designing new album projects for Athlete, Garbage, The Black Velvets and Annie as well as looking at a host of new projects that we’ve been offered. In the last year a number of new commercial artists have come to be represented by the agency including Kam Tang, Will Sweeney and Genevieve Gauckler – which we are really excited by. Also there’s a lot of work going on with JG4B, the new range of bikinis designed by Jasper Goodall which we are developing as a brand. And also Simon Henwood is just about to launch a new plush toy called ‘Klong’ – the studio is also busy developing the branding for this. ‘A Klong cannot see or hear you, but can sense your kindness’…

© Die Gestalten Verlag Berlin, 2005

Head, Heart and Hips – The Seductive World of Big Active” will be published by Die Gestalten Verlag. Could you tell us about this book?

The book is a candid snapshot of the design studio and the artists that we represent. I liked the idea of doing a book that could perhaps exist outside the boundaries of the design world. Big Active has always been about producing accessible graphic design and art direction that is bold, spirited and direct. Great design should speak to, (and come from) the head, the heart and the hips. It’s all about pleasure and seduction.

© Die Gestalten Verlag Berlin, 2005

Could you tell me about collaboration’s works with Kam Tang, Genevieve Gauckler and other artists?

All of Big Active’s associate artists have contributed to Head, Heart and Hips. I asked the illustrators and photographers to use their signature style to visually explore the ‘seductive nature of sensual pleasures’. It’s all about taking a commercial art aesthetic and creating a personal response using the power of suggestion. Jasper Goodall’s ‘Amorous Liaisons of the Olympains’ is particularly provocative, and we have made use of a varnish in the printing to emulate bodily fluids…

© Die Gestalten Verlag Berlin, 2005

When you collaborate with them, what do you think is important?

It’s about exchanging and developing ideas and then looking for the most appropriate way to realize them. Keeping things simple is often the best way to achieve the strongest result. When it works best the graphics and the imagery should appear to come together seamlessly…

It seems that your relation with the areas of music is strong, how do you think about the relation between music scene and graphic?

Music and image have always been inextricably linked, particularly at the point which music is marketed to an audience. It’s all about creating defining images. We don’t really see what we do just in straight terms of graphics, it’s more about creating an image – whether that involves photography, or illustration or graphics or a mix of all three. We’re all into music, so it’s really interesting to work on projects where we can combine the things we enjoys the most.

Could you tell your future plan?

We’d really like to come out to Japan and have an exhibition to promote our new book ‘Head, Heart & Hips’. Any offers?

Head, Heart and Hips – The Seductive World of Big Active
Author: Big Active
Features: 208 pages, 24 x 30 cm, full colour, hardcover
Price: 39.90 EUR (in Germany), 59.00 USD, 27.99 GBP
Released: February 2005
ISBN: 3-89955-060-9
Published by: Die Gestalten Verlag

Text: Ayako Yamatomo

*This book “Head, Heart and Hips – The Seductive World of Big Active” can be purchased at Amazon.

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