Shane is founder of onedotzero a visual digital showcase. Eboy are graphic designers with their own unique style. Sanderson Bob is a lone graphic designer who worked for a big graphic design company before going his own way
I basically run two companies onedotzero which has been going for 10 years, 3 years ago I started onedotzeroindustries which deals with the commercial areas, such as music video and short production and an artists agency. “Adventures in moving image” is our strap line, and both these companies encompass the many directions as you can take, and that’s the adventure – you have lots of choices and options. It’s quite difficult to describe because we are a hybrid.
When we started we encourage graphic designers and non traditional film makers to contribute. Onedotzero was the first event of its kind to look at particular new designers, at the time we said it was the “end of celluloid” which was outrageous back then but look around now and it’s happened – every film has been touched digitally. We have difficulty deciding what is mainstream and underground, those tags now are getting redundant. [10 years on the] festival is [still] at the heart of our activities. Education is something we have also done through the medium of journalists but also talks in colleges – it’s an evolving area. I see myself as a producer rather than just be a consumer, production has always been an important part of onedotzero but when we started a lot of the stuff that we wanted to see there wasn’t out there. People like tomato, Andy Martin put out there first video at the festival, Chris Cunningham even – these people were known in other areas. We’ve commissioned short films, animations recently we’ve been involved in installations. We took over Friday Late at the V&A.
We were one of the first festivals to look at VJing. We like to think it’s live performance, Vjing to me is like visual wallpaper, we’ve taken it a step further.
We had visual idents which fed into all the publicity so we looked at it as an overall brand, it’s that point: that conversion. I’m into converging ideas for creativity and we put together people who wouldn’t get together.
Over these 10 years we’ve charted the development of that medium, we’ve picked out some key developments and key talents. We have a national and international remit, we’ve been to 65 cities around the world. There’s a huge audience for this, I like the fact we haven’t always gone to the obvious places.
Onedotzeroindustries came from the knowledge we had in this area, people started asking for information and phone numbers. We were getting unhappy about how they were treated so we represented some of them. People started asking us for pitches, Sony approached us, we wrote the brief, then pitched it and then ended up producing it. With the tour stuff, it’s still about pushing boundaries, doing something different. For U2 we did the back ground visuals but also the text and editing – we used cutting edge kit like this pixel loaded curtain. We also used known and unknown people, Julian Opie who’s obviously well known but also students work as well. George Michael any fans? The screen was a huge l.e.d. screen, that formed part of this ramped stage, also things triggered by his voice, when you watch it without it’s a completely different experience.
People will want to know my background, here you go. I never went to college unfortunately, because I didn’t want to go where the people at school we going. And also I didn’t know what I wanted to do – but I knew what I didn’t want to do and I made sure I didn’t do that; that distinction was important. So the first thing I did was make sure I knew about desktop publishing, the first proper job I had was in magazines, I was taught how to use a mac. I did that for about a week – it was a newsletter about computers and the director left and they said if I did her job I could actually earn some money. I did her job and took the newsletter to magazine status, I was involved with magazine on sales and marketing side as well. It was great money as computers were taking off and people were chucking money at it. But I was 20 and I felt like I was 45, so I stopped it. I basically didn’t have a job to go to, I was interested in film but couldn’t afford a camera, they wouldn’t let me on the access course, so I became a stills photographer and started to do any kind of work I could with that. The girl I was living with had a small company and I helped out back stage, and did some stills photography there. Then I was doing all the publicity, I ended taking lots of actors photography for the Spotlight book, I then started my own theatre company which spawned the League Of Gentlemen. We were quite progressive we used music and video, we worked with operas, we worked with Scanner in 1993, we learnt about lighting and actors. It didn’t take me into film but learnt about marketing and PR. All these things were great but didn’t make any money. I got into multimedia, selling software then the guy who set that up sold that company and started a new one and he asked me to start an online magazine. So I became a multimedia producer – worked a lot with technology companies, a lot of our clients were the game industry. All of that informed onedotzero. Actually, at one time I was media producer, had a theatre company and started onedotzero
I thought what were my inspirations are for this talk and they’re still the same – they relate to everything I do today. If you’re passionate about things then it’s the best thing for it – you’ve got to take chances and opportunities when you get them. I’ve had to take different directions, I’ve done other jobs, but kept focus.
I think collaboration is the key to web 2.0 I think your value now is in how you share your ideas. If you are good at having ideas you should have another one. Be excited about what you want to do, I know people don’t always have the option of choosing, but you’ve got do at lease some of what you love.
We are the eboys we are two of them. We work in different places. We ichat every day. We meet once a month in real life. We are very much a virtual office. These are post cards we always collect, it’s how we first started to exchange ideas, then became the fax machine, we worked on computers as well and printed it out and faxed it. We’ve known each other since we were 18, we studied together I know Kye (?) through Meter (?) We both used to design for a big design company – that was the time of the fax machines. Then we started doing stuff only for the screen, we worked with photoshop. We put it on a diskette, and gave it to our friends and hoped they’d copy it. It was like a magazine, you could click through pages, so it was an easy way to publish – no costs. Then we started to do stuff together.
We did stuff for small companies doing posters and letter heads but we decided not to show that on the internet we decided it would stand on it’s own. So we stuck to doing guns and girls and things we liked, for ourselves, we displayed on the website. We only showed what we really liked, so clients would only ask for that. One of our first projects was in Pico the idea was to make pictures that could fit easily on the site. We do pictures like you do Lego, or something. The most fun was not doing the pictures but the characters. The city is one of our most important pieces. When we started doing it art together, it was just natural to fit it in a city. We all work at fit things into the city so in the end it’s an eboy product not just one of us.
The good thing is because we use the same perspective [in the layout] we can use the same parts. So we started an archive – it’s like building your own toy shelf. When we finish a product we put them in different collections, flags, signs, etc.
Eresearch is one of the most important things, super markets are a great place to find things when we travel the first place we go to is the supermarket.
Our main jobs are work for magazines. Last year we did an illustration on web 2.0 for Fortune magazine, we had a lot of interest when we posted it on our site. We are also looking to make real figures, with kid robot.
The easiest way to start is by what inspires me, I’m massively inspired by shapes. Any project I get, that’s what I start from. My brief history is I was a student at St Martins, went to Amsterdam and got a job at a music magazine. There was a brief spell there before I was offered a job with Designers Republic. (DATE?)I was quite wary when I started the job as and my work was nothing like DR. When I was offered the job I think they were looking to change the face slightly of what they were doing. From that I moved to London and worked with Big Active and Weinen Kennedy then set up Sanderson Bob shortly after. Got some studio space with some friends.
The only gauge to what I do is, we do a lot of work in the studio which is important. A great thing about who I work with is the massive optimism. When you’re doing a brief it’s exciting thinking about all these thousands of different people you can call – that’s why the job’s so interesting. It’s important to craft your own way of thinking and working, it has to point in the same direction as everyone else. It still has a general feel and understanding of what you’re working with. You need to bring people in all the time to freshen it up – give everything away. If we present projects we put loads of thinking into it. That’s what the training at St Martins was good for you just start talking, whether it’s a designer or artist you haven’t heard of or someone’s mates a photographer… it’s about learning.
I just need a new side project each time, so you’re getting different peoples’ work all the time.
I think it’s important to craft something, whether it takes months and months – you can tell the difference. It does go massively wrong sometimes, you just have to keep delving into your pot and you’ll get to something. I just keep a massive library. You don’t have to wait for these people do it yourself, or beat these people.
Don’t think they’re the golden touch to beat, there’s no reason why in 10 years time your dream might take over. For me it’s always new – there’s endless possibilities. Never stay the same all the way through.
SODO: I love these things it’s always a pleasure to look into the whites of the eyes of the people who do these things, not just look at the work. One thing that fascinates me is when you start how do you strike the balance between commercial and personal work. I suppose the holy grail is something that is personal and commercial, how did you do it?
Eboy: We started with the personal and it became commercial after, it just happened. We didn’t much do without, we had a lot of jobs in the company we worked for and outside, like adverts for local beer house but we never showed that. […] We are asked by advertising agencies to concentrate on something. We didn’t go out looking for an agent or anything.
Bob: It’s that thing, you can tell if someone enjoys what they’re doing, you’re not trying to force it on a brief. People love that sort of stuff, it has a quality to it. You can dip into it, but no one is should be telling you what to design. It depends who you’re speaking to, I’ve done government stuff, people who don’t understand what you’re doing it’s too much. So you have to tone down your portfolio. Someone like Nike or something else, is more interesting. They are creatives it’s just a case of showing them that there is a little twist or spice, not to scare them, just saying you want to push as far as you can take it.
SODO: I find it interesting when people say this is my personal and this is my work, the people who have made successful careers don’t really make that distinction. If you separate them early you get this Jekyl and Hyde syndrome.
Adam Gee: When I first started out I worked with someone who made really interesting documentaries then after a time he started getting offered car videos and he invented a new lighting style for cars, and spent a decade in car commercials, and it got sucked away and lost the creative direction.
SOSO: How important is money?
EB: Very important. [laughter] It’s either money or really cool or both – which is good. When a job is well paid most of the time it’s very organised as well and a really good experience. Not so well paid are not so organised. We often do free contributions to magazines Which is very important too.
Bob: When you set up you’ve got to have a business mind, you can’t just create all these amazing things… You have to run a business. It sounds dry you do have to get money in to survive. You do have to take bad work. When someone pays you less, you have to learn to spend less time on things. You won’t spend six months on something, you’ll use something you created last week and twist it slightly. You have to be savvy about it but to edge closer, you have to ask for more money if they want you to make it better.
SODO: If people want to respect your work you have be paid by them. You have to realise that your work is worth something, with ODO people ask us for stuff by artists for nothing and we tell them that they can’t have it for nothing. You have to make people understand that it has a value no matter how small the contribution is, it has a monetary value. Quite often you get clients, someone like Nike, we’ll ask what the budget is and they’ll say hold on it’s a great opportunity, but you know it’s Nike. It is an opportunity but you have to balance it up but you have to have eyes.
Bob: I think the annoying thing is there are many people who would do it for free, you’ve got to have that belief, whether it’s a certain style that it took ages to crack. Something that’s that little bit different, in quality.
SODO: Sometimes it is an opportunity you need on your portfolio – but even this has monetary value.
Bob: You have to be the one coming with the best out of the deal, at the same time they’re using you – you’re using them. Sometimes you get more respect if you say no. Sometimes agents are useful for that, because you can make them the bad guy and get them to say no.
Eboy: We don’t have an agent. We do all that work ourselves which is sometimes it’s a bit difficult as some of these contracts can be long and in languages we don’t understand and quite scary. 4,5,6 pages long. You do hear about people who do their first job, sign the contract, and find something terrible in there. But it hasn’t happened to us yet.
AM: What makes you turn stuff down?
Bob: Gut feeling. Sometimes two days before, it’s no good thinking “I’ll push through, if I work it’s good money” because you might not get any more work because of it. It doesn’t work, if you equate more money with doing something better then you’re going wrong. You have to just realise whether it is going to happen.
SODO: It’s great nowadays you can do it all yourself but there’s a lot of value with working with people that specialise as well.
BOB: Diversify. When you work these days there’s so much you can do to get your message out there, not just a poster, but something interactive.
Audience member: I sometimes look at myspace and I’m really annoyed that there’s so much bad design out there. Now anyone can do it.
SODO: I think there is some good and mostly bad out there. Of course there’s stuff that’s bad but that’s what happened when the Box Brownie came out. Everyone thought that they were photographers. But a lot of great photographers came from that small camera, wouldn’t have done photography otherwise.
BOB: It’s also about how you apply themselves to it. All these things are immeadiate but it’s how you think about it. It’s important
SODO: It is changing the visual language, I was in a meeting with MTV the other day and we wanted to check out this designer’s site and we missed an ‘s’ off [and got the wrong site.] And we didn’t know whether it was ironic bad design. People didn’t want to say it was bad. Now it’s another form of graphic design – bad design.
SODO: How do you find it now that you some of the things you do have moved into moving image. So many people’s work is interactive.
SBOB: Sanderson Bob is myself, I know I’m not great at moving image, I’m not going to take time struggling with it, it’s a case of investigating talking to those that are trained in it, asking people who have the knowledge to give it life. Being outside this is sometimes an advantage because you can think outside any possible known restrictions.
SODO: How do you guys find it, we’ve seen one of your adverts that were made from your design?
Eboy: It’s really hard to make our stuff, it’s really time consuming. You have to do each frame by hand it takes a lot of time. It’s really expensive too.
SODO: A lot of students I meet are multi skilled, the quality is really deep. I wonder if something is lost just having the specialities?
SB: When you come in with a portfolio and are like that, it’s a strange thing. It does lose the power of delivery, whether you know what you do best. I’d feel more comfortable getting the one guy in who was really good at one thing.
SODO: It seems to me that for you, Eboy you’ve actually worked across a lot of media. I mean your work with Paul Smith for example, was T-shirts, bags, toys. I think if you are a successful designer these days, it is the holy grail, your work can be used in so many different mediums.
Eboy: It’s a dream for any designer to be on all these things. We just designed the images not the clothes. It’s always nice to see 2d work formed in real life. It was great to see the toy, to have it in our own hands. We are happy because we have so many projects.
Bob: The label is a great thing for me, got 30 artists illustrators on our books. Got some jumpers we’re working on. It’s good thinking about the side project, you can do what you want. Taking tiny steps. It’s a form of R+D.
Eboy: It’s always good to have fun.
SODO: It’s like you need to keep building your muscles.
AG: It’s important to get out of your area.
SODO: If you go the same way you need to go different direction. I often walk different routes home. You stop seeing it. It’s important when you visit cities to actually go and look around.
Eboy: Do you collect images then from you travels?
SODO: Yeah I keep them on Flikr which is my way of sorting them out. Myspace is alright but I find it limiting. With Flickr you can navigate you way round and plot your course. It’s interesting.
BOB: I’ve got boxes of scraps. I like to turn the box over, it’s like a treasure chest. It’s nice to touch it, check the finish or whatever.
SODO: Saying that I keep note books and make notes and it’s great to go back. The house got flooded recently and I lost a load of stuff. It’s great that that doesn’t happen on line.
Steff: I guess you’re making products, you’re doing service work for clients but you’re also being producers. I’m wondering is that what you’re going to be a design product company more than a design service company. Is that the way we should be going – product that is replicating or service?
SODO: It’s a process of breaking down the boundaries cutting out the middle man and selling to the public. Whether one product is created or thousands it’s important. OneDotZero is all research, everything feeds everything. Do you feel that Bob? the move from you a trainer company coming to you to you designing some trainers.
Bob: You can’t just jump into it, you need to work with people to get that real knowledge. I just wouldn’t dive into it to make a truck load of cash.
ODO: OneDotZero has this brand now and I’m very conscious of how it’s used. What it represents, I’m very conscious of that now. In a way it becomes its own thing and you can’t start by saying “I’m a designer but I realise the money is in licensing.” That’s not the way to start. Now it’s very attractive. We very much give advice and protection on that. You need to stand out in your area and do something original rather than copying people who make money. Amazon is a good example they make a tiny profit on books, but they sell millions of different books.
Eboy: It’s a world wide market, you have a lot more competitors but you have more clients world wide. More people can see it.
Bob: It’s about standing up for yourselves
ODO: I get very protective of the brand, in some countries a producer might design a bad poster and it’s embarrassing because that’s what were tryingt o stand for. My website I’m never happy with it. You have to represent by offering a good example, it’s hard. I’m excited about what’s happening next.