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Interview with Melbourne design collective, Motherbird

13 DEC 2011 | Posted By: Katelyn

Interview with Melbourne design collective, Motherbird

Motherbird is Jack Mussett, Dan Evans and Chris Murphy. The three make cool stuff look even cooler and have been invited to speak at AGDA’s ‘First Five Out’ in 2009 and awarded the Qantas Spirit of Youth Award in 2010.

Their sea ship of skills is vast, ranging from art direction to packaging design, with a little illustration, photography and advertising thrown into the mix.

Motherbird may not be a spaceship, but their portfolio is definitely one for tomorrow. Clearly making waves in the youth-infested ocean that is visual communication, their designs are current, bold and full of colour. They’re fresh, people.

Continually meshing typography, form, pattern and photography, Motherbird are proving more versatile than Gumby after a pilates sesh.

The guys were wonderful enough to answer a few questions on who exactly it is they are and what exactly it is they do:

Kate Pullen:
How did the three of you come to be working together as Motherbird?
Motherbird: We met at high school while studying Visual Communication & Design, from there we were all accepted into the same university course to further our studies. During this time we had spoken about starting a studio together, and when we graduated this became a reality.

KP: The studio is still relatively young, has it been a steep learning curve since you begun?
MB: Absolutely, you should never stop learning, that’s makes it fun, but challenging. The hardest part of starting a studio for us has been the managerial/accounts aspect. As a young studio it’s always a struggle to put a value to your work and time. Finding a balance between pushing pixels and managing clients has definitely been a steep learning curve.

KP: Is there a set process when working on a new brief?
MB: We work in a very collaborative way; there is never a project that leaves the studio without having input from all three of us. Usually a project will begin with a studio brainstorming session where we will go over all the details and come up with ideas. From then typically one of us will take the reins and direct the project with creative input from the others.

KP: Ideal client?
MB: Our ideal client would be someone that expects big things, appreciates attention to detail, listens to our advice but pushes us hard and most importantly has ideals and values that align with ours.

KP: What tunes currently fill the Motherbird studio?
MB: Music is a big part of our studio culture. We believe listening to certain types of music helps foster the creative process. Currently we’re listening to: Massive Attack, Active Child, Gotye, UNKLE, Bonobo and a bit of Ennio Morricone. We’ve got a bit of a twitter hashtag going for it…join us #studiosounds

When your calendar is full of set briefs for particular clients, it must be nice to have the opportunity to work on something more self-directed. Is more personal work something you really value, and is it something you really have to fight for as a designer?
MB: If you get the right project and a client open to new ideas there is a great opportunity to develop a good relationship and ultimately create work that you’re proud of. It is also important to be self-indulgent and experiment with design and art. We often create image series/typefaces or just make a mess of the studio to bring about a sense of freedom.

KP: What wise words would you impart on all the cash-strapped, time-poor, have-only-eaten-toast-and-V-for-the-past-semester graphic design students out there, looking to enter the game?
MB: Do what you feel is right. Don’t follow trends; they all become stale. Meeting people is one of the most important things you can do, the creative industry is very much about collaboration and working with others. Or take a short-cut…wear black, drink coffee, buy a fixie.

More at motherbird.com.au.
Interview with Graffiti World author Nicholas Ganz
Interview with Jonathan Guthmann of Drawing Dicks on the Herald Sun
Interview with Sydney artist Beastman
Interview with Anthony Lister
Interview with Positive Posters' Nick Hallam
Interview with artist Eric Yahnker
Interview with Melbourne artist Meggs
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