MSXTOU

March, 2017

Multiple States collaborated with Two of Us to produce an interactive visual experience that represented a connection of their individual studio identities.

Kevin talks to Ash and Ian from Two of Us about the differences between print and digital design and finding time for personal work.

msxtou.co

The experiment is described as “a literal collaboration between the studios...”. Can you elaborate further on this?

Both our brands have a unique visual identity that comes from a system of flexible self-made rules. For the collaboration between the two studios we experimented with combining the two sets of rules.

The resulting form is simple and effective. Why do you think it works so well?

The results are extremely different, yet still conform to our rules. For us, a successful and future-proofed brand identity is not necessarily exactly the same forever, but is based upon a solid foundation and follows certain rules. This allows for growth and experimentation.

The site uses a randomly generated colour combination. As designers, how you feel handing over such a key element of the design to a computer script?

Whilst we wouldn’t necessarily pick all of the colour combinations ourselves, there’s something very satisfying and refreshing about the colours being selected by something out of our control – it often throws up some great pairings. We use lots of methods to select our colour combinations and this adds to them.

The user has a fairly active role in this design. They can create forms that you may not find pleasing. How do you feel about this? Are there any other pitfalls to this?

Not at all. Some of the results (like the colours) may have not been our preference – but like so many things – are subjective. The result will still represent Multiple States and Two of Us. The most important thing is that people just have fun with it.

There is a printed element to this project. Do you feel that the printed material loses anything because the users cannot interact with it in the same way?

We looked at replicating the interactive element with the print, but felt that the purpose of the print should simply be to create awareness of the site while encouraging people to visit and play. In creating print that was visually aligned and offered some explanation of the project – we achieved our aim.

It seems like this project might have articulated some key differences between current print and digital design. Did it?

We could have made the print piece more interactive – we initially looked at developing a flip book that conveyed motion and interactiveness. However, for the same reasons as stated above, we didn’t feel it was a good fit. We’d like to think this project actually highlights how print and digital is now more uniform than ever – the typeface, colours, and the sharp edges, for example.

Obviously there are times when it is hard to prioritise this type of work over paid work. What keeps you dedicated to completing this type of work in those times? What do you gain from these collaborations and why are they so important?

In all honesty, I don’t think we ever separate the two. And we never prioritise one over the other. It’s so important to collaborate, because you learn many new skills and gain indispensable knowledge, which can then be used on commissioned/live projects. Being admirers of Multiple States’ output and sensing a similarity in our ethos, we were keen to see how we could translate that into a collaboration.

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