stealing eyeballs 07

Interview with Spin

Simon Hadler: Spin works with all kinds of different media. you make designs for tv, print, cd-rom, the web. This is a big trend since years. Both designers and journalists should be able to work cross-media/multimedia. sounds cool in theory. but isn't it very time- and energy- and creativity-consuming if an artist has to deal – and learn how to deal – with so many different techniques, softwares, hardwares, etc.? Or do you strictly part programming/project management/design.?

Tony (Spin): We have designers with specialist knowledge in each area. We also have production staff who enable us to access technologies that we are not necessarily conversant in by creating strong relationships with outside suppliers.
The quality of concept and execution is, as it always has been, the most important thing. Quality designers are in much shorter supply than people with strong technical knowledge. So good thinking is really the main requirement.
Designers must be aware of some the technical boundaries of any particular discipline in order to make the most of any opportunity, but they don't need to know everything. It wouldn't be possible. Therefore collaboration with, and flexibility in dealing with other outside agencies and individuals is the key to keeping up to date with developments. No one can know everything.

SH: Within all the different media one of your main tasks is to draw attention to whatever you present. The ways to get there are different, of course. but are there certain constants, certain rules that work for tv, print, multimedia, the web and whatever medium you work with?

Tony (Spin): Definitely, clarity of communication and strong challenging ideas. With intelligence and care a good designer will find a strong solution in any discipline. One thing we always try to do is challenge the brief from the client. Is the right question being asked?. Good questions tend to inspire successful solutions. We have a collective meeting at Spin then meet up with the client and have a debate/discussion with them about the job in hand. This tends to encourage both parties to think more openly about the solution. Clients tend to be much braver if they are allowed into the process.

SH: If you'd have to explain the visual language of Spin in short, what would you say?

Tony (Spin): Clear, clean, conceptual and considered.

SH: Does Spin also stand for a certain Design-School?

Tony (Spin): Not really, although we do have a set of like minded people who work at Spin. We are always developing our visual language.

SH: Is it possible to carry social/political messages with graphic design in the field of commercial work? If yes: How do you do it without being too straight-forward?

Tony (Spin): The MTV identity is a good example of giving social and political messages in a commercial world. By approaching the subjects through humour we could communicate without being heavy handed. Irony is a useful weapon. For example: Nuclear waste isn't bad for you and it's OK to dump it in the sea.

SH: Is it hard to keep your creativity and easyness in design when you deal with a "heavyweight" customer like, for example, Nike?

Tony (Spin): Depends on the project but they use us because we have a strong opinion, the size of the client does not dictate how creative they require us to be. It all depends on individual commissions.

SH: Does it happen that Spin refuses to work with a certain client? If yes, why?

Tony (Spin): The Conservative party and the tobacco industry. Because we can afford to have some principles.

SH: Spin makes both commercial and client-free projects. it seems to me, that with many of your commercial work, you work with a lot of artistic freedom. why do you still make client-free projects?

Tony (Spin): They are good for the soul. They also feed into our paid work and give us a chance to experiment without any commercial pressure.