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IN-DEPTH INTERVIEW: TADO

QUESTION: What’s your favourite kind of project to work on? Commercial, personal, educational?

"We’re not fussy – we like 'em all! We love working with clients who get excited about stuff and understand our work. Doing stuff that is both fun and educational is an interesting challenge. We’ve been doing quite a few projects for kids recently and one of the things we enjoy most is hearing their reactions to things and the feedback they give.

We try to take time out at various points in the year to play around with our own ideas

"We usually find personal work the most challenging but also the most rewarding. We try to take time out at various points in the year to play around with our own ideas and let rip a little. We’ve done several solo exhibitions now and find that we really enjoy doing it as it gives us a chance to let our hair down a little!"

TADO: Pub Scrawl illustration

TADO created this illustration for the first ever Pub Scrawl event this year in Sheffield curated by artist Pete McKee

QUESTION: You’ve worked for many big clients: Nike, BBC, etc. How much creative freedom are you allowed on such projects?

"We really enjoy working on projects with clients who get excited about the work that is being produced and who love to get involved in the process. We tend to work with just a few individuals at a time so it's always a pleasure to get to know a team and work through ideas together.

"We’ve been really fortunate in that almost all of the clients who we have worked with over the years have chosen us for our style and when that’s the case you tend to have quite a bit of creative freedom."

QUESTION: You created the designs for a cereal brand for Sainsbury's. What was it seeing your work on the shelves?

"It was very exciting indeed and definitely the biggest audience our work has ever had.

Seeing them on the shelves for the first time was great

"Seeing them on the shelves for the first time was great – we bought a little variety pack of them so we could have mini versions to display in the studio!"

TADO: cereal characters

TADO's character creations for Sainbury's cereal brands

QUESTION: You started out in character design but are now well known for your toy creations. What prompted the move?

"Toy production is just a small bit of what we do really - it's something we really enjoy and it's one of the things that keeps us excited.

Toy production is one of the things that keeps us excited about what we do

"We think making toys is a very logical step for any character designer to take - it's simply realising your characters in the 3D world and bringing them one step closer to being alive in the same way that animation does."

QUESTION: You have an extensive personal collection of vinyl toys. How many do you have and which is your favourite?

"We have no idea how many we have! Which is worrying. It’s a lot. Probably too many.

We're always discovering new and quirky stuff to hunt for

"Our favourites change all the time. Our collection is certainly a very eclectic one – we have all sorts ranging from artist produced originals to happy meal toys. We’re not fussy at all – if we like it then it doesn’t matter how rare or how cool it is or isn’t. One minute we’ll be after some bizarre gachapon keyrings, or the latest release from a particular artist, the next it’ll be an obscure and goofy superhero or a vintage piece from the Yahoo Japan auctions.

"We have a few artists and designers that we’ve been fans of for a long time and kept on collecting. At the same time we’re always discovering new and quirky stuff to hunt for."

TADO: Funghi

Limited to just 60 pieces, Funghi was a collaborative project between TADO and Creo Design

QUESTION: What was your favourite childhood toy and why?

Katie: "Popples! I had an orange one with green hair called Puzzle. I’m not sure why that was my favourite thing though."

Katie: Popples! I had an orange one with green hair called Puzzle

Mike: "Definitely bikes. I’ve always had a bike and they’ve been the source of a lot of adventures, mischief, accidents and happy memories."

QUESTION: Who is your favourite toy designer/creator and why?

"It changes every day! We couldn’t possibly name one over another really. Anyone who enjoys toys is a pretty cool person as far as we’re concerned!"

QUESTION: What was the last toy you bought and where was it from?

"The last toy we bought is a 1970s ‘Bouken Rockbat’ chogokin figure produced by Bullmark. He came from eBay and is currently on his way from Hong Kong to us… we hope! Rockbat is a recent obsession of ours brought back from our recent time in Japan."