Creating the titles for any design event is a huge task – especially if it's for an event as respected as OFFF. Celebrating their 15th birthday this year, they asked experimental designer James White – a.k.a Signal Noise – and motion experts Onesize to come up with the design. Here, they talk to us about what the project meant to them, their difficulties and the art of collaboration.
How did the project come about?
Rogier Hendriks: Onesize have wanted to go to OFFF for years – this year, we decided we would, so we booked our tickets, got our flights and an apartment. Then, two weeks later, I got this email from OFFF director Hector Ayuso in which he asked if we were interested in doing the titles, together with James White.
Of course we said yes. Our only demand was that if we were going to do this, it needed to be a clever collaboration between us and James. We needed to use each other's features and strengths. As a designer, James has a very distinctive style, and style-wise it's the total opposite to our work, so we knew this was going to be an interesting project.
How did you approach such a big task?
James White: Personally, I like to let the people who are best at what they do navigate that task. When Hector asked me to do the titles, my reaction was, "But... I don’t do motion." So I was thrilled when he paired me with Onesize. Here are a bunch of guys who are expert storytellers.
They know how to craft and execute flawless and thoughtful narrative, something that I find completely bewildering. That leaves me to create the design assets needed to add the visual element to the story.
Where did you get the inspiration for the titles?
JW: That's where things get really funny. OneSize and I come from very different pits of inspiration, and the work we produce is polar opposite of one another. That's pretty apparent if you visit our portfolios. I'm sure Hector had a big laugh when he introduced us.
My ideas for the titles started mid-last year and I went through 3 different concepts before being introduced to OneSize. I came up with these wild ideas with absolutely no way to execute them, which was pretty stressful being a guy who doesn't know anything about making stuff move. The ideas were way too big. After having my first conversation with the team at OneSize, I was put at ease. They know their stuff, man.
Did you face any specific challenges?
RH: Well I think our biggest challenge was how to integrate James' designs into something that would be interesting story-wise and creation-wise in a creative way.
Just animating James' designs would not do the trick for us you know. What's in it for us, was the big question. It's one of those projects that give so much energy. It's a hell of a job, but it's gonna be so much fun!
JW: I'm used to working on little projects alone in my office, so to take on something much larger with a team of people I didn't know was pretty scary. Fear is a distraction, and distractions keep me from being creative. That's a big problem.
Overcoming that was made easier when I was introduced to OneSize. The guys over there felt like instant friends after our first chat, and I suddenly felt like I wasn't in this alone. And it's been getting better as the collaboration continues.
How are you feeling about showcasing your work to a huge creative audience?
JW: Being a freelance designer you tend to spend most of your time alone, pecking away in front of a computer, so getting onstage in front of a big crowd at OFFF is the closest we have to our own rock show. I'm honoured to be involved in any way for the 15th anniversary.
RH: At first we felt a lot of pressure. Creating the Offf titles have always been on our bucket list.. and now it's the time to actually do it, together with one of the hottest designers of the moment James White. It sure as hell kept us awake the first few weeks, before we actually thought of a plan.
Is there anything you'd do differently?
JW: Considering this journey made me some new friends... no way.
RH: At this point, not a single thing.
This interview originally appeared in Computer Arts issue 239: Love Print / Love Digital.