The Mucho team are scattered all over the world! With offices in Barcelona, San Francisco, New York and Paris they’ve pretty much got it covered. We had a chat with Barcelona based Creative Director, Marc Català, about the importance of visual language today; their public funded research project that’s in the works; plus all the awesome projects Mucho have worked on over the years (including The Wallpaper City Guides!).
Give us the elevator pitch on what you do. We design with meaning. We find meaning and use images and ideas to convey it. Visual language is key, it is essential, it is how we speak today and brands too, through websites, videos, posts on social networks. Visual language is the 21st century language, and it has overcome the written word. And to say things with this language of images –like with any other– you need meaning. If you understand this, you can see how essential it is to design with meaning.
Who are your top five design crushes right now? Marshall McLuhan. A media philosopher who understood media in the digital era better than any designer, and predicted the internet and social networks (including snapchat), 40 years ahead of his time. Elon Musk; to dream it is to design it, design and engineering to save the world. Socratic Design; it’s not a person but a philosophy based design method to design how we could live, and to design moral codes for any project. It is being said that only moral companies will survive (and by extension moral design). That’s why it’s important. And two design pills.
1. Michelberger’s Fountain of Youth Website by Azar Kasimir. A fantastic canvas based website for a wild beverage project. It’s been around for a while, but I found it recently and absolutely love it.
2. And the HBO Vinyl series title sequence by Imaginary Forces is absolutely spot on. Its raw, its cool, its meaningful.
Are you involved in any mentoring/teaching/workshops and if and how it shapes your practice? All the partners at Mucho are involved in teaching. It is a fantastic learning process for ourselves, because it forces you to structure your knowledge so it can be explained. Teaching makes you think of what you think you know, and so it is a great experience which develops your own critical thinking. We also ask some of our designers at the studio to help us with the classes and come and teach, for the same reasons. Finally, we are preparing a big education project due to start next year in which we will concentrate all of our teaching and knowledge. It is an ambitious project of the highest standard, and we are very excited to be doing it.
Any passion projects you would like to share? This education project is definetly one of them. We have a project for a small new social network branding, a russian wine packaging design, and a new transport development branding project. All of them are exciting, although we want to make all projects exciting, no matter of what kind they are or where they come from. We are also developing a public funded research project, which is rare for a design studio to be doing. It is about how the image can generate knowledge through diagrammatic thinking, called Visual Knowledge, and to then translate this to strategic thinking. Also we are very excited about our Why blog, and on that back of that we have developed Why Talks, a conference format where the audience engages in a dialogue with the speaker. We have done a couple and the first big one is at OFFF Barcelona in April.
What has been your highlights since you started out? Starting Mucho with Pablo Juncadella. The creative direction of The Observer being 25 years old. A small chocolate project called Xocoa. Tilman Solé joining Mucho and fundamentally taking us to a next level we only dreamt of. Becoming an international independent studio with Rob Duncan and John Dowling, and then with Loran Stosskopf in Paris. The Wallpaper City Guides, the HP Packaging, or the creative direction of the french Télérama. Rebranding Catalana Occidente, a huge insurance company. Designing Movistar+, the national pay per view TV in Spain, and one of the biggest branding jobs in the country, the branding of UOC, a top online university, the packaging for all of Raimat’s wines, one of the biggest winery in the mediterrenean, the creative direction of the Museum of Modern Art in Barcelona and the rebranding of Cuatrecasas, a big lawyer firm, all of them in the last year. Developing strategic thinking and using it to design with meaning.
What qualities and skills to you look for in a graduate? There are really just three things. They are key and all the rest you can learn or doesn’t matter.
1. The capacity and the will to think.
2. The attitude and the character to want to work.
3. The curiosity to know the world and oneself.
It’s easier said than done, as most people don’t want to think. With those actions all is possible. Without them there isn’t much to be done. I don’t believe in talent as a thing you are born with. I think that keeps people wondering if they have it or not, which is the wrong way to think about it. The thought is preposterous, toxic, and kills creativity.