Original Interview: August 2017

Studio io

Keeping things interesting in such a unique way—Simon Bent of Studio i0 has created ‘The Endless Trail’ with the studios instagram feed. Talk about taking a side project to another level, its been ongoing for the past couple of years with no end in sight! Thanks for chatting with us and filling us in on who the most important member of your team is— creative director Bobbie the dog— who could argue with that.

What are some of your earliest creative memories and what lead you into design?
The endless supply of recycled paper from my dads work as a surveyor meant I was ‘creative’ whenever I was bored, or the folks needed quiet time. I’d spend endless hours tracing illustrations then trying to copy them from comics He-Man and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. My mum didn’t give me colouring in books, so it was always freestyle. This lead me to learn to draw on my own, making zines and posters, and I guess I haven’t stopped drawing since. There is a lot more digital doodling now but I never shy away from getting hands on with preliminary artwork, logos, type and compositions.

What does a typical working day include for you right now?
My typical day starts relatively early; walking the creative director (Bobbie — the dog) for about an hour or so — if I don’t do this, neither of us are productive. I will sit in and have a coffee at the local near my studio, and reply to any administrative emails and create a bit of a plan of attack for the day ahead.

Once I’m in the studio the music goes on and emails will be avoided (unless there are graphic design emergencies) so I get into the design work; this might involve working on a custom typeface, creating a detailed illustration, liaising with suppliers to bring the design to the real world, or presenting concepts to clients. Everyday is different, and taking time at the start of the week, and again each day, helps me prioritise and organise my week. I do tend to jump between projects if the inspiration strikes, so my laptop is often open on the train home, making up for any distractions I might have during the day.

What are your three must-read design books/blogs/podcasts and why?
The Politics of Design — Honestly picked up this one because I liked the cover but turns out to be one of the more interesting reads lately. This book explores the cultural meanings behind symbols, typography, maps and photography. With some really interesting but probably quite nerdy stories through out. Never thought so hard about maps and how (in)accurate they are.

In Wild Air is a weekly newsletter by Heath Killen. Each week features 6 interesting things by a guest —these things can be vastly different. From Spaghetti Bridges (yep, that’s a thing), The Australian Sweat Bathing Association (also a thing) to topics like Misuzu Kaneko, Uniformagazine and Paul Erdős — just to name a few subjects. It is super refreshing to receive an email newsletter that I really look forward to reading and also generally comes on Monday morning so a nice start to the week.

butdoesitfloat — I’ve always been a fan of this blog; a seemingly endless feed of beautifully curated images. They describe it as an ongoing visual conversation between Folkert Gorter, Atley G. Kasky, and Will Schofie — the editiors of the blog. The contents vary from visual art to architectural sketches to abstract photography to geometric op-art prints — all of it eye-wateringly delicious. 

Tell us a bit about yourself and the studio that you work for.
io is myself, Gillian and Bobbie. The most important member, Bobbie is a Cairn Terrier; no project is complete without her stamp of approval. Gillian does the copy writing, project management/systems and reminds me of the brief when I get stuck. I do the actual design work and day to day account management. Currently the studio is based in Kensington in the Young Husband Woolmills — it’s big, old and cobble-stony and home many other creative small businesses . 

Our work is primarily branding with a focus on typography and geometric pattern work and we love to experiment.

The vision for the studio is to be small and nimble, to produce good and surprising work for good and weird people. Working primarily in branding but also to occasionally work outside of that discipline in typography, illustration and publishing. We are also hoping to produce some retail products soon as well.  

Any passion projects you would like to share?
The Endless Trail is my personal Instagram project . We have dedicated every third post on our feed to a single, connected illustration. The idea to to have each of the posts to connect from top to bottom. The content ranges from experimental graphic tests to rejected artwork and typography experiments the common thread being 5 colours. This project has been running for almost 2 years, currently we are up to our 91st with no end in site. Cause… it’s endless.

I ticked off a bucket list item recently, doing some beer can labels for 3 Ravens brewery too.

Another project I have been working on quite recently is with the Gertrude Street Projection Festival. This year we spent a bit of time refreshing their identity with a custom typeface, new colour scheme and website. We have been collaborating with Bone for the website (to be launched soon) and WWZARD6 with some animations. It’s a great creative project to be involved with and am really looking forward to the event at the end of July. 

2017 for you in a sentence.
well…11 identities, 63 various projects, 15 Typefaces in development 2017 has been a casual stroll in the park. 

Website: studio-io.com
Instagram: @studio_io
Twitter: @studio_io