Featured Studio

Studio OK-OK

October 2019

We caught up with Nathan Cutts, Creative Director at Studio OK-OK, who shares with us his bad habits, deepest fears, and some parenting advice. Oh, he also chats about the increasing influence of animation in the design process, the benefits of design internships, and how OK-OK develop new and existing brands.

Give us the elevator pitch on what you do.

In a monotone, business-like voice: "OK-OK is a design studio run by myself and Alex Mertzanidis focused on crafting the culture and voice of brands. Whether it's creation or progression, we work with clients of all shapes and sizes to produce artfully strategised solutions that transform brand communication, awareness and experience. We seek to understand what your brand is and what it has to say; what makes it different? From strategy to identity to print and digital material, we work collaboratively across these areas to develop outcomes that give brands confidence and set them apart."

I have a fear of elevators.

Talk us through a typical working day include for you right now.

I write a lot. General communications. Concept rationalisation. Naming. Creative copywriting. Quotes. At any given time, I've got multiple windows open with a few paragraphs of text from different projects. Typically, this scatters my brain and it suddenly malfunctions around 3pm. Often, without thought or reason, I'll have distracted myself with Cinema 4D or After Effects; creating something purposeless that will never see the light of day. Sometimes, but rarely, I design. That's a bad habit.

Did you have a plan for graduation and what actually happened?

Nathan's plan for graduation:

Step 1. Aim for the dream job.

Step 2. ?????

Step 3. Get it.

Surprisingly... my ill-conceived plan came to fruition. The year after graduating my Bachelors in Design at UniSA, I decided to continue my studies with a Masters in Design — a degree which would "bridge the gap between education and industry". It did... kind of. One of the courses included an internship and because of this my entire post-graduate education was beneficial: I happened to get a placement as a designer at Mash.

What began as a six month internship turned into a seven year stay (a foolish mistake on their behalf). Luckily for me, working in an established studio whilst learning from two talented yet weird Creative Directors, their Senior Designers and Project Manager yielded beneficial results.

The advice and education I received about artworking, project management, attention to detail, client relations and cultural/social awareness became the foundation of me as a designer. The Masters degree was supposed to provide the same outcome; it did not.


The same question always arises, "how can we animate this?" We're not just adapting, we're letting it lead us.


What are some of the best and worst parts of your job, day-to-day?

As a designer and somebody's child, I'm expertly proficient in comparing design to parenting. For example, I could save time, stress and energy if I simply gave up design, relinquished all responsibility and care and went on a Tuscan vacation... much like parenting.

Sadly though, I'm one of those overbearing, obsessive, helicopter parents – and that's the best and worst part of the job. I get to do what I love, experiment with new ideas, pour my heart and soul into something new and beautiful. I believe in it. Obsess over it. Shelter it. Keep it away from peanuts, grass and heroin... the classic list of parental fears. Stress, stress, stress. Concern myself over details no one will notice. Repeat daily.

Where do you think design is heading in the next five years and how will you adapt?

Animation is already playing an influential role. The industry is living through a "designed for digital" phase which is fascinating. Every brand needs to be online, in different formats, on multiple platforms, cheaper and faster. It's one of the strongest and most accessible methods to introduce, market and grow an idea.

Applications like After Effects and Cinema 4D are opening new paths to experiment and create. What people will soon be able to produce will be insane — higher quality content for a fast-paced, high-turnover environment. It's a completely different way of thinking. Add the influence of music and sound on design and you're opening up even more possibilities.

This process evolves into a new way of conceptualising — movement and rhythm is influencing how we create, designers are developing printed material derived from animation. Before we start a project, the discussion about the different digital platforms has already begun. It's a key influence in the creative process. The same question always arises, "how can we animate this?" We're not just adapting, we're letting it lead us.

Who are your top five design crushes globally right now?

Definitely seeing the influence of these five and their impact on animation, typography and imagery: @dia_studio@teaaalexis@blazetype@offshore.studio@studiodumbar

Then a sneaky, sixth shoutout to our web gurus, @rockethouse, who aren't technically design crushes, but they push the functional boundaries, which allows us to do more.

Website: ok-ok.net

Instagram: @studio.okok


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