Hey Mat, You alright?
Yes thank you, I am doing pretty well plus I’m really enjoying some of the projects I’m currently exploring and working on.
Who is the ‘friendly Neighbourhood Type Illustrator/Animator’
I’m just a simple designer who made a passion into a career, designing and animating type is my drive 364 days a year (I love Christmas day). But yeah I am a designer who trained as an illustrator, working for different agencies for a number of years before turning my own passion projects/exploratory work into a full time career.
Give us some fun/quirky facts about yourself
I was originally born in Germany, however, lived in the UK since a very young child.
I work out of a tiny back bedroom ‘Studio’ on work for clients globally.
I have a partner in crime called Hooch (Hungarian Vizsla cross) who makes sure I don’t spend too much time looking at the screen.
I am an absolute film fanatic.
Animated lettering is almost more of a hobby and passion than a job.
You’re known for your energetic type, how did this start?
So I dabbled in motion design a fair few years back however, I’m not gonna lie I hated animating. Everything I would create would just look nothing like I imagined, kinda like Instagram versus reality. However whilst I was working for different design agencies in the north I would experiment personally with creating static type, mainly just nice pieces of type that I thought would look cool up on a wall. Now at the same time I was slowly learning more about motion design in my own time, so I started to combine that with my style of illustrated type. Then, thanks to lockdown I almost had a crash course in pure practice/creativity, messing with styles and creating things that I thought looked fun & energetic on screen. The rest is history, that love of practicing in creating moving type somehow flourished into a full career.
If you had to create work in a different style what would it be?
I would love to create work frame by frame as you can kind of fake fbf animation using motion graphics. However, there’s just something really nice and handcrafted about it but like all great things it takes a hell of a lot of practice. So maybe one day…
Did you always know this was the path you wanted to go down?
No not at all. I always saw myself working for agencies, then possibly becoming an art director and very much following that standard agency route. However, because the kind of work I was posting in my personal time pretty much viral and started to be seen and used by agencies all over the world, freelance briefs started to come in. It got to the point where I was turning down work and dream briefs because I didn’t have the time whilst working full time at an agency. Put it this way, I never ever thought I would be an independent artist, especially in the field of animating typography.
Talk to us about your university experience
It’s a hard one this because when I went to university there was 130 people on my course, so it was kind of hard to get more one-on-one time at university with tutors. Plus, I always like creating work that I thought was visually striking, however it didn’t always feel or match the brief requirements. Basically I was far from top of the class, scraping by each unit and course module and leaving uni thinking that working in an agency was the only was to make a living in design. (IT IS NOT)
Any advice to anyone looking to go down that route?
This always sounds pretty obvious, but you have to practice and by that I mean practice A LOT, like EVERYDAY. People may think that animating lettering is pretty simple and straightforward, but it certainly takes a considered eye for how things can move in an interesting way or even how things can come to life. That unfortunately only comes from hundreds of hours of practice (if you wanna master it is that is haha). I would recommend people to learn about character animation and general graphic animation, and then start applying those skills to typography.
Is there anything university staff can do to improve the experience?
I would definitely say universities could start to introduce much more motion into their courses because it’s not going anywhere anytime soon and it is something that clients, brands and agencies across the globe really want right now and going forward. I don’t think there is anything wrong with telling students to follow tutorials and follow courses that help aid their learning. In reality when you leave uni and if you don’t have a design director or senior designer to sit new to, to learn new things…then tutorials are the way in which you will naturally learn.
Your career has been super inspirational and successful what has the best bit of advice you’ve received?
It would have to be sticking to your morals, because sometimes you might be offered ‘amazing jobs’ or even amazing money, but it may not be for a cause you agree with or it might not be something that you actually want to work on. It’s always hard turning down jobs that almost appear too good to be true, so it’s always good to do your research into the brand or the agency to make sure both yours and their time won’t be wasted. When you’re an independent, your time is the most valuable thing.
You've worked for many big clients do you have a favourite project?
It would either be my work for the BBC (this was three animated titles over famous TV shows and film footage from here in the UK) because it was aired on New Year’s Eve on live TV, which was pretty special to see in person. Or it would be my work for Niantic, which again was creating a set of titles. However, these were displayed in Times Square on the largest boards they have to offer. I was lucky enough to get sent footage of this, and that is a dream come true.
What do you look for in a brief?
Firstly, in any brief I like to make sure it’s something I’m comfortable with, I always like a challenge, however if it’s something I don’t think is right for me or is something that I will not feel comfortable delivering then I turn it down, or barter about the style/direction to see if we can make it work. But mainly as long as there is plenty of character on offer, the possibility of a great colour palette then I am on board. Plus anything in broadcast (so tv or film) or if the work will be seen on big digital screens, then that is a huge bonus as there is something really special about seeing you work out there in the wild :).
Is there anything you’re wanting to explore or develop?
I’m always looking to develop new styles with my type arsenal as it gives me more to offer clients and agencies. However, as always, I found that only comes with practicing in my own time. So yeah new styles and new ways of animating type.
I want to start featuring more people on this platform so with this in mind, who are your standout creatives?
Amazing! Here’s a few great creatives…
For my final question, whats next?
Next up, I am working on the motion language for a global drinks brand with a great agency and team. It’s one of those projects that will be seen everywhere and anywhere and will really be a career highlight to be a part of :)