The hue of Me: Appropriately titled album art for Bjork (A); album art for Carl Cox (B); a poster from Noriuki Makihara's "Love Songs From the Digital Cowboy" album, for WEA Japan (C); a Nike ad featuring Brazilian soccer star Ronaldo (D); art for Carl Cox's "Ultimatum" (E); a frame from Makihara's all-CGI "Cowboy" music video (F); and a Nike ad starring soccer player Patrick Kluivert (G).
London-based Me Company is best known as the graphics groove of Bjork, Iceland's warbling wonder, with whom they've been affiliated since her Sugarcubes days, but as company founder Paul White points out in reference to the faded British techno/rave scene, to which Me Co. owes much of its style, "music doesn't wane, it evolves"-and Me Co. has indeed been doing some evolving.
The company, established in 1985, made its first outright advertising foray earlier this year with a European print campaign for Nike soccer shoes and Wieden & Kennedy/Amsterdam that takes the 3-D rave style to new depths. "The personal ambitions and characteristics" of four Euro soccer stars, as a Me Co. technical brief explains it, "have been externalized through elastic reality morphing," and the Nintendoesque results from the Mac-stacked Me staff of five are suitable for gaming. "Me Co. has a very specialist knowledge about a particular marketplace," White avers. "We know how to talk to ourselves, that is, good looking and between the ages of 21 and 37." (White, not coincidentally, is 37.)
If this sounds rather optimistic, Me's thrust is just that; "We like to think that much of our work is experimental, and this is something we do because we're optimistic about the future," White writes in a Me Co. backgrounder. With a portfolio that consists mainly of eye-popping record covers for fairly obscure techno/rave acts, Me Co. has been moving in several new directions as well as dimensions of late, with a design for a bar in London's Soho, set design and graphics for a U.K. television show, and a just completed 4-minute computer-generated music video for a Japanese pop star, Noriuki Makihara. Future projects may include a line of Me Co. clothing, a Soho restaurant design and computer games.
While the plainly techno-based Me style remains fairly consistent regardless of client or product, White does not see the company dancing itself into a rave rut. Just as the techno scene has not waned but evolved, as White would have it, "it's people that wane, often by anchoring themselves too firmly to one particular style or period." As for the trademark depth of Me print, "the 3-D-ness is not the defining element of the work, it's a tool for realizing the ideas held inside the work," White believes. "The technology is moving so fast that the technical ability to realize things in different ways is outstripping the number of new things that need to be expressed."
One can only hope this doesn't apply to Bjork, who may be Me Co.'s Nike, unless, in the spirit of late 20th century optimism, Nike itself someday assumes that role. Me Co. has even designed an Ecstatic coffee-table companion book to last year's "Post" record, and a Bjork CD-ROM is underway. "She offers us a kind of freedom rarely found in any form of relationship," says White. "If either one of us turns up with a crap idea we would never spare each other's feelings, and we