Kyle Cooper Co-Founder/Creative Director, Imaginary Forces, Hollywood
What is it you do exactly? I am a designer who primarily creates title sequences for feature films and television series. As CD, I also gather and cultivate a team of young designers. My daily reality is working with a very divergent client base that is always presenting new challenges and expectations to finding conceptually relevant and emotionally engaging solutions to particular design problems.
What gets you out of bed in the morning? Both physically and metaphorically, it is my two young daughters who get me to leave the warmth of my bed every morning. Also, it is my desire to make things that spurs me into motion.
What excited you in the design world this year? I kind of live a hermit-like existence, so I haven't been exactly tapped into everything that has been happening in the world in regard to design, the fine arts, architecture, etc. Within the company, I'd point to creative director's Karin Fong's title sequences for I Spy and Clockstoppers and her visuals for The Delta Heavy Spring 2002 Tour featuring DJ artists Sasha and Digweed; as well as New York-based creative director Mikon van Gastel spearheading Imaginary Forces' collaboration with United Architects, which includes five architectural firms, to present a design for the redevelopment of the former World Trade Center site.
What characteristics do you look for in people you work with? I want my co-workers to have a really good foundational understanding of typography, a substantial aptitude toward storytelling, an ability to think conceptually and a personal and innovative point of view and artistic language.
What's been the biggest change in your segment of the industry over the last year or so? With all the advances in technology, clients now expect to see "finished" product immediately. Clients are now more easily and quickly impressed, and the competition has become more intense.
What did you learn this year? I had to relearn that I cannot "drive" a project with my own agenda, that there are always "imaginary forces" at play - actors get sick, machines break and clients make changes. I learned that I have to "listen" to the work and to what is happening around me, and at times, just be quiet.
Who and what inspires you? My greatest inspiration comes from filmmakers, particularly directors, and from the ideas and work that emerge from my younger associates at Imaginary Forces. Also, renowned graphic designer Paul Rand, with whom I studied at Yale, serves as a muse.
Project Summary Imaginary Forces' 2002 highlight reel includes: title sequences for Minority Report, Spider-Man and the 74th Annual Academy Awards, for which the IF team produced more than 850 individual elements, including the broadcast graphics, content for the screens on the stage and a 4 1/2-minute tribute to film composers; main titles for the videogame Metal Gear Solid 2; and the title sequence for the new NBC series Boomtown. IF celebrated one of the highlights of its six-year history this October when United Architects was chosen as one of six teams of architects and planners, from more than 400 submissions representing 34 countries, to submit a design to redevelop the former World Trade Center site. IF is part of United Architects, multinational consortium of young designers and architects who are cutting-edge users of advanced technology in design. New York-based creative director and partner Mikon van Gastel spearheaded IF's collaboration with United Architects, which includes five architectural firms that span the globe: Reiser + Umemoto, RUR Architecture, (New York), Foreign Office Architects, (London), Greg Lynn FORM (Los Angeles), Kevin Kennon Architect (New York) and UN Studio (Amsterdam).
Deanne Cheuk Graphic designer, David Carson Design, New York
What is it you do, exactly? I publish the graphic zine of inspiration called Neomu; I art direct Tokion magazine; I do illustrations for magazines and design graphics for fashion companies like 2K and Levi-Strauss Japan.
What gets you out of bed in the morning? I usually haven't gone to bed yet, actually . . .
What excited you in the design world this year? Everything by M/M Paris, Julie Verhoeven, Bernhard Willhelm and Chris Johanson.
What characteristic do you look for in people you work (or play) with? Incredible originality.
What did you learn this year? If you don't like it now . . . you might in a few months!
Who and what inspires you? I'm always inspired.
Fred Dust Environmental Designer, IDEO, San Francisco
What is it you do, exactly? I lead IDEO's environments practice, which focuses on the design of spaces. I spend a lot of time reminding clients and internal teams that the design of space is both the most important and least important aspect of any experience. Space is really only one part of a much bigger equation that addresses the people that are going to use that space and their specific needs. If it's done right, the design of that space kind of goes away, and it's the experience that people remember.
What gets you out of bed in the morning? I like late nights - there isn't much good that gets me out of bed in the morning. There is, however, a lot of great stuff that keeps me awake at night.
What excited you in the design world this year? For some reason this has been a year for looking back at things that I almost forgot. I've spent a lot of time looking at the boxes of Joseph Cornell. They're amazing, like Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge stuffed into 8x10 space. You want to spend more time looking at them than you probably should.
What characteristic do you look for in people you work (or play) with?
Hope and a good sense of timing.
What's been the biggest change in your segment of the industry over the last year or so?
The "just do it" approach to design seems to have finally passed on. This is partly based on the expense and commitment required to create new environments and experience-based design projects, as well as on the economic climate. Clients want not only to design a new space but also to take the opportunity to learn more about who the design is for. This makes the work richer and allows for a greater possibility of transformation by design.
What did you learn this year? Messy collaborative teams really do do it better (we should have T-shirts made). I think that the economic pressure to do more with less could have led us to revert to the old "lone genius" approach, but the traditional team model always comes up with better results in the end.
Who and what inspires you? I find it inspiring to see people misusing everyday objects for their own purposes (kids making tents out of sheets and chairs or adults using their tailgates for picnics.) It's a good reminder that resourcefulness lies at the heart of design.
Project Summary Fred Dust leads IDEO's environments practice, and was the project lead for a diverse group of recent projects. An architect by training, his multidisciplinary teams create immersive, interactive spaces for diverse industries, including healthcare, education, retail, financial services and workplace design. Dust was the project and design lead on the Stanford Center for Innovations in Learning (SCIL), a "learning laboratory" at Stanford University created to explore collaborative, technology-enabled approaches to education. He also worked on a cardiac care center for Memorial Hospital, and Dilbert's Ultimate Cubicle with Scott Adams, a life-affirming answer to the soulless modular cubicle that accommodates office workers' personal tastes and work styles.
Joe Duffy Founder, Duffy Design, Minneapolis
What is it you do exactly? I'm primarily concerned with maintaining the best possible creative environment for Duffy. That has to do with many different things - hiring the best talent, attracting the best possible clients, shepherding the best possible design solutions through the process, integrating our efforts with our partners at Fallon, and expanding our offerings to other parts of the world.
What gets you out of bed in the morning? Knowing that there'll be something new, different and challenging to face today.
What excited you in the design world this year? Product design mostly. I haven't seen much breakthrough graphic design in this down economy, but I've been inspired all year by product design, primarily in the areas of consumer electronics and home furnishing.
What characteristic do you look for in people you work with? Unique conceptual creative talent, high craft level skills, great people skills (collaboration).
What's been the biggest change in your segment of the industry over the last year or so? A more conservative outlook on the part of many clients that has forced designers to take fewer risks.
What did you learn this year? How to do more with less.
Who and what inspires you? I'm continually inspired by fine art and architecture. For the most part, by those with proven track records: Frank Gehry, Rem Koolhaas, Philippe Starck, Chuck Close, Claes Oldenburg, Gerhard Richter and others.
Project Summary In 2002, Duffy has done work from brand positioning and identity to product labeling and packaging to environmental design to fully integrated brand programs. Projects have included strategic branding and design for a new denim company, Fractal; work for Starbucks on an integrated strategy coupling the launch of a new product (DoubleShot) with the rejuvenation of another (Frapuccino); for restaurant Bacio: for Ralston Purina, using design to globally define and position a brand; and for Argento wine.
Bob Greenberg Founder/Chairman/Chief Creative Officer, R/GA, New York
What gets you out of bed in the morning? It takes all three of my alarm clocks, each one ringing at five-minute intervals, to bring me to an upright position.
What excited you in the design world this year? When I transitioned out of print, broadcast and feature film work, I always wanted to circle back and get involved in a project that was as visually compelling and creatively challenging as some of our earlier film and commercials work. Nikelab.com, the project R/GA designed and produced for Nike, brings together on the web the best aspects of design, digital video, computer graphics sound design and special effects. R/GA also acted as a digital art curator, working with influential artists to create content for the site. Other design-inspired works that I find intriguing include the Mercedes G-Wagon, Hella Jongerius' chair, the Apple iPod, the Sankai Juku butoh dance troupe from Japan and some of the initial World Trade Center concepts.
What's been the biggest change in your segment of the industry over the last year or so?
In the interactive segment, there has been very little change over the last year. The industry remains in turmoil, with many companies still looking to develop an effective business model either through restructuring or merging with other companies. What a lot of people don't realize is that the sector is only about eight years old and is still in major transition, with much of its potential yet to be realized.
What did you learn this year? After 12 years, I learned that yoga is anything but relaxing - especially when it begins at 6:15 each morning with a military-type yoga instructor who is banging on my loft door, whether I'm ready or not.
Who and what inspires you? A combination of people and their work including Glenn Gould, who in my opinion is the best interpreter of Bach; Jean Dubuffet, who was the first artist to become deeply involved with Art Brut or Outsider art; Rei Kawakubo (Comme des Garcons), because she pushes the boundaries of contemporary fashion; J.D. Salinger; Bob Dylan; and my favorite architects, Le Corbusier, Tadao Ando and Louis Barrigan.
Project Summary During the past year R/GA has created a range of online projects, including Aveda.com, The Smithsonian Institution portal and the Ian Schrager website, along with a host of Nike launches: Nikebasketball.com, Nikerunning.com, Nikegoddess.com, Nike-presto.com and, most recently, Nikelab.com. The company also collaborated with Fabien Baron and Philippe Starck on the completion of the 23-story digital sign in Times Square for Reuters/Insitnet with ESI.
Garry Jacques Design Director, Attik USA
What is it you do, exactly? My job mainly consists of overseeing projects from the creative perspective, from brainstorm and concepting to producing the visuals for presentations. I also direct live action and postproduction sessions whenever the opportunity arises. The rest of my time is split between general day-to-day management of the U.S. creative teams and, above all, basically keeping our clients happy.
What gets you out of bed in the morning? The smell of coffee from my percolator.
What excited you in the design world this year? Most definitely the shift away from everyone following certain styles into a more freeform type of attitude. I'm particularly enjoying seeing work from many different cultures, not just the "cool" people from that design clique who hang around the web. I like to see many different people pushing each others' work rather than all copying one style.
The second is the knowledge that we've bottomed out as an industry and now seem to be moving in the right direction again. It's a positive time right now; people are coming out of hiding and are ready to start kicking. I feel the whole cycle is ready to start rolling again and I'm really happy to have the chance to be involved.
What characteristic do you look for in people you work (or play) with? Intelligence, a cracking sense of humor and the ability to drink copious amounts of alcohol on a regular basis. I'm happy to say there's a few of us at Attik who fit that bill rather well.
What's been the biggest change in your segment of the industry over the last year or so? The whole landscape has changed. Some parts for the worse, but a lot of positives have come out of it, also. Gone are the large anything-goes budgets from the dot-com-inflated marketplace to a more nervous and cautious client. But with that comes a client who's ready to shout smarter, not just louder. That is a big positive, as far as I'm concerned.
What did you learn this year? That the only way to go is onward and upward.
Who and what inspires you? The daily interaction with the Attik team; my wife; clients; large cups of coffee; my morning newspaper, the music on my MP3 playlist; walking around and living in some of the most amazing cities in the world; advertising that makes me look twice; people who definitely understand that we need to care; being asked a complex problem and working out how to solve it; and basically keeping up a high level of banter and semi-intelligent conversation at all times.
Project Summary Jacques spent the early part of this year with the Attik U.S. team concepting and design directing the company's biggest account win to date - the launch of Toyota's new youth-oriented brand of cars, Scion. Currently, Jacques is working out of Attik's Sydney studio directing a television network identity package for Chicago superstation WGN, which will be airing before the end of the year. He also keeps busy throughout the year speaking at conferences all over the U.S. and on online web forums about Attik's design philosophy and showcasing the firm's latest creative book, NoiseFour.
Michael Bierut Partner, Pentagram/ New York
What is it you do, exactly? I've tried to explain to people what graphic design is but I seem to fail every time. My mother tells her friends that I'm an architect.
What excited you in the design world this year? The Mini Cooper; Gerhard Richter at MoMA; the 2001 IBM annual report by VSA Partners; Philip Nobel on rebuilding Ground Zero in The Nation magazine; McSweeney's No. 7; Tadao Ando's Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and Santiago Calatrava's Milwaukee Art Museum; Fallon's Errol Morris-directed post-9/11 campaign for United Airlines; Phaidon's Andy Warhol catalogue raisonne, designed by Julia Hasting; the cartoon reportage of Peter Arkle; the Harley-Davidson 100th Anniversary V-Rod.
What characteristic do you look for in people you work (or play) with? I look for people who are smarter, or funnier, or more talented than me. Why make it difficult?
What's been the biggest change in your segment of the industry over the last year or so? The terrifyingly abrupt, and ultimately healthy, collapse of the technology bubble.
What did you learn this year?
That life is too short to work with people you don't really like doing things you don't really respect. Even in a down economy. Especially in a down economy.
Who inspires you? My smart, funny, talented partners (Jim, Michael, Abbott, Paula, Woody and Lisa); my smart, funny, talented kids (Liz, Drew and Martha); and my smart, funny and talented high-school sweetheart (Dorothy).
Project Summary Recent, current and ongoing notable projects coming out of Pentagram's New York office include: "The Open Road Tour," an exhibition traveling worldwide through summer 2003, to mark Harley-Davidson's 100th anniversary; the Ground Zero "viewing wall," a temporary installation of memorial and historical information panels at the former site of the World Trade Center; a media wall and environmental graphics for the redeveloped Pennsylvania Station; environmental graphics for Renzo Piano's new New York Times Building; environmental graphics for the new Bloomberg L.P. headquarters; a new identity and environmental graphics for the American Folk Art Museum, for its new home on 53rd Street; identity, print promotions and environmental graphics for the new AOL Time Warner Center; the identity and environmental graphics for the community arts institution Symphony Space; the identity and environmental graphics for the new Jazz at Lincoln Center; an identity for Chambers, the boutique hotel in midtown Manhattan; a holiday branding program and promotions for Barnes & Noble; a redesign of the Revlon logotype; and the design of a new website for MIT.
Richard Marlis Senior VP-General Manager, Class-key Chew-po, Hollywood
What do you do exactly? I generally manage the three groups that comprise the commercial division in a senior-vice presidential sort of way.
What gets you out of bed in the morning? Starting a five-mile run before the sun comes up.
What excited you in the design world this year? What has excited me the most is the creative freedom and experimentation that clients are opening up to creating something that is different and buzz-worthy.
What characteristic do you look for in the people you work (or play) with? Intensity and creativity, with a sense of humor.
What did you learn this year? When focused with a passion, new opportunities present themselves.
Who and what inspires you? Most recently, The Anaheim Angels. It proves when everyone is on the same page, working together as team with a single goal, you can and will achieve great success.
Project Summary This year, Class-key Chew-po broadcast design has worked with NBC, MTV, E! Entertainment Television, TNN, Carsey-Werner and Buena Vista Television, as well as Pacific Theaters' ArcLight Cinema in the heart of Hollywood. Beyond The Osbournes, the division is responsible for the opening title sequence for The Anna Nicole Show and The Wayne Brady Show. Future projects include the syndicated promos for That '70s Show and the opening sequence for TNN's Oblivious, as well as the title design for NBC's 1st Time on Television and Movies' Funniest Outtakes.