Studio profile: Motherbird

Published:  September 24, 2012
Studio profile: Motherbird

Now, three years after setting up their studio and working from a great space in Melbourne’s CBD, Motherbird have won awards, worked on a handful of high profile projects and just keep on producing the goods. We ask the trio to speak about a few of their favourite projects:

Brand Campaign, 2011

The brand campaign for Billy Blue School of Design has been one of the most interesting projects we’ve had the pleasure of working on. Having recently announced the arrival of a new campus in Melbourne, Billy Blue gave us an open brief to create something special and memorable. We began the experimentation process with little idea of the finished outcome, but more of a general direction. This allowed the project to be an organic, free flowing process that ultimately had no boundaries.

Starting with the idea of a ‘journey’, a narrative was storyboarded with each image representative of one of Billy Blue’s core values: thinking, making and connecting. Paper models were painstakingly constructed photographed and retouched, becoming the hero images of the campaign. The resulting images blur the line between tangible and intangible, tactile and digital.

We began the experimentation process with little idea of the finished outcome, but more of a general direction. This allowed the project to be an organic, free flowing process that ultimately had no boundaries.

Billy Blue School of Design, brand campaign, 2011

Billy Blue School of Design, brand campaign, 2011

Dance Class Branding, 2012

Internationally renowned contemporary dance company Chunky Move approached us to create a visual brand for regular dance classes held in its Melbourne-based studio. With the words ‘Dance Like Everybody’s Watching,’ we experimented with type and liquid, attempting to capture the fluid but striking nature of contemporary dance. The aim was to capture the attention and imagination of Chunky Move’s regular audience as well as the public, who may not have taken dance classes before.

Chunky Move, Dance class branding, 2012

Chunky Move, Dance class branding, 2012

Environmental Graphics, 2011

With a youthful and energetic work culture, GXY Search is a recruitment agency specialising in discovering young, talented and motivated candidates. Approached to transform their workspace to reflect their core values, essential to and at the heart of their business, we utilised large wall spaces across foyers and meeting rooms to visually and boldly communicate these philosophies in the form of large environmental graphics. With little budget for photography we shot on location between Argentina (while on holiday) and Port Phillip Bay. The mix of image and type leaves anyone who steps foot into their office in no doubt as to their values and culture.

GXY Search, environmental graphics, 2011

GXY Search, environmental graphics, 2011

Event Collateral, 2011

Positive Posters (one of our favourite pro bono clients) launched the conference Sex, Drugs & Helvetica with the bold task of educating the future working generation of the Australian design industry. Working closely with Positive Posters on the event collateral, we were able to let our hair down a little bit. Abstract geometric text across the folded event invitations reads ‘Terra Firma’ relating to the theme of the 2011 Positive Posters competition, which asked entrants to visually respond to a global issue. As speakers at the event it was great not only being involved in the design but also giving some (hopefully) positive advice to young students in the industry.

Sex, Drugs & Helvetica, event collateral, 2011

Sex, Drugs & Helvetica, event collateral, 2011

Album Artwork, 2011

Having already established a great working relationship with the extremely talented Ryan Meeking we were thrilled to be approached by Warner Music to collaborate on the artwork for his upcoming single. Working with someone as motivated and enthusiastic as Ryan is always a lot of fun, albeit a monumental challenge, in transforming his music and ideas into a visual outcome. With photography shot on location on the top of Arthurs Seat (Victoria) we struck very lucky choosing a cold foggy morning, which resulted in a fantastic image capturing the depth, intrigue and sombre tones of Ryan’s music.

Ryan Meeking, album artwork, 2011

Ryan Meeking, album artwork, 2011

Wallabies Aircraft, 2011

We certainly hadn’t anticipated working on an aircraft livery (flying billboard) so early in our careers, and starting with a 747 was by no means passing ourselves. As you can imagine we were quite excited to get the call from Qantas briefing us in, the chief task was to skin a Boeing 747 with a support message for the Qantas Wallabies. An unusual and unsuspecting canvas for us, this project posed many unique learning curves. Working closely with the Qantas engineering team we quickly learnt far more about aircraft than any of us had anticipated. Being quite accustomed to having clients suggest we move or rescale elements is part and parcel of being a designer, but it’s very different to being told to because you have placed them over an emergency exit. Taking three weeks to print and five days to install, this is currently the largest decal applied to any Qantas aircraft and a great accomplishment for us.

Qantas 747, Wallabies aircraft, 2011

Qantas 747, Wallabies aircraft, 2011

Mobile Photobooth Imagery, 2012

One of our more playful clients MTV, commissioned us to create an image that would attract people to their mobile photobooth that makes appearances at most music festivals around Australia. We rustled up an old Pentax K1000 and spray-painted it white… needless to say it doesn’t work anymore. Along with some paper crafting, the final image is a mix between real and handmade, resulting in a successful image that has attracted more festival goers to the MTV Photo booth.

MTV, Mobile photobooth imagery, 2012

4 Responses

  1. Luke

    The Dance type treatment looks like a rip off of a lot of stuff going on at the moment.

  2. Edward

    Awesome stuff from Motherbird as always

  3. Legend.

    Not too bad. However, like most small studios with lack of experience, they create work which mirrors design blogs. I’m not really interested in style over substance.

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