Interview: Confetti revamps their website and paints the town red

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Published:  May 22, 2015
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Confetti is a Melbourne-based studio founded by duo Kevin McDowell and Tom Shanahan. Their design ethos thrives on chaos, collaboration and humour. Head over to their new website and you’ll see red. This splash of colour is just a fraction of the quirks the site has to offer — with each refresh, the website cheekily offers links to images and videos of various celebrities promoting their studio. We spotted Keanu Reeves, Nicole Richie and a cheese sandwich on the site and decided to catch up with the duo ASAP.

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Why the website relaunch and why now?

Kevin: When we opened up shop back in 2012, we put together a fairly simple site to get us off the ground. Three years have passed and we thought it was time to trade in the old Commodore.

And what feedback have you received on the new site?

“That red burns my eyes just the same the second time around.”
“What typeface is that?”
“How did Keanu Reeves get his hands on that limited run look book for a Melbourne jeweller?”
“How much did you pay Nicole Richie for that shout out?”
“Sik dix!”
“Nice pretend stare out of the window in the about section Tom.”

And what does a cheese sandwich have to do with anything? And we’re curious, how do you usually make your cheese sandwiches?

Tom: Well, that particular sandwich has 4 different types of cheese in it, and 1 type of bread. 4 minus 1 is 3. There are 3 typefaces used on our new site and not one of them is considered a ‘serif’. If you rearrange the letters in the word ‘serif’ you get ‘fries’. There are 5 letters in the word ‘fries’. 5 is a number. Number. Every single letter in the word ‘Number’ is found in the word ‘Melbourne’. Melbourne.

So now you can see that the cheese sandwich tells people that Confetti is a studio located in Melbourne.

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We noticed that you have a tongue-in-cheek twist to the things you post online – be in the site or on your social media accounts. How do you incorporate humour seamlessly into design and have that relayed to the end user and does humour always work in design?

Kevin: Nothing always works but when we speak as Confetti we try to put across our own personality, so I guess it’s just an extension of us. Tom & I have know each other since high school so we’re fairly comfortable with the tone we use publicly. I think humour is always great to use, if it’s called for, and we like to add some fun when we can.

Can you bring us through an overview of the types of principles, ideas and beliefs that form Confetti Studio’s approach?

Tom: We really try to understand the needs of each brief as much as we can. This usually involves a significant amount of research at the beginning of the project. Then we basically chop up all the research into tiny bite size pieces (or confetti, if we may), throw it into the air, see where it settles then start shuffling the pieces around until we create a solution that we like. Then we’ll probably throw that handful at the client and they will throw it back at us, sometimes it’s the same clump, sometimes it’s a different clump. Sometimes we’ll need to cut it up so fine that it’s a dust that we throw in to the air then follow the dust cloud around until it leads us to the best solution. It’s always different but that’s a good thing.

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Back to the relaunch, you have Nicole Richie and Keanu Reeves featured. How did Keanu Reeves get hold of “There Are Still Quiet Places On Earth” – the look book designed by you for Katia Di Crescenzo’s latest jewellery range?

Kevin: You know how these things go, we had our people reach out to their people, turns out they really like our work and wanted to help out. Keanu even suggested developing the idea into a screenplay, maybe starring Channing Tatum.

But seriously, we usually spend about 45 minutes Googling ourselves every morning. It’s amazing what you can find on the Internet if you’re curious enough about yourself.

And your favourite Keanu Reeves movie of all time?

Kevin: “Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey” is an often overlooked chapter of his career, so that get’s a honourable mention. It’s hard to go past Johnny Utah though. So I’ll go with Point Break. Seems like ’91 was big year for Keanu.

But seriously, how about a philosophical sound bite you’d like to leave our readers with?

Tom: Design is a lot like an orange. The more you throw it around at things and play with it, the juicier it is when you peel it open.

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