Interview: Brand New School

Brand New School is a design studio with offices in New York, Los Angeles and London.

How did Brand New School get started?

I started the studio in 2000, initially it was just me working on a few projects, hiring in freelancer friends for animation, producer for occasional production help. Over time we gathered steam, and then those friends became employees, and hired more friends to help with design, and so on. We still hire people in the same fashion, making sure it’s the right fit before total commitment.

What influences you?

Typically film, graphic design and photography of yesteryear. I think there’s a fair amount of great stuff going on, but I tend to look to the golden eras for inspiration. Also I find inspiration in the minds of my friends, our casual, silly conversations that help shape my ideas and frame of reference.

What is your approach for taking on new clients, what do you look for?

Well, in a perfect world where the bills are being paid we look for the most interesting ideas. But the world is not perfect so trust will do.

How do new formats like the iPad factor into your work?

Touch screen technology was permeating design before the ipad, I suppose a new platform or technology means we need to understand it to design and produce for it. I think graphic designers have a good training for solving these sorts of problems.

What is the process that you go through with a project?

Most processes are different based on the project, but I would say I do have a process of my own. I typically know what I want to do fairly quickly, and then I start to research, focus and sketch. I write a lot as well.

What drew you to do motion design?

My family has been in the film business for 3 generations, so cinema always played a role in my life as a kid. I had been studying graphic design, and saw this as an opportunity to fuse many interests.

Do both the NY and LA branches work together? Is there ever any competition between the offices?

We do work together, mostly in the design and development phases of a project. It’s a little more difficult to work together once in animation, and I think in a perfect world there would be no physical wall. The competition in the offices is healthy, more like a source for inspiration and learning. Each office has it’s strengths and weaknesses, so the goal is to have them all influence each other and one day reach perfection, or close.

What is your dream project?

A film when the time is right.

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