Why designers need to do more personal projects
Design directors Rezaliando and Fizah Rahim are big advocates of personal work – it’s why they launched creative studio Machineast in 2014, and it’s why big-name clients like Nike and Heineken are increasingly knocking on their door.
Boasting a rich portfolio of innovative imagery, Machineast offers website visitors a masterclass in free-flowing 3D illustration, neon typography and strangely sensual ribbon artwork.
The pair founded the studio specifically to spend more time exploring experimental creative techniques and to push their craft to new levels. “Experimentation is necessary to keep progressing, and moving forward skilfully and conceptually,” points out Rahim.
“As much as we love problem-solving for our clients, we need to problem-solve our artistic side as well. Doing personal projects helps us keep our passion for design alive.”
Making time to innovate
But as Rezaliando and Rahim explain ahead of their talk at creative conference OFFF 2016 – and as every designer and illustrator knows – finding time to push boundaries is an art in itself.
“It’s not easy to experiment when you’re also busy working on client projects,” Rezaliando admits. “We usually do our personal projects at night after working hours, at the weekends or whenever we feel inspired.”
One particularly good time to experiment, Rahim advises, is while you’re waiting for client feedback. “To optimise the workflow, Ando and I constantly try to think about new ideas, so that they’re fresh in our minds and easier for us to execute, once we can.”
Take Translucent Iridescent. Inspired during a trip to Kyoto Japan, the pair – who are both from tropical countries – wanted to recreate the solitude of a scarf being blown by the cold autumn wind when they returned to Singapore.
“The coldness of the weather reminded us of Hajime Sorayama‘s beautiful artwork, which mixes something that is supposed to be emotionless and robotic with sensual, emotional imagery,” explains Rezaliando. “We always want to have that kind of juxtaposition in our artwork. That’s why we chose the silvery pearl, which represents coldness being wrapped around an iridescent cloth, blowing in the wind and reflecting warmth.”
Show the world
Their main message at OFFF 2016 is a call-to-arms for creatives to make more time for personal work – and to share it on social media. “You never know who might love your work and where you could end up if you don’t show it to the world,” urges Rahim. “Machineast wouldn’t be here now if we didn’t share our personal work with the world.”
“Grind grind grind,” Rahim continues. “Learn everything. It’s tough but it’s part of the process and an investment in the long run.”
The Machineast co-founders are speaking at OFFF 2016, the latest iteration of Barcelona’s annual three-day creative fiesta, on 28 May. Catch them on the Open Room stage at 5pm.