LOGITEC EUROPE S.A.
GRAPHIC DESIGN OF THE YEAR AWARD – IDA 2019
Prize: Gold in Multimedia / Animation
Lead Designers: Logitech Creative Team and ManVsMachine
What was most important for you when planning the project and what were the biggest challenges you faced?
The G502 is a cult object in gaming. And fans had been calling for a wireless version for some time. The launch of G502 LIGHTSPEED wireless was going to be a big moment for fans and the brand, so we needed to live up to everyone’s big expectations. This was also our third in an ongoing series of cutting-edge films we’ve created for logitech G with ManVsMachine. These films, where we push to create exceptional motion graphic celebrations of our coolest gear, have become a cornerstone for the brand. So we wanted to keep that momentum going.
What is your guiding design principle?
There were a few key themes that needed to be central to the expression of the film. Speed being foremost among them. We wanted to give viewers an exhilarating ride and a visceral first-person sense of how fast this mouse performs. Secondly, we wanted to celebrate the menacing beauty of G502s industrial design, to show off its iconic form and playful but lethal spirit. Finally, we wanted to push the limits of visual expression, so every shot and sequence is a super-graphic feast for the eyes, something you’ve not seen before that leaves you wanting more.
Where do you get motivation and inspiration from for your work?
We’re inspired by looking at a lot of other great work out there in culture, in CG and beyond. From movies, music videos and ads, to insta feeds of artists experimenting and pushing the limits of what’s possible. But when we do work like this with ManVsMachine, the process itself is what inspires the extraordinary. Through rounds of R&D we play and explore, and through that process we discover new expressions that build on our core conceptual themes but bring us to really incredible, unexpected places. And from there we piece together a narrative. It’s a really creative process and a ton of fun.
How do you feel graphic design has evolved over the past years and how do you see it evolving in the future?
Related to this project, we see the clear rise of 3D as an incredible force in design, motion graphics and more broadly in image creation. The versatility and range of expression is really cool and we’re using it more and more each year. We love how it can create these radically different aesthetics that are so fresh.
What do you think are the biggest challenges and opportunities in your industry now?
The sheer volume of content we’re exposed to from brands and every corner of culture is a tough reality to compete in. There’s a lot of great, inspiring work out there. But there’s also a lot of noise. And we all have shorter attention spans. That means it’s hard to create work that breaks through. And we have to be conscious of putting work out there that contributes real value to the cultural discourse, that’s authentic, well crafted, and doesn’t just pollute the culture with more stuff.
How do you decide to take on certain projects?
MvsM: We weigh up a number of factors when deciding which briefs to take on. It is a shifting calculus that can include anything from the nature of the brand and product, how well we feel the creative brief is suited to our team, and of course timings and budgets. We also try to ensure that we keep a lot of variety across both studios, so sometimes we’re looking for visual identity and brand design briefs for a team on one continent and a live action direction and VFX job for a team on the other. It all comes down to timing, really.
Zelig: We like things that have strong concepts so we can play with the expectations and norms within the brand’s world to achieve something interesting and/or challenging. We like working with people who allow us the freedom to iterate and test things which usually leads us to places we wouldn’t have got to otherwise. Our work is split across sonic branding and motion/film content so always a good balance of those. Then of course, budgets and timelines.
What’s your creative process and what creative software do you use?
MvsM: We mainly use Cinema 4D and Houdini as our key software at ManvsMachine. However, our process differs depending on the type of brief we are engaging. A typical project would begin with a conceptual phase in which a splinter team dissects the brief and pieces it back together. This team would essentially put together a topline creative direction deck which we would present to our client for sign off on the overarching vision. Once signed off we would introduce a larger team to the project to carry out an extensive R&D phase based on the initial creative direction. The final phase in a project is production, which takes our learning from the R&D phase and pieces everything together into a coherent narrative. Once all the animation is locked, we require a period of time before delivery to really polish and refine our renders, ensuring everything is perfect.
Zelig: We mainly use Logic X (for everything tonal) and Pro Tools (for longer form, surround and binaural projects/mixes). Regarding process, we start with sonic moodboards and a broad treatment to solidify or explore the concept. This helps discuss all the potential options from the client and ourselves. We then produce a number of test routes that are significantly different, this helps us and the client explore the far reaches and solid parts of a brief. This allows time for pure sound design sessions if needed and and exploring interesting musical ideas/recordings. Once we have something strong we push that chosen route and produce multiple iterations until sign off.
What kind of questions do you ask before beginning a design project? What piece of information is of utmost value?
As an in-house agency, our assignments are mostly about launching our products. And those products went through a 1-2 year process of rigorous Design Thinking iteration to arrive at their final form. So as we’re briefed, we seek to know as much about a given product as possible. What design principles guided its creation? What are its key features? What consumer insights led to them? How does it stack up to the competition? And what is the defining essence of the product experience?
What kind of culture or structure needs to exist to foster successful team collaboration?
We have a flat structure and a philosophy of open collaboration. Good ideas come from across the team and become great ideas through team engagement in them. From our brand managers, to the product designers, producers, as well as creatives, we all have a role in shaping the work from initial creative concepts through all stages of production. That not only results in better work, it results in a great team dynamic.
How do you deal with feedback?
It’s a crucial part of the process. Sometimes you get tunnel vision or we’re so entrenched in the work we only see it in a certain way. And frequently we see how a fresh perspective sees something we hadn’t considered. So it’s important to remain open to new insights and perspectives, and to objectively work through them, using those that will improve the work, while rejecting those that won’t. It’s always about making the work the best it can be. And quality, constructive feedback is a key ingredient to achieving that.
What are you working on, what is in the pipeline for you?
Well, since you asked, we have another installment of logitech G Vs ManVsMachine Vs Zelig Sound we just completed for an exciting range of new gaming gear. This one is actually really playful as well as stunning eye and ear candy. Watch this space!