London based design house, Bishbo, is taking the world of graphic design by storm with their happy-go-lucky style. Conquering the pages of national newspapers and taken their craft into cyberspace, with some innovative website designs, Jack and Olli are preparing to stamp their company’s name indelibly on these brand-happy days and times. With plans to branch into exhibiting their work in development, people may soon face an invasion of vector-based cartoon vegetables, the likes of which has never been seen before.
â€œIt’s incredible that someone has paid out Â£400,000 for this logo, to provide something that already looks out of date and it has been criticized by a lot of people.â€
Format: How did the company get started?
Bishbo: Bishbo formed in October 2006 as a fun side-project to showcase some of our work. As things picked up and people became interested, we thought about it becoming a serious design studio that could potentially become a successful business and here we are!
Format: Where did you study design?
Bishbo: We have both, from a very early age, been creative people. Jack, from the age of 14 was beginning to practice in Photoshop and learned vital skills from very early on, pursing freelance and self-teaching rather than going to university. We both learned a lot from running our previous business, Alaska, which was a great way to launch into the world of freelance, dealing with clients, deadlines, and trying to stay creative all the time!
Olli spent a couple of years at university studying graphic design and illustration, but left to pursue freelance. We feel that art is something that cannot really be taught. Of course, you need to learn the tools of the trade, but a degree doesn’t always have to be the way to go about it.
Format: What aspects of the design studio do both of you handle?
Bishbo: Things are pretty even, to be honest. We both love being involved with every aspect of the company, as we raised Bishbo as our child, together! That can be, dealing with emails and calls, to self promotion or art for fun in our spare time. It’s hard to pinpoint where we split things, we like to dabble in everything!
Format: What was your reaction to the logo design for the London 2012 Olympics?
Bishbo: We’ve found it hard to really feel anything looking at the branding for this whole event. We feel that it could have been something really special, but it doesn’t really tickle our fancy. It’s incredible that someone has paid out Â£400,000 for this logo, to provide something that already looks out of date and it has been criticized by a lot of people. Definitely not a classic!
Format: How would you describe your design style?
Bishbo: Bishbo is essentially a mix of character art, organic hand-drawn elements and Photoshop manipulation. We both have slightly different styles but are influenced by similar things. We are big fans of mess, detail and texture mixed with vector. Having said that, one look through our portfolio will show that it’s hard to pigeonhole some of our work into a certain style or influence as it is pretty varied! Of course, if a client is looking for a certain style, that’s something we try to adapt, but given total freedom, we like to dabble with lots of different styles and stick them all together!
Format: How did you come up with the mixed media motif that runs through some of your work?
Bishbo: We just do what feels right and that usually means experimenting with anything. We enjoy photography and drawing, so we always try to incorporate those elements. We’ve been doing this for a while, so it’s all very easy to produce artwork that is within your comfort zone â€“ you know you can make something that looks ok in a short space of time, so we try to push ourselves to do something new, and that can lead to all sorts of ideas, good and bad.
Format: There seems to be a genuine enthusiasm and a dash of humor behind your work. How important was it to you to stamp an identity and personality on Bishbo’s work?
Bishbo: A lot of people have mentioned that and it’s so nice to hear that something we’ve worked hard on, but not taken too seriously, can be appreciated in the exact same way. It is subjective to the viewer, so some of our work has a clear message and point, but if we are working on personal projects, it’s easy to get away with almost anything, which is super fun! We try not to over-analyze things or worry about being individual all the time, that can prevent you from truly doing what you want to do.
Format: If you could make a Bishbo style caricature of anyone in the world right now, who would it be?
Bishbo: Oh â€“ good question. Maybe whoever invented the pizza? I think we’d have to create some sort of idol, actually.
Format: You’ve done work for quite a range of publications. Were there any that you knew straight away that you could really stamp the Bishbo style on?
Bishbo: We try to put our stamp on everything we do, however big or small. It’s important to make every piece your own and as personal as you can make it â€“ there will always be a Bishbo twist!
Format: Any plans for a Bishbo exhibition?
Bishbo: Definitely! In the future, for sure â€“ we’d like to build our portfolio a little more yet. Some of our work was recently shown in the fantastic Synth Eastwood exhibition in Dublin, Ireland.
Format: So far, what’s been your favorite project?
Bishbo: The book cover for Carlton Publishing was great fun. Having both worked a lot in the music industry on CD packaging, there is an entirely different buzz when working on a book.
Format: All art looks to provoke some sort of reaction from its audience. What reaction are you looking for to your work?
Bishbo: We think people can see the humorous side to things which is great, because it’s definitely intended. On the more serious projects, hopefully people can feel inspired. But really, most people probably feel hungry with all the food we feature in our work.
Format: Are there any design jobs, magazine layouts and advertising campaigns that have been in the public eye that made you think, we could have done a really good job of that?
Bishbo: Being creative, we are constantly looking at ads and scrutinizing them! We basically feel that there are some extraordinary designers out there, so there is really no excuse for any bad art and design to be plastered across billboards. Particularly, with bigger brands. Not to sound too snobbish, but there are some advertising campaigns out there that are truly mind blowing, and all companies should aspire to that. And no we’re not naming names!
Format: What would you be doing if you weren’t running a respected design studio?
Bishbo: We both have pretty strong interests in music and have been co-producing from our home studio for over four years now. It’s always fun, but would be difficult to build up a career from something that you’ve only dabbled in. It could happen though, maybe!
Format: What artists inspired you to do what you do?
Bishbo: Bruce Chizen â€“ just kidding! We are inspired by a lot of artists, as well as everyday things. Growing up, we appreciated an eclectic mix of things; from Sanrio to Mucha, so, maybe, that explains our mixed style! These days, it’s so easy to browse around for 30 minutes on the Internet, and get over inspired!
Format: What’s next for Bishbo?
Bishbo: Well, we just launched our store which is a learning curve, for sure, but we are happy with things, so far. It’s entirely new to us, but we’d love to expand things as soon as we can. We have lots of ideas for this, and it would, hopefully, bring an entire new audience to the site. We have a few interesting collaborations coming up soon, which could lead to other things, but more on this soon. We’re both keen to produce a children’s book, but that will be a while away yet, we’ll see!
Format: Finish the following statement: Bishbo isâ€¦
Bishbo: Hungry! Always, hungry!
More Info: http://www.bishbo.com/