Morning Breath

Morning Breath

Morning Breath’s diverse portfolio includes designs for clothing brands, advertising campaigns, gaming and music packaging – the latter garnering a Grammy nomination for Best Special Music Packaging in the case of AFI. Morning Breath’s unique and vivid approach to each project is evident by their work with notable clients that include Stussy, Vans, MTV, and Queens of the Stone Age amongst others. What began as a working partnership between founders Doug Cunningham and Jason Nato in 1996, the company was formally launched in 2002. Since its inception, Morning Breath continues to deliver original art that pushes the pace of the ever-evolving creative industry.

“there are those times when clients are like, “do your thing”, and after you do your thing, they start telling you what they think. Most of the time it’s a bad move on their part!”

Format: Describe briefly the nature of the work done by Morning Breath.
Morning Breath: Morning Breath does mostly print design and illustration. We divide our efforts between both commercial and personal work.

Format: What is the Morning Breath style? What identifier is there that indicates to an audience that this is the work of Morning Breath?
Morning Breath: Morning Breath Style is a combination of 5 & Dime store aesthetic with sensibilities of back-of-comic-book-advertising, illustrations styles of ’50s and ’70s, and all with the big chunky halftone and unregistered printing methods that gives it that pop art appeal. A big identifier that is indicative of Morning Breath work to audiences is our combinations of style with a bizarre and unique twist on the subject matter.

Format: Tell us about the experience of collaborating on the Vans Warped Tour this year? What role did Morning Breath play on the tour?
Morning Breath: We were hired by Vans to create the Warped Tour logo. The tour was named, “On the Road,” so we came up with the concept of a classic motel signage – something you would see on many of the roads running through America.

Morning Breath

Format: Of all the work Morning Breath has done with artists and other companies, which has been the most memorable?
Morning Breath: Queens of The Stone Age was one of the more fun and memorable projects we worked on recently. They were into our personal work and let us run with what we do. They are the first music groups that we worked with that shared the same mindset as us – really into the fucked-up play on classic advertising. It was also a plus that we really liked their music. Others memorable projects include Stussy, Upper Playground, and SixPack (France), for the reason that they hired us and let us do our thing unconditionally.

Format: Morning Breath has its roots in the skateboarding culture. What is it about skateboarding that allows it to transcend to art so readily?
Morning Breath: For the simple fact that skateboarding itself is an art form, and that many of the key players are artist, musicians, actors, etc. In the mid-‘90s’, we were doing graphics for Think Skateboards. That in itself was kind of like an artist workshop where we really learned a lot about the process (computers, silk-screening, and apparel). It’s also where we began collaborating and developing our way of working together.

Morning Breath

Format: Morning Breath started in San Francisco before establishing yourselves in Brooklyn. How was the relocation significant?
Morning Breath: Morning Breath actually got its formal start in Brooklyn in 2002. We worked together at Think Skateboards from about ’96 to’98 in San Francisco. In 1999, Jason went back to New York and we continued working on some projects bi-coastal. In 2002 Doug finally made the move to the East coast.

Format: Which avenue in design culture (gaming, advertising, clothing, etc.) is the most receptive of the idea of innovation and originality?
Morning Breath: As of right now, it’s really been the apparel companies that are the most receptive to originality. Many of those companies we have been working with have been all about letting us do our thing with no restrictions. They are the ones who get the best from us. Once a company starts with the rules, they really get in the way of the creative process.

Morning Breath

Format: Morning Breath received a Grammy Award nomination for “best special music packaging.” I didn’t even know a category like that existed, were you guys surprised when you received said nomination? What implication does that have in terms of the recognition design receives in large music award ceremony?
Morning Breath: We were surprised, but then again we knew we had done a very special package for AFI. We worked hard on that project, and a lot of people were hitting us up like, “Yo! You killed it on that one!” We were very proud of the fact that we created this package from scratch and truly art-directed and designed every aspect of the project. Shit, two regular guys going to the Grammy’s and being nominated, it really was a blast! It truly was a great honor to be nominated amongst the other designers past and present, and to receive this recognition.

Format: How do you approach each project? How much creative control does Morning Breath have in exercising their artistic devices?
Morning Breath: The amount of creative control we have on any given project truly depends on who is hiring us. We make no pretensions about it. After all, we are commercial artists. Most of the time, we want the creative control. While we often get it, there are those times when clients are like, “do your thing”, and after you do your thing, they start telling you what they think. Most of the time it’s a bad move on their part!

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Morning Breath

Kon Lam

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  1. Lots of Dope work. I’ve been following their work for the past couple of years. They have definitely blown up since.

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