Tin Nguyen and Ed Cutting have been working together since meeting a decade ago, designing a punk rock magazine. Now, this Melbourne (and recently New York)-based design duo have done almost everything from animation, photography to art direction and have worked for commercial clients such as VISA, Nike, and MTV, along with other independent cultural clients, fashion labels, architects and dance companies alike. As they prepare to take the stage at next month's Business of Design Week in Hong Kong, we first get to chat with them about their background and collaborations.
Tin: I was born in Vietnam, our family moved to Melbourne when I was very young. I've always felt a strong interest in and connection with nature.
Ed: I was born In Melbourne Australia, and I get my energy from being in nature.
Tin: Growing up I was always drawing but didn't know what design was until later on. In high school, I was a science nerd and wanted to become a marine biologist. Very late in high school I learnt about design and realised it was open and creative enough to allow me to continue to explore my interest in science and biology and anything else I was interested in as well.
Ed: First off I wanted to be an astronaut, I was interested in how the world and the universe works but I wasn't great at physics. Drawing and art was something I was always interested in since I was a kid when I was about 6 my dad taught me how to draw in 3D. Ending up as a designer was a natural and organic process.
This question comes up often and its a question we are constantly asking ourselves as well. We've always been really interested in the spaces between things. We like things that do not fit neatly into categories. Our work delves in and out of different disciplines, mediums and processes. Ultimately we consider ourselves designers, but for us, design can be anything you want it to be. We're really excited by how everything is connected, design, art, nature, technology, the physical and the digital. For us the boundaries between art and design are not as important, concept and communication is something they both share, we're more interested in where they are connected.
I think the work divides itself very naturally. We have different but complementary skills, we bring different things to each project, but we have a shared vision and a unified intention. We work on all projects together, there is a lot of back and forth. There are many advantages to working as a duo, through our collaboration we create work which we could never create by ourselves, it also helps always to have someone to share the good and bad times with.
Definitely, we're individuals, so there will always be times when we have different ideas, in these times it's important to be open and to listen because ultimately we both want the best for each other and the project. Communication is really important and also sometimes having some space to process the idea and letting it incubate can help too.
We both grew up in Melbourne, it's our home. We started our studio accidentally the day we finished university. Melbourne as a city and a community has been very supportive to us, this has allowed us to develop our practice and our studio. We feel very lucky to be part of the creative community in Melbourne. We have recently set up shop in New York, so we're travelling and creating work between these two cities now.
Our work can be described as playful, colourful, positive and humorous. We like to experiment with different mediums, processes and technologies. A lot of our projects are also inspired by nature, the universe and the urban environment around us. We believe the world is an incredible place and this is something we like to explore and share through our work.
'Inflatable Futures' means a lot to us because it's a project that engages directly with kids. The project uses play as a way to engage kids with ideas in space, technology and the future. The project intends to empower kids, to encourage them to embrace the unknown and to teach them that the future is up to them. It's also the largest most immersive installation we've made. We hope to do more projects like this.
The audience can expect a bright, colourful, playful talk. We like to talk about why we do what we do and what's important to us. We hope to show a different view of what graphic design can be.
We would really love to create a project in space! It would be amazing to create an installation in zero gravity.
Design is important because it is about connection, it brings people, culture and ideas together, it can solve complex problems and create meaning. Design can be a very powerful tool for change.
Any views or opinions in the post are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the company or contributors.