Moving With the Times — Five Steps to Break Into Video and Animation


We started O Street over ten years ago, and design looked pretty different then. While we’ve stayed true to our roots—remaining small and making thoughtfully different design—the output of that design has changed with technology. Especially in regards to video and animation.

Some things in design never change. We’re communicators; the foundation stays the same. Paul Rand wrote, “the fundamental problem of the advertiser and publisher is to get the message into the reader’s mind.” As Marshall McLuhan said, the medium is the message. And that medium, which used to live on a wall, now lives on a screen.

It’s 2018. Things gotta move.

It’s pretty much assumed with every client we work with now that they’d like something interactive for people to engage with. To get a new client to sign on the dotted line, more and more they want to see that design move. And they’re right to do so: one third of the total internet population is on Youtube. Half a billion people watch video content on Facebook every day.

It’s 2018. WE gotta move. So here’s five steps we took to break into animating our work and getting into video content:

1 Ease in.

New to making things move? Start simple, like with the quick and dirty animated gifs you see in this post. It’s a dimension beyond static images, and will get your brain used to constructing moving compositions, but they’re quick and easy to create.


2 Collaborate.

When you’re a small outfit, you need to be able to balloon up to ten times your size at a moment’s notice. We do this with regular video and animation collaborators, working alongside cinematography outfit Just Trek to film live-action ads, Playdead to create 3D experiences, and our friends at Tape to bring brands to life.


3 Make friends with plugins.

You can do things the hard way, or you can get a little help. There’s merit in both approaches. With making the jump from still to moving design, however, you might want to at least dabble with the latter. Enter plugins, little components you can run in programs such as After Effects to give you a little boost.

If part of your animation process seems needlessly tedious, it probably is, and someone else has probably built a plugin in response to that.


4 Get paid to learn.

If we had a cat for every time we said “we could do something like this…” to a client, but the “something” wasn’t something we’d ever done, we’d have some cats. And it’s something we did with video and animation. Never, ever overcommit and promise something you aren’t sure you can deliver. However, working a new process—an ‘I’d love to try that’—into a live job is a great way to get paid to learn.


5 Bring in young blood.

It’s no secret that younger folk tend to be naturals with emergent technology. When we found ourselves hiring O Street newcomer Jonny Mowat, we found our work started moving a bit more (he made the showreel above in about five minutes). If you’re in a position to grow your team, consider someone with less experience but more natural knack for motion.

These are fun new times—let’s move together. Hit us up about a video/motion project or ask about doing an internship with us.

Saltwater, sushi and broken necks (or, seven steps to a stellar fishing trip)


The O Street way—besides ‘tea at 3’ and ‘put that scalpel down before you hurt yourself’—can perhaps best be summarised by our insistency on piling into a fishing boat to slay a handful of helpless Scottish mackerel every year. This year’s fishing trip on Loch Fyne was a belter. Here’s seven steps to a successful fishing trip.

Step one is piling into your Soviet tank. Don’t forget to gas it up.

Step two is the reel work. Get on the water and bring in some fish.

Step three is soaking in some landscapes—when you’re right in the middle of the best Scotland has to offer, you’ll want to look around. This year we saw castles, rugged hills, and the seaside abode where George Orwell wrote 1984.

Step four is getting your hands dirty by cleaning your fish. If you want that tasty meat, you’ve got to break some necks and rip out some guts. Is it worth it? Yeah. That’s the circle of sushi life.

Step five is remembering that you’re really dang cute and smiling for the camera.

Step six is finding adventure in everything you do (and seeing who can strike the best Lord of the Rings pose). We’re only here for a short while. Try to enjoy it.

Step seven? Drink too much saki and flail your way through Flaming Lips covers (accordion required).

See ya next year, fish.

(Actually) Fake It, Until You (Actually) Make It


Fake it till you make it the Orson Welles way: how he gave us a blueprint for getting creative dream projects going with Citizen Kane

A couple years ago, we found ourselves wanting to break into the world of beer packaging. We wanted to do it, we knew we could do it, but we hadn’t done it. And without that sort of work in your folio, it’s tough to get breweries to throw money at you to do it.

So, we faked it.

Fake it till you make it. It’s a cliche. And as usual, it’s a cliche because there’s some truth to it. Here’s a scenario: you’ve got a creative itch to scratch — an awesome idea you’re dying to bring into the world — but you can’t get the support you need to get it rolling, without having shown that you can do it. It’s a catch-22. Enter Citizen Kane.

When Orson Welles was thinking up his masterpiece, he couldn’t find the money to make it. None of the Hollywood big-shots would fund his project. So, he faked it. Welles scraped up some cash, built some DIY sets, and started filming. He created just enough to show execs that it existed. His vision was true. He could do it. They bought in. We know the result — arguably the greatest film ever.

We took a similar route to break into the beer industry. O Street created its own event series combining home-brewed beer, culture and experimental packaging. We were scratching a few at once, but the underlying goal was to create awesome beer packaging to show breweries:

It worked.

Not only did the series, Beertimes, become a beloved exercise for the studio, it won us a packaging gig with BrewDog. They were looking for a competent yet daring studio to do a brand and packaging revamp for their experimental beer series ABSTRAKT, and our DIY effort showed we could handle it.

Our takeaway from this experience looks something like this:

Now, we’re redesigning the brand entire fleet of beers for another landmark Scottish brewery. A body in motion stays in motion. Even if you’ve got to fake it to get it going in the first place.

Trump Scrabble


All you need to protest Donald Trump is, well, Donald Trump. It goes for his character as well as his name. Download the kit here.

trumpun O Street against Trump

So we drew DONALD TRUMP! in a typeface inspired by old-school civil rights signs and uploaded it here for you to download. If your Sharpies have gone dry just keep these files on hand and print, cut, protest.

O Street against Trumptrumpun2O Street against Trump O Street against Trump O Street against Trump

We’ll also make requests of any digital posters, so hit us up with your best Trump scrabble job and we’ll send it to you!

Disclaimer: this post was written by a natural-born American citizen. Please post any complaints here.

America, Give Us A De-Sign


When it comes to graphic design, we can be a bunch of nostalgic Americophiles. Our Jonny recently visited the great US-of-A and soaked up a load of Americana, and since most of it was bolted down and his 3rd suitcase was reserved for purchases from Goodwill, he only made it back with photos.



In the States, neon signs seem to be everywhere. I can’t get enough of the twisty glass charms. Driving around post-dusk became increasingly dangerous the more enamoured I became, but thankfully we made it back in one piece.


Landscape portraits.

Man-made signs can seem like visual pollution when erected in areas known for their natural beauty. That said, they aren’t going away anytime soon, and I’ll be darned if I don’t find them enjoyable. Especially the duck-billed platybear.


Sk8r allig8r.

Travelling to the skateboarding mecca of the world made this overgrown boy-man very excited. Companies all over SoCal are inspired by graphics rooted in skate and surf culture, so a wonderful time was had soaking my eyes in low-brow stickers and vintage deck graphics.



America is a playground for those with stranger typographic sensibilities. Weird type appears all over the place, so as someone who fell in love with Cooper before it was cool, I was happy as Larry.

Obviously this is but a fraction of what the Land of the Free has to offer. However, as far as graphic safari spots go, it’s one of the more intriguing places to visit. If you’re Stateside, drop a note to Josh in the Denver O ST studio and you can share some beers that we bought because of the labels.


The sounds of a design studio


We pride ourselves on thoughtfully different design. While we create work that looks beautiful, the buck doesn’t stop there. To be an O Street project, you’ve got to have character.



So when we created a new showreel strutting our stuff, we decided to pay special attention to the soundtrack. Even though the product is visual, the sound is the backbone. It’s the underlying support system that keeps the whole thing chugging along. How could we do something different? …

…Enter Bessa.

The Scottish musician and occasional Boston-Red-Sox-hat-wearing lad joined us in our Glasgow studio to capture the sounds of our design process.

Here’s what you’l l hear in our soundtrack:
– Furious sketchy scribbling
– iMac keyboard mashing
– Commuter bike squeaking

– Google Hangout shouts of ‘Good morning!’ from our Denver studio
– Friday beers cracking
– Various O-shouts and hollers, likely font-related

And of course, there’s the squeaky arm of our waving cat Boshi.

Bessa took all these unique sounds and mixed them into an original track, making the sound behind of our reel more than just an off-the-shelf electronic tune. The result? A banger of a showreel that’s thoughtfully different—kind of like us.SaveSave