Our Design Space

30.11.17

We were delighted when Computer Arts hosted us in their My Design Space feature, which you can find here.

No matter where we go, our flagship studio in Scotland’s grunge capital Glasgow will always be our beating heart. Our design space was long ago a general store, more recently a laundromat, and probably a couple other things in-between. Now it’s a design shop.

Like all things, we approach our space like a project: functional, efficient, and — importantly — interesting, damnit! We’re human creatures!

In addition to a well-stocked book shelf, the beautiful sign in the back is from an old Glasgow tram. Another favourite item, the bed & breakfast sign, was a gift from our pal and ace designer Kenna.

Our Beertimes parties are a chance to explore creative beer packaging, and the abstract figurative ones we created for beer x All the Young Nudes are some of our favourites.

This Cubs pennant is a bit redundant after they won the World Series in 2016, but we just don’t find new sports-related design as handsome as the good old stuff. This is something we’re exploring…

Even in the digital age, understanding traditional design technique is foundational. This type lens is mighty handy.

We don’t just make ideas—we make things. Sometimes those things are longboards. Life is good.

We like to joke that we’re just a bunch of failed musicians. Like all decent jokes, it’s funny because it’s true.

We’re going places, but our design space is where the heart is.

NTS all engines go

17.03.17

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credit: Hoskins Architects

O Street was invited down to the new digs of one of our favourite collaborators, National Theatre of Scotland . We loved the company (although stiff gin pours and BrewDog beers didn’t hurt). The building, designed by Hoskins Architects, embodies the NTS brand of being a ‘Theatre Without Walls’. It was a thrill to see this new engine of Scottish theatre at work.

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credit: Hoskins Architects

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We started in the bar, er, playroom, for some banter, and quickly moved on to explore the building.

The new NTS rehearsal room is one of the biggest in Scotland, and inspires cartwheels and bellowing vocals upon entry.

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credit: Hoskins Architects

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It was all eyes on the stunning costume department, which no longer operates from a small room and a parking lot.

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It was particularly exciting to get the low-down on how technicians set the mood and ‘paint’ with light.

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The props department was much more exciting than this, but leave it to a graphic designer to only take a photo of old oven dials.

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O Street was reunited with a leftover from our NTS collaboration Granite—always nice to see an old friend.

All told, NTS Rockvilla is a stunning display of creativity and production. Get down and see for yourself.

space camp

06.10.15

Last week Neil M and I took part in the Edinburgh Science Festival by acting as mentors for FuseLab, an awesome two day workshop of innovation, strategy and design for futuristic habitats on undiscovered planets. I know; there was almost a fight in the studio as to who would get to go.

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After a flustered start (Neil was promptly on time… albeit at the wrong venue) we kicked off with a brief introduction to ourselves and O Street – noting of course our great sense of humour and keen interest in whisky and beer.

Then followed a brief ’master class’ on graphic design to two representatives from each workshop group. Condensing the concept of graphic design and brand identity into 20 minutes was no mean feat, but we stuck to the basic principles; have a strong idea as your foundation; think about your audience; use colour and type wisely, and above all; keep it simple, stupid.

FuseLab6With these wise words and few other gems of knowledge to aid them, our mini-me graphic designers returned to their respective groups to begin developing their inventions. Team 1 were struggling to navigate through their dense jungle environment in the rainforest biome; thus the need for a monorail above the tree-line. Team 2, meanwhile, had landed in the hostile habitat of Oceana; meaning a low cloud line and plenty of water – their idea involved a solar energy collector, floating 500ft in the sky.

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It was brilliant to be a part of this innovative project and actually so great to see a creative thinking subject being included as part of the infrastructure of a festival/workshop like this. I certainly feel Ken Robinson would approve of this inclusion of a creative subject in a Science Festival workshop – an acknowledgement that children’s incredible capacity for innovation goes hand-in-hand with their natural creativity; creativity that should be encouraged—not just as a skill or craft based subject—but as a thinking process that can be influential to all aspects of the development of a young mind.

FuseLab1In a world where every education system has the same hierarchy of subjects—with arts still seemingly scrabbling around on the bottom rung—it was great to see an educational, forward-thinking program, such as FuseLab introduce an artistic discipline as a key aspect of consideration for these young minds as they contemplated the future state of the world.

Of course alongside our discipline of graphic design there was a product designer, a business marketer, a PR manager and an engineer – which made for a varied mix of mentors that perhaps offered tangible examples of some more alternative career routes available to these kids. Especially relevant as they embark on the next stage of their education and their thoughts (one would hope!) turn to their own futures.

FuseLab2With the various mentors in place as hotspots of advice throughout the day, the two teams developed each aspect of their inventions, resulting in some fairly polished project pitches at the end of the day. Even with the challenges of powerpoint the students pulled together some respectable slides – decorated of course with their respective brands; produced with the help of Neil and I. Yes, we’ll admit, we really did get into it – sci-fi fonts and all.

All-in-all it was a pretty good day for innovation, creativity and alternative thinking – areas that we like to think are reflected in our own day-to-day practice here at O Street (that and space travel). We do like our sci-fi after all… especially when it involves lego models.

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Tessa