There may be many people who haven’t heard of their name, but there aren’t many who haven’t seen their work. California-based young production company Logan got huge attention for the first time with their iPod spot for TV they created about two years ago. This very striking TV ad series which simply makes you want to dance certainly contributed immensly to the product’s huge success. But what else is LOGAN up to? PingMag asked founders Alexei and Ben about their other works and recent activities.
Written by Chiemi
Could you introduce yourselves, please?
Alexei Tylevich and Ben Conrad. We started Logan five years ago with the idea of having an independent production base for commercial and personal projects. In the beginning it was just the two of us, now the company has more than 20 people in two offices. We are based in Venice, California.
LOGAN’s studio in Venice, California
LOGAN’s studio. Nice!
What’s your position within the company?
We oversee and co-direct all the projects from the first concept all the way through execution, in addition to running the business side of the company. We work closely with our team of designers and animators with the help of our production staff.
I remember you used to do graphics with a southeast Asian taste a lot! Where did the idea come from?
You are probably thinking of the music video for Money Mark’s “Information Contraband” that was the first video we directed as Logan, and what got a lot of attention. We are influenced by many things likewise. If you look at the range of our output, I am not sure if it’s possible to point to a single overall theme.
How about the type of projects you get offered? A lot of your very known projects seem to be related to music…
The type of commercial projects we are approached with is incredibly varied. We direct TV commercials and music videos, in which case we work with ad agencies and record labels. We work directly with corporate clients like Apple on in-house projects like packaging design, environmental design, and product branding, etc. Probably a good example of this is an animated directory for the Apple store in Ginza, Tokyo.
We also do a lot of work in motion graphics, animation and special effects for a variety of advertising and broadcast clients. We get approached with projects that don’t fall into the commercial category like gallery shows and film festivals. The rest of the time is spent on self-initiated ideas that don’t involve clients. Music videos, like the one for Madonna that we finished a few months ago, reach people outside of the professional circles who may not have heard of us previously.
Festival identity, key visuals and opening titles for Onedotzero9 last year was designed by Logan.
key visuals for Onedotzero9
Great that it all took off so quickly! Can you tell us a little more about your recent work?
We have a good mix of commercial and personal projects at any given time… at the moment we are busy with TV and packaging work for Apple, the BEAMS t-shirt collaboration with Masaru Ishiura/TGB Design, a number of commercial motion graphics and design projects, an experimental mobile phone service proposal in Vienna with Christian Muhr from liquid frontiers, several personal art projects… I’d say we are busy!
What was the project about where you transformed a Toy2R Qee toy?
The brief was completely open. Instead of applying a surface treatment to the toy we decided to deconstruct and change the shape itself while keeping the color and material identical to the original, thus essentially creating a new prototype. The process involved digitizing the base shape and matching the scale of the physical toy, applying a series of deformations to the 3D model. Then finally manufacturing these figures out of plastic using rapid prototyping technology.
The resulting toys are one-of-a-kind laser-cut 3D prints with movable parts. But it is conceivable to mass-produce them since this technology is intended for replication.
Another exciting project we are involved with is working with Hideo Kojima and his team on some original content for the upcoming Metal Gear Solid 4 video game, for which we also designed the logo. This time we are working on the intro of the game that involves generating original content. It’s obviously a confidential project so we can’t really talk about it yet… We’ve also been asked by Casio to design a custom Logan watch.
Nice stuff coming up!!! All of your projects sound very interesting, but so much variation in media and style!!! How do you manage it all and what kind of work do you actually feel most comfortable with?
Everything we do is informed by a strong design sense which translates into different applications. Because of our self-sufficient setup we are able to do everything here from generating concepts to directing live-action, design, animation, editing, sound…
We also do work in print, fashion, environmental design. We try to do it all. We like to think of it as a one-stop shop for our clients and a strong support base for our personal work.
Don’t you ever run out of ideas?
Ideas are never a problem. The bigger issue is filtering out ideas that are harmful and detrimental to the creative process. In order to keep focused on realizing a creative idea in it’s purest form on projects which require teamwork and resources, it’s hard not to get side-tracked with other issues like budget limitations, difficult production schedules, changing deadlines, etc. These issues are a part of any client-based interaction and are perfectly normal. But there’s always that tension that needs to be dealt with.
You certainly have a lot of energy! Hope you can keep up the variety and level of creativity. Any particular future plans yet?
To grow and develop intuitively without a five-year plan.
Alexei and Ben, thank you for showing us your great portfolio today!