We have all complained at least once to our hairdresser, bartender, family and friends, about our boss, working conditions, work colleagues. This is precisely why we could identify with the company’s campaign Information studieswhich he designed and implemented McCann Belgrade. We spoke with Jelena Grahovac, Head of Art and Nikola Mijailović, Junior graphic designer agency McCann Belgrade.
What is your job at the agency?
Jelena: My position in the agency is Head of Art, which means that my job is to take care of everything visual that is produced here. This includes various formats from basic ones like leaflets, through television commercials, digital formats to projects that go out into space and can be 3D installations and the like – all of this is under my watchful eye.
Nikola: I am a Junior Graphic Designer and my job is somewhat similar to Jelena’s, but with far fewer duties and much less responsibility. I have the opportunity to work on different projects, which sometimes even exceed my position, which represents a particular challenge, but at the same time gives me space to constantly improve.
How did you come to replace the actors’ faces with illustrations and their animation in the Infostud campaign?
Jelena: It all started with the question: Can we do something more alternative this time? We all like to hear that, but such a question is rarely asked in our industry. We mainly work on commercial projects, because we are all quite skeptical about leaving the established “framework” in communication with a wide target group. The basic idea behind this approach was to “take away” the actors’ personality through illustrations and animation, which made it possible for each of us to find ourselves in the same situations and identify with the animated characters. By hiding the face, the person in the hairdressing chair becomes any of us.
When you get the opportunity to break out of the “mold” through a project, how do you find inspiration?
Jelena: Anyone involved in illustration follows well-known and lesser-known illustrators and always likes to discover new ones, but cultivates his own style. That’s why when we receive a task of this type, we are already experienced and know where to look for inspiration. It is always the starting point, after which comes the creation of illustrations through a lot of trial and improvement until we arrive at something that we consider a good basis for further work, keeping in mind our own style. In the case of Infostud, the format was automatically imposed – it was necessary to design an illustration that could be easily modified by characters and that could be easily and quickly animated. Therefore, there was no space for too many details, but always adding a dash above or below can create an impression of complexity.
What was your creative process like? What did you use for guidance?
Nikola: Jelena laid out the basic illustrations that later served as a guide for me. It was inspiring to work on this project, as I took a break from Photoshop in terms of how I use it on a daily basis. Watching the video, I spent much more time thinking about how I could use those basic elements to present, say, a dancer. It was also challenging, because it required us to visually tell a more complex story in a simple way.
Jelena: Creating characters, designing their appearance and the story they carry was a fun endeavor. We felt like actors when they receive a script and the task of building a character based on it with all the character traits and emotions. Our task was to express that personality through illustration and bring it to life through animation. Emoticons also had a great influence on us in the whole process, since we automatically associate them with certain emotions. We aimed to evoke the same reaction with our illustrations, just in a slightly different, upgraded way.
Is the enthusiasm for creation greater the less commercial the task?
Jelena: We always start every new project with passion, otherwise we wouldn’t be where we are. However, when we get an assignment of this type – everything else stops, it becomes something we constantly think about together and run to work just to draw and work on it – it’s an amazing feeling. In addition, often due to short deadlines and the commercial type of tasks, we have to make smaller or larger compromises. In such cases, however, there is much more room for deviation from the standard, which we are extremely happy about and deviate with joy.
Nikola: I have been part of the agency for a little over a year. At first, I thought that over time I would lose my enthusiasm for new tasks and work in general, but then something interesting and challenging appears and that passion is reawakened. I wish there were more unusual projects like this.
Is there a difference in creating illustrations for static formats and for video format?
Jelena: When it comes to the video format, the process is a bit more complex, because one must take into account the shift from static to animated, in this case in the simplest and fastest production way, due to the short deadline. It was necessary to make illustrations so that by simply moving or changing the eyes, nose, mouth, eyebrows, and with drawing, the desired story can be evoked. This requires some attention and precision, because everything has to be very accurate, since every error, even a millimeter, can be felt in the animation. That is why maximum focus and a practical state of meditation are required. It’s that moment when you don’t notice that time is passing, and neither do the people around you.
By now, you’ve already had time to track the audience’s reactions to the campaign. What is the overall impression?
Jelena: Non-standard advertisements attract attention. They can cause surprise and maybe indignation, because they are not something we are used to, but also evoke emotions that make you comment on them, talk about them, and even remember them, and that is what the idea of every advertisement is – to cause a reaction and be remembered. What in this case left an additional impression and contributed to the achievement of the goal is the fact that this campaign is one big truth. These are all famous sentences that we have all said or heard someone say. Because of this, it was easy to identify with the campaign. For the purposes of this campaign, we created a raw alternative illustration that underlines that naked truth, very directly and clearly.
Jana Savić Rastovac, Executive Creative Director
Vladimir Simić, Creative Director TV & Video
Jelena Grahovac, Head of Art
Vladimir Popović, Head of BTL
Vladimir Kondžulović, Senior Copywriter
Dušan Antonijević, Junior Strategic Planner
Nikola Mijailović, Junior Designer
Miloš Dobrić, Junior Designer
Source: Marketing Mreža by marketingmreza.rs.
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