IYA Studio is an independent creative studio based in London. We caught up with Creative Director, Matt Cottis.
You’ve worked alongside Folk for over 7 years. How did that relationship come about and how has it developed over the years?
Our relationship with Folk started in the most perfect way – buying a new pair of boots!
I got talking to Fraser Shand, MD of Folk who was working in the store and somehow the conversation became about them needing a new website and luckily enough we were happy to oblige.
The main reason I think we have such a good relationship with Folk is, first and foremost – they’re a good bunch of people. And their design led approach has an affinity with how we work – we love collaborating with clients and this close way of working helps the overall output.
What do you enjoy about working with contemporary menswear brands like Folk and Universal Works?
Again, the people. Folk introduced us to Universal Works and they’re a great brand to work with. I like their workwear aesthetic, which differs from Folk but again the approach for me is spot on and seeing how they’ve evolved over the last few years has been a great journey to be involved in.
“Our relationship with Folk started in the most perfect way - buying a new pair of boots! ”
How does the approach of a new interior project differ from that of a new branding or digital project?
We’re always interested in the story behind a project – digging as deep as we can into objectives and aspirations of what’s needed so that always is an intrinsic part of our design process. From then on, we’re very much believers that each project is different so regardless of whether we’re developing an online service to tag furniture for Conran or making a bespoke table for Exposure, we’re committed to benchmarking our output against the best possible outcome of the clients objectives.
As a studio that works on print, digital and interior projects, do you have designers who work and collaborate across these mediums, or do you have separate teams for each?
We’re a small full time team with myself looking over digital and print and my partner Fleur is Creative Director of 3D projects. Our designers have different skill sets and we have a great team of freelancers, friends and partners who we call on when needed.
Can you describe your studio environment?
At the moment – a bit messy! Boxes everywhere but we’re aiming to get a week before christmas where we hope to have a good spruce up. The space itself is great – we rent from Folk and it’s a lovely mezzanine floor with sky lights covering the entire roof and an open plan layout which is how we believe we work best.
“It has a hint of the shape of the shoes and the curved lines are an approachable and clean marquee that sit’s well with the ‘mahabis’ logotype.”
What’s the concept behind your branding of Mahabis?
The Mahabis project was great, we have been involved from the very beginning of the concept so we were developing the brand in tandem with the project, which was challenging and exciting for the team.
We were very sure we wanted to position them as more than just a slipper so the idea of ‘For Everyday Adventures’ was the concept we felt had the right message as it helped position them as a lifestyle product with a life outside the home.
Logo wise we explored quite a few directions but we were so happy with the final ‘m’ – it has a hint of the shape of the shoes and the curved lines are an approachable and clean marquee that sit’s well with the ‘mahabis’ logotype.
How do you approach making a new campaign for Folk feel new and fresh, yet still cohesive with previous work for the brand?
The energy of the client and their approach to creating collections that are extensions of their core product gives us both a solid platform and the flexibility to evolve their seasonal campaigns – currently we’re super happy with the SS16 lookbooks that use the face icon that will be seen on sweats and bags in the collection.
Where do you look for inspiration, beyond graphic design?
For me, I’m still obsessed with London – I love walking and taking in the different neighbourhoods – avoiding the tube where possible.
I’m also an avid collector of African carved statues – known as colonials. They have such a personality about them and I’ve been researching their history recently with a view to exhibiting them with a friend/collector next year – just need to find time to organise…
You have some brilliant collaborative work with Jack Cunningham for Non Plus. What was the collaborative process like?
It’s great working with Jack – we’ve worked on a few projects together and he seems to just instinctively know what we’re looking to achieve. Non Plus was such a great brand for us to create and I’m really happy with how the modernist approach balanced with the fun illustrations of the products.
“I'm really happy with how the modernist approach balanced with the fun illustrations of the products.”
Lastly, what typeface can’t you get enough of?
I’ve always been a big fan of Univers Condensed. Have not used it for a while but your question has inspired me to reinstate it – we’re in the early stages of creating a publication based around the who and what we ‘make with’ so I’ll see if it can form part of the project!