Designing With Humor: Five Ways Brands Can Be Funny Without Falling Flat
This month’s design list is all about the laughs.
Humor: It’s integral and inherent in essentially every human relationship — from the friends we choose to the coworkers we spend our creative time with, to the brands we interact and identify with on a daily basis. In our latest listicle, we share a few tips and tricks we’ve learned through the past 20 years that can help brand managers make things funny without falling flat.Read more
#VoteTogether: Taking the Pledge to Increase Voter Turnout in 2018
We’re pledging alongside more than 200 other organizations to celebrate our civic duty.
In case you needed an extra reminder: Tomorrow, November 6th is Election Day in the United States. This year, Trollbäck+Company is partnering with #VoteTogether, a national, nonpartisan campaign that aims to increase voter turnout across the country.Read more
20+ Questions: Nicole Willis
This month, meet operations manager + master crafter Nicole Willis.Read more
RAMS: A Documentary Portrait of One of Design’s Biggest Icons
A film about Dieter Rams by Gary Hustwit.
On Monday, September 24, SVA Theatre is premiering Hustwit’s latest film RAMS, a documentary portrait of Dieter Rams –– one of industrial design’s biggest icons. We are proud to have worked on both the opening titles and an interstitial animated sequence in the film.Read more
Nine Frames: Bobby Hanley
Capturing the day-to-day lives of people and workers in NYC’s Chinatown.Read more
Ps. I Love You: An Art Director’s Ode to Adobe’s Most Iconic Software
For this month’s staff post, art director Sarah Cohen describes love at first sight, awkward interactions, and deeply interfacing with a modern design icon.Read more
20+ Questions: Casey Halter
This month, meet copywriter + strategist and staff psychic Casey Halter.Read more
Culture Pass: Why We’re Excited About the NYPL’s Latest Creative Collaboration
It’s officially time to renew your library card.
With so much of New York culture specifically and unapologetically catered towards the tourism industry, NYC residents are often left (or jaded) out of the loop when it comes to catching what the city has to offer. But the launch of Culture Pass, a new partnership introduced this week between the New York Public Library system and 33 museums across the city is giving locals a new sense of cultural agency in a city run on sightseeing.Read more
Digital Darwinism: The Do’s and Don’ts of Brand Activism
Is it time for your brand to take a stand?
Engaging in effective brand activism can create major moments for savvy brand managers, from helping to raise awareness, to building consumer loyalty, to helping new players in the business differentiate from the long-standing competition. But playing politics can also be a dangerous game for CMOs to play in today’ volatile environment–one misstep and brands can go from relative safety to total extinction.
Fortunately, we have some expertise in this arena, from our continuing human rights work with the Global Goals, to this spring’s exciting LGBTQ pivot campaign with MGM Resorts. For our latest design list, we offer five tips for brand leaders to effectively engage in this new age of radical branding.Read more
Love, Cecil: Introducing The Life of a Legendary Photographer + Designer
Trollbäck+Company’s latest film titles will premier this month at Lincoln Center.
This Friday, the Film Society of Lincoln Center is set to premiere Love, Cecil an archival look at the legacy of famed photographer, set and costume designer Cecil Beaton. The film, a dazzling chronicle of one of the 20th century’s most unique creative forces was directed by one of Trollbäck+Company’s long-time collaborators, Lisa Immordino Vreeland.
We are proud to have designed the opening titles and film graphics for the project.Read more
20+ Questions: Eli Guillou
This month, meet designer, animator + Midwest native Eli Guillou.Read more
Get Hired, Stay Busy: How to Be a Good Freelancer
Young designers, take note.
Are you a freelancer looking to score a gig at a cool design agency in New York City? In a place full of top-notch talent, it takes more than just a cool reel or website to get noticed. Take it from Daniel Graf, our in-house production coordinator, who recently compiled a list of do’s and don’ts for how to make it amid the competition.Read more
Shaping Brand Voice: 10 Essential TOV Traits and When to Use Them
From speaking with confidence to talking empowerment.
A brand’s tone of voice is not what it says, but how it says it. When doing big rebrands and redesigns, we often begin our strategic process not with the visual stuff, but with an exploration of a brand’s way of communicating and connecting with audiences.
For our latest Trollbäck List, we created a list of 10 essential TOV traits for brands to consider, and a quick explanation of when (and when not) to use them.Read more
20+ Questions: Fionna Mariani
This month, meet senior designer, animator and krav maga initiate Fionna Mariani.Read more
Nine Frames: Pat King
An up-close look at the Lone Star state through a foreign lens. “As a native Canadian, I definitely found the motto to be true: Everything is bigger in Texas.”Read more
In-Camera Effects: “Keeping it Real” in a Post-Digital Culture
Let’s be honest–it’s fun to play.
Creating real visual effects in-camera is something I am passionate about. Call me “old skool,” but I strongly believe that now, more than ever, it is important to create work with personality and a human touch that breaks free from the sameness of work created with today’s over-obsession with plug-ins and render engines.Read more
Nine Frames: Brenden Schaaf
A unique collection New York City streetscapes, found artwork, and compelling personal moments.Read more
Brand New: Rethinking Best Practices in Logo Design
Six ways digital communication is changing the way we think about wordmarks, avatars, and icons.
Logo design has come a long way since brands began using standardized icons more than 200 years ago. From ornate Victorian symbology in the mid-1800s to the Late Modernism of the 1960s and ‘70s, the design industry has demonstrated an almost constant state of re-invention to keep up with changing visual trends and technologies of the times.
Today, as society continues to embrace a bold new era of digital communication, this dynamic nature is changing faster than ever. In our latest Design List, we detail six recent trends in modern logo design and why they matter for constructing a contemporary, digital-first brand identity.Read more
Social Scale: Why Authenticity, Simplicity, and Meaning Matters More Than Ever in Online Culture
In light of the recent Facebook + Cambridge Analytica controversy, art director Ben Nichols muses on the importance of honest brand communication on social media.Read more
One in Ten, Part II: Gender Equality in Design
A follow up to AIGA/NY’s January panel discussion on gender equality and female representation in the workplace.
Why is it that women outnumber men as design school graduates, yet only make up 1 in 10 creative directors in this industry?
Tomorrow, our company is once again joining Trollbäck CD Rosie Garschina, AIGA/NY and the Parsons Lecture Series for a discussion on female leadership in the design and advertising worlds. We hope to see you there.Read more
Nine Frames: Alex Moulton
Nine frames is a new photography series produced by the Trollbäck staff. Each month, we assign a disposable camera to a single team member and ask them to capture their world. The idea is to show how different the world can look through the eyes of different people in this industry — designers, animators, strategists, filmmakers and writers. We hope you enjoy the perspective.Read more
20+ Questions: September Raines
This month, meet video editor + Pacific Northwest hippie September Raines.Read more
Digital Creative Strategy: Why Cross-Platform Design + Messaging Systems Matter for Brands
As we see media distributors losing consumers from traditional linear TV, digital distribution and social media have become crucial for creating engagement, boosting awareness and growing a brand’s customer base, among dozens of other KPIs.
For our latest staff post, head of client partnerships, Joe Nash overviews what it takes for brands to adopt and implement a comprehensive digital messaging and design strategy, and how studios like ours can help cut through the chaos.
Spring Review: Trollbäck+Company’s Favorite Films of the Year
As Oscar Season swiftly approaches, Trollbäck+Company’s top creatives took some time out of their busy schedules to give us some thoughts on their favorite Academy Award-nominated (and snubbed) films of the year.
In this industry, it’s important to stay inspired and keep connected to what’s going on in mainstream culture. Our top film picks help reveal what moves us here at the studio, and the diversity of thought within our creative team that’s integral to running a creative agency like ours.
Now, let’s see if the judges agree with our recommendations.Read more
Running a Small Studio: What it Means, Why it Works
A panel discussion on the pros and cons of working in an intimate, collaborative agency.
How do some of New York City’s top design studios start small, stay small, and still compete with much larger agencies?
Join us this Thursday, February 22nd at the Museum of Arts and Design to talk some real-world strategies around something we know well: creating and running a small-scale studio. We’re going because Trollbäck CD Rosie Garschina has once again helped organize AIGA New York’s monthly panel talk.Read more
Moiré: Design Within Lines
8 techniques for working purposefully with one of design’s most notorious glitches.
Moiré: A type of graphic interference pattern that seemingly appears out of nowhere when lines, stripes, grids or curves align unexpectedly in a design. It’s a phenomenon usually avoided in this industry – the subject of countless how-to articles and online tutorials overviewing the easiest ways to skirt around or edit out the notorious optical illusion from our creations.
But moiré can also be an incredibly useful tool for adding depth, movement and unexpected excitement to our creative projects. Below, we detail eight techniques artists and designers have used while working purposefully with interference patterns. Think of it as inspiration for your daily practice.Read more
20+ Questions: Bobby Hanley
Introducing our new monthly staff profile series. This month, meet designer + animator + avant pop star Bobby Hanley.Read more
The Second Buddha: Master of Time
Exhibition opening February 2 at the Rubin Museum of Art
In 2018, the Rubin Museum of Art is dedicating its galleries, lecture halls, and theaters to a year-long exploration of “The Future.” Kicking off the year is The Second Buddha: Master of Time, an exhibit that tells the story of Padmasambhava, the Lotus Born, who is believed to have played a major role in converting the land and people of Tibet to Buddhism.Read more
One in Ten: Gender Equality in Design
A panel discussion with leading female creatives
Women make up just 11% of creative directors in this industry. We should talk about that.
On January 30th, our company joined Trollbäck CD Rosie Garschina, AIGA NY, and the Parsons Lecture Series for a discussion on equal collaboration, management and how to empower the next generation of female creative leaders.Read more
Year in Review: Trollbäck + Company’s Top Projects of 2017
As the year draws to a close, Trollbäck + Company’s top creatives took some time out of their daily design, strategy and content innovations to give us their thoughts on the work we’ve done over the past year.
In the spirit of the New Year and year-end reviews, below are our thoughts on three of Trollbäck’s most-talked-about projects of 2017.Read more
NY1 Launches “Mornings on 1”
For commuters who start their day with Spectrum’s NY1 news channel, this week dawned a little lighter and brighter with a new early morning show, “Mornings on 1.” We created a fresh show open and bumpers for the live program, which brings New Yorkers three hours of continuous coverage from around the five boroughs.Read more
Beauty+Logic: The Value of Simplicity
by Ben Nichols, Senior Designer/Animator
In recent years, the development of cinematic-quality television has raised expectations for show titles to new heights and elevated it in public consciousness. Look no further than Ryan Gosling’s viral SNL skit, “Papyrus,” poking fun at the font choice for James Cameron’s blockbuster film Avatar. Of course the skit was a huge hit with us type design nerds, but it also reflects an increased viewer awareness of film and show titles as a distinct art form.Read more
The +Company: Daniel Graf
+ Title: Production Coordinator
+ From: Los Angeles, California
+ Currently living in: Bushwick, Brooklyn
+ With Trollbäck for: 7 months
+ Instagram: @greasepencilRead more
The New Division Launches Targets for Action
The +Company: Alex Moulton
+ Title: Chief Creative Officer
+ From: Berkeley, California
+ Currently living in: Fort Greene, Brooklyn
+ With Trollbäck for: 10 months
+ Instagram: @moultonalexRead more
Beauty + Logic: Get the Picture
by Jess Bennett, Copywriter
For someone who values speed and efficiency in everyday life as much as I do, I have a limitless attention span when it comes to painstaking activities that inspire tedium in others. I love jigsaw puzzles – the tinier and more convoluted the pieces, the better. I love knitting, even though it’s infinitely more practical to buy a sweater than spend 40+ hours making one. I enjoy listening to the Grateful Dead (but draw a line at the tedium that is Drums and Space). What’s behind this patience-disparity?Read more
Beauty + Logic: Design Still Matters
by Rosie Garschina, Creative Director
Dieter Rams and his “10 Principles of Good Design” have had a huge influence on my practices as a designer, and continue to be a great reference for creating simple, effective design solutions. Until recently, it was easy to classify a product as well-designed. But what might be more important is recognizing that good design is not always successful branding.Read more
Beauty+Logic: I Share Therefore I Am Not
by Elliott Chaffer, Executive Creative Director
To be clear: I am not talking about the false value that people and brands place on the amount of shares they get or “friends” they have on social media. Nor am I talking about file sharing, timeshares, ride shares, re-shares, shareholders or company shares. And frankly, I couldn’t care less about selfies, hashtags, cat pics, or pictures of what you ate last night. Share a real meal with someone instead and find out something new.Read more
Tribune Broadcasting Launches “morning dose.”
Start your day with “morning dose.” Our branding for the new morning show launched on June 29th in syndicated Tribune Broadcasting markets. Leveraging the media reach and data analytics of digital publisher Dose, it’s the first daily wake-up show of its kind to focus on storytelling driven by trending social content. View the full case study here.
The +Company: Ben Nichols
+ Title: Senior Motion Designer
+ From: Sydney, Australia
+ Currently living in: Astoria, Queens
+ With Trollbäck for: 5 amazing years
+ Instagram: @benjingtonRead more
Beauty + Logic: A New Way to Learn Non-Verbal Storytelling
by Alex Moulton, Chief Creative Officer
I am on a constant quest to understand what makes great stories work on screen. But while reading scripts and mapping stories continue to teach me a lot about what works, I’ve always wished there was a better way to learn about non-verbal storytelling.
Now there’s a new tool for learning the unspoken side of the craft. Everyone has access to it, but most don’t even realize it’s there.Read more
The Jim Jefferies Show
Australian comic Jim Jefferies is the latest entertainer to join the ranks of late night television, with a new politically-charged show on Comedy Central. We designed a show package that amplifies Jim’s unique and often divisive brand of humor, juxtaposing images that are informed by the complexity—and absurdity—of today’s current affairs.Read more
The +Company: Elliott Chaffer
+ Title: Executive Creative Director
+ From: London, mate!
+ Currently living in: Brooklyn, baby!
+ Studied: Graphic Design/Photography at University of Brighton (UK)Read more
“Beauty + Logic”: Tweets vs. Tales
by Jess Bennett, Copywriter / Communications Coordinator
Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft is a candid book that’s part memoir, part style manual, and part self-improvement guide. It’s the most honest book I’ve read about writing, and the most valuable. It was also published in 2000: four years before Facebook, six years before Twitter, a decade before Instagram. Today, we are rabid consumers of words and content; much more, I would argue, than when King first started On Writing in 1997. Now more than ever, with innumerable apps and platforms available for us to swipe, like, and share (including this one), everybody writes.Read more
NBCU 2017-2018 Upfront
NBCUniversal’s upfront season is in full swing, showcasing everything that media buyers and audiences have to look forward to in their 2017-2018 portfolio. From their “Unequaled” anthem campaign to Monday night’s finale at Radio City Music Hall, here’s a look at some of our recent work for NBCU and their vast network of entertainment brands.Read more
ESPN “Outside the Lines” Unveils New Look
Under the leadership of veteran anchor Bob Ley, ESPN’s Outside the Lines reports on the most riveting and consequential stories to impact the world of sports–and the world at large. For the refresh, we delved into OTL’s past and present legacy to highlight the scope of their award-winning journalism–and never-ending quest to “Follow the truth.”
Catch Outside the Lines weekdays @ 1pm EST on ESPN. View the full case study here.
Jakob to Speak at Design Sweden 60 Years
For those of you in and around Stockholm (or needing an excuse to visit), Jakob will be speaking at A House Stockholm to celebrate 60 years of Design Sweden on May 22nd. Admission to the event is free.
Jakob will join other designers and creatives to discuss his work as it relates to “Purpose”—exploring why designers do what they do, why design matters, and how purpose plays a role in their process. Follow @designsweden as they continue to add exciting talent to their speaker slate, including Hall of Femmes co-founder, Angela Tillman Sperandio; and Unn Swanström of Doberman.
Details and tickets available here.
“Beauty + Logic”: The Art of the Question
by Alex Moulton, Chief Creative Officer
“Design is a solution to a problem. Art is a question to a problem.”
John Maeda, 2009
Maeda’s insight remains a profound reduction of the divergent mindsets between designers and artists. When I first heard it I was in complete agreement, but nearly a decade later I think it’s worth a closer look. I now believe that it’s more important than ever for designers to be asking deeper questions at every stage of our process. It’s not enough to focus on solutions.
Trollbäck at The New School
Beauty+Logic: “Teaching Brands to Swim”
by Jorge Peschiera, Creative Director
There was a time when a brand identity was basically a logo, a font, and a color scheme. And yes, there was research and strategy that informed all of that, and stern talk of “safe areas” and “brand voice.” But still, it was simpler then. It was a time when mass communication was in its infancy and print was the dominant medium. Those sweet, innocent days are over, but most people who work in branding today seem to have missed that memo. Many branding firms still adhere to a fundamentally print-centric model. They fail to see how profoundly things have shifted.Read more
Beauty+Logic: “In Favor of Brutalism”
by Brian Bowman, Creative Director
The Whitney had a new home. I was excited to see it and thankful that Trollbäck+Company had purchased tickets for our whole studio to attend the opening exhibition. The new building fit in well with its industrial Meatpacking surroundings and popular High Line elevated greenway. The entire area had been refurbished for retail, posh restaurants, and an Apple Store. Change in cities is good (mostly); especially when neighborhoods at risk of becoming vacant and dilapidated are able to be transformed into something vibrant again. Change is the litmus of life in the city and I’d rather see continuous change than stagnation due to vacancy or overzealous preservation.
Alex Moulton Joins Trollbäck
We are thrilled to welcome Alex Moulton to the Trollbäck family as Chief Creative Officer. Alex comes to us by way of VICE, where as Senior Director he helped launch Live Nation TV; and brings more than 17 years’ of industry experience to our studio.Read more
NBC Universo Refresh Breaks Boundaries
Our work for NBC Universal continues with an elevated brand refresh for Universo, now the fastest-growing Hispanic channel for millennials and adults. Guided by the mantra, “Breaking Boundaries,” we employed strategy, design, animation, and sound to create a minimalist new look for the property with a distinctly Latin pulse.
Trollbäck at OFFF
Trollbäck+Company CCO, Jakob Trollbäck, will be participating in this year’s OFFF Barcelona festival from April 6–8th. Jakob is speaking in OFFF Roots: a series of talks spotlighting leading industry designers and studios.
Now in its 17th year, OFFF brings together design minds from around the world for three days of conferences, workshops, and performances that celebrate curiosity and innovation across disciplines. This year’s theme, “New Senses,” promises a “sensorial renaissance” to challenge and engage the way we experience the world.
Trollbäck at Type Directors Club
On March 30th, join us at the Type Director’s Club in midtown Manhattan for “Designing for Change”: a discussion on the challenges and rewards of connecting with a global audience. Jakob will speak about the process of designing visual communication systems for the United Nations’ Global Goals campaign as well as the NBC Olympics logos.
UPDATE: View the full presentation here.
Trollbäck at SCAD CoMotion
For the second year in a row, Creative Director Rosie Garschina represented Trollbäck+Company at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) CoMotion festival. The three day event of talks, panels, and portfolio reviews presents an exciting opportunity for students to network with leading industry professionals. Rosie was a panelist on “Keeping Up,” discussing strategies for creatives to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Watch the full presentation here.