Interview with Kenny Batu
has been kicking ass in NYC and abroad since 2015. They both bring in diverse perspectives and visual vernaculars—to create versatile outcomes. They focus on visual communications, and approach their projects in a collaborative and multi-faceted method.
Hi Kenny, could you please introduce your work with YEAIKNOW and what led to your joining forces with Eivor Pedersen back in 2015?
Hey I'm Kenny Batu, co-founder of YEAIKNOW a studio in New York City. I met my partner Abel Patterson whilst we were at School of Visual Arts completing our master's degree we used to bounce ideas and critique each other's work and very often and not keep each other's comments. However we realized we will work really well together since we come from very different design backgrounds and our combined perspective make our work more well-rounded and multifaceted.
What have been some of the biggest projects you've worked on with YEAIKNOW? Who have been some of your biggest clients?
We have work with Freeze Fashion Affair which was a music fashion festival up in Bodø Norway. Also a few years ago, a massive multi-function venue space in upstate New York. We have also work with Nylon magazine on their digital platform. Last but not least we had the honor of working with Myriad Scan in Taiwan which is a pretty cool tech company.
Who are some of your inspirations for YEAIKNOW?
Well I always say my inspirations are very different from Eivor's, but the both of us are often inspired by approaches, methodologies or systems. What really stuck to me was during my experiences at my time at the New York Bay's design studio karlssonwilker. The co-founder Jan Wilker has time and time again challenged my perspective and has made me see design as a study of human behavior and collective psychology through the medium of visual communication. To me designing is not necessarily about making something look nice, using trendy colors or element design serves very particular functions in which I usually identify in the early stages of the design process. So I'm saying this to be a little bit ugly, a little bit edgy, sometimes needs to be bland or boring and at the end of the day we're not visual stylists. Everything I wear has a reason and collectively contribute to serve the function of the piece.
What are the main tools you use for your work? What is your design process?
I wouldn't say that we have a main tool for our work honestly depends on the nature of the project. On the other hand we certainly have a rather structured design process. We usually start out with and in-person fact finding meeting with the client during which we'll ask as many questions as prepared and sort of in a meeting usually too many for the client's comfort. Then we will break down information and try to find some connection in between the elements. Then we choose about three to five and explore those ideas as far as possible. This process usually takes about a couple of weeks until we have exhausted all the possibilities. Then we would take a few days off and come back with a fresh set of eyes and analyze the strengths and weaknesses of our options. Then once again we choose three to five options to finesse and present to the client for feedback or sign off.
What's next for your work with YEAIKNOW? What are the main projects, partnerships and exhibitions you'll be focusing on this year?
Currently we're working on a website for London based music playlist curation service. Also we're preparing for an upcoming exhibition in Science Gallery in Detroit. We're planning to work on the identity system and website for Norwegian Development Network agency and we are beginning our collaboration with a New York City Gallery designing their upcoming printing matters.