Interview with Sean Mosher-Smith
Before forming Echo Designlab, Sean worked at Virgin and Capitol Records as a VP, Creative Director. He managed and supervised all global imaging, packaging and branding. Sean worked directly with artists such as Lenny Kravitz, Christina Aguilera, Iggy Pop, Dave Matthews Band, Courtney Love, Tori Amos and Joss Stone.
As a Creative Director at The Sloan Group, Sean launched award winning global campaigns for Iceland Spring, Verizon and MTV.
Sean’s work has been featured in Communication Arts illustration, photography and design annuals as well as the Exhibit column. He appeared in HOW Magazine’s International Design Annual, Creative Quarterly, Prints Regional Design Annual and PDN Magazine. Sean has been published in iDN Magazine, Hong Kong, and various global books on design and illustration. He was named one of the top 200 illustrators worldwide by Archive Magazine.
Echo Designlab is also the creative department of theConspiracy.
Hi Sean, would you introduce yourself and your design practice?
Hey my name is Sean Mosher-Smith. My design studio is Eco design lab. We're located in New York City, in Brooklyn to be exact. We work on everything from creative direction, brand identity, design experiential for companies in entertainment luxury and tech. I'm also a creative partner at a company called the Conspiracy. We do social media marketing, iPhone applications and Web sites and I'm also working with a company called A Company which is a full service agency that builds brands from strategy through all imaginable tactics everything from logos to ads to experience all together we've created expos launched products in the pharmaceutical and healthcare fields and we've designed fitness boutiques in New York. And it's been great to be versatile enough to be able to build teams or to become part of a team. After I left Virgin Records, you know I wanted to take what I did and offer it to bands in order to better brand them and and get them kind of more digital-focused. So that I can create full campaigns around them but it's extended beyond that. Now I'm able to work with with sports companies, I'm working with entertainment companies still and these tech companies and you know just kind of giving a different feel and a different look to what they do just from my my background within music. You know I come from a very unorthodox place with what I do for them.
You've designed imaging for hit musical artists before forming Echo Designlab. What was the process like of turning a musical vision into design concept?
Each approach is actually pretty different. You know sometimes I have to create the vision from scratch and I don't have any music to listen to because it's not ready yet. Sometimes the artist comes in with a with a full idea, sometimes they come in with a really bad idea and I have to steer them towards something that's going to that's gonna be better. So no two situations are the same. The process always does start with a conversation. I work with an artist one on one to really kind of figure out what they're looking for what they want to accomplish. Kind of where they want to go and if they can't answer it I help them answer that question. But you know when I have the music it helps me it helps me of course but I don't always have it. So I have to be prepared each way for for whatever is going to happen but it always starts with the conversation. Usually it leads to Mood boards or something where the I can kind of get into where their world is and find out what they like what they don't like in artists that are similar although that's never really the biggest thing is to come up with an artist that's similar. But it at least puts me in in there in kind of in their place where they are alternative, hard rock, singer songwriter and that'll start dictating kind of where I go creatively with the project.
What are your preferred design tools? What's your process for taking projects from concept to creative design?
My preferred tools are a cup of coffee. My laptop and some good music. Usually my process depends on the project but it always starts with a creative brief. That way we know we're on the same page as to what's being created. Usually I then start making mood boards to make sure we're in the same kind of design space for whatever the project is. Doesn't matter if its music, tech, luxury brands, location or any sort of interiors it really doesn't matter. Coming up with a mood board gets it gets my client who might not have a vision gets him a little bit closer, he or she gets closer to where they want to be and where they don't want to be also. But then once all that stuff's in place then I can really just start to design and I start putting together you know examples for them to see. If it's a logo I come up with a bunch of logos for them to look at. But we always start with the mood board. We always start with the creative or creative brief so that people really know what it is that they're getting from me and I know what they're expecting from me. And sometimes that process can take a little bit longer to make sure we're all on the same page. But I think it's a crucial part of the process and it starts you off on the right track. And it's a good idea.
What brands or industries do you aspire to work with? Who is doing good work that you admire?
A few years ago I started designing interiors for things like restaurants and spas and I really enjoy working in the physical space as part of a branded experience. So I'd like to continue doing that in the coming year. Also getting my hands a little dirty and working with paint and working with things off of the computer which is kind of where I started and seeing how I can bring that into the graphic design that I'm doing right now. Some of the people that I really admire now and who I've admired for a while actually are designers like Chris Big who combines his calligraphy with graphic design does some really beautiful work. I also tend to go back to looking at the work of people like Neville Brody and Designers Republic all these people are steeped in music and music design and they're the ones that kind of got me started in my career. I was very early influenced by them and it's really great to see them grow. Some of the industries or companies I'd like to work with in this next year; I want to continue working with Nike. I loved working with them. They're fantastic. But also designing a lot of sports, you know, product and so I want to continue working within the kind of three dimensional space. Designing bags, designing interiors and just kind of getting off the computer and spending a little time with designing stuff that's that's a little bit surrounding you know the world or your life a little bit more than just what's on screen or what's on paper.
What are you working on right now? Where can we see your work in 2019?
Right now I'm working on a few things for 2019. I'm going to be continuing to develop a brand- the imaging and brand campaign for a company a tech company called you plus. I'm also working with a bunch of bands this year which I'm pretty excited about. And let's see what else? Oh I'm launching a military style, tactical bag company where I'm branding them, I'm creating their product itself and doing all their digital work as well. That'll be pretty cool. And I'm also gearing up for a show here at a gallery in New York. Probably closer to the end of 2019 but it's going to be a combination of my design work and my fine art work with a company. We're doing a bunch of experiential work for a French chocolate show. That's a trade show that's coming to New York and we're going to be building out their experience campaign and their strategy and their tactics. So that's going be pretty exciting. So it's gonna be a really interesting year. A lot of new and different type of work- product work in luxury and you know continuing with bands which I always love since that's where I kind of got started. It's nice to be able to continue doing that. It just keeps it keeps it moving keeps everything pretty exciting when every day you do something brand new in a different field with a different client. Sometimes it's challenging, a lot of times it's challenging but I wouldn't have it any other way. It's an amazing business to be in and it's super fun.