Loz Ives: Because Studio
Based in North West England, Because Studio is the independent graphic design practice of Loz Ives, a young chap with a keen eye for detail, simplicity and relevance within the work he produces. Working across a varied range of disciplines, from branding, print and website design, Loz has worked for clients including: The New Economics Foundation, Co-operatives UK, NHS and Urbed. We caught up with Loz this month to find out how the second year of running the Because Studio is panning out.
Notes on Design: Can you give us a brief insight into who you are and what you do? How did your career start?
Loz: I’m a Graphic Designer based in the North of England. After graduating from Loughborough University with a BA (Hons) in Visual Communication I began working as a designer at Multidisciplinary Art & Design Studio the Ultimate Holding Company (UHC) in Manchester. I spent just under two very exciting years there as a new graduate where I got to work on some amazingly creative briefs for clients such as Greenpeace, New Economics Foundation & DEFRA. For example, a week into the job, I found myself sanding out a map of the world from three 8x4ft paint peeling boards!
Notes on Design: How and why did you choose a career in design?
Loz: I realised at an early age that I was not cut out for anything where numbers or copious amounts of writing were involved. I enjoy everything about the design process and all the challenges it throws up along the way. I cannot think of many other professions where one finds themselves working with an architectural firm and a tribal fusion belly dancer at the same time!
Notes on Design: What led you to go it alone and set up the Because Studio?
Loz: The chance to do exciting work under my own name, to make my own decisions and be in control of every aspect of the creative process. It definitely works both ways though, as much as I love having that control but I also find it really hard as I get busier that I’m not able to focus on just one thing at a time, and then just end up drowning in emails!
Notes on Design: What would you say was your creative break, and what has been the pivotal piece of work you are most proud of?
Loz: Because Studio is only 2 years old this coming July, so that is a tough one! Honestly, I don’t think I’ve had a ‘creative break’ yet. But If I had to choose one project, it would have to be the campaign for the New Economic Foundation’s (NEF) event The Bigger Picture: Festival of Interdependence that happened on London’s Southbank last year. It was such an amazing event and project to be a part of, great to work with the NEF team, and frankly was a huge undertaking for a one man design studio! My role involved the entire branding, print output and location design for both the main event and fringe events for the festival.
Notes on Design: What are you working on at the moment?
Loz: Lately I’ve been working closely with The Carbon Co-op on their branding. We’ve just finished a Manual they’ve written that gives people in the Moss Side community of Manchester advice on climate change issues and how they can work together to save energy. I’ve also recently completed another project with Single Cell Collective called ‘Finding Zion’, which was a month long series of events based in Hulme revolving around the Zion Arts Centre.
Current projects include branding and plenty of other fun stuff for a software company called Adaptavist and I’m also working on a new project for Growing Our Future called ‘Who grows what where?’
Notes on Design: Do you actively seek out new business or do you find it comes to you? Do you have any preferences on the kinds of clients you like to work for?
Loz: So far I’ve rather luckily found new business has come to me, but it is something I’ve been putting a lot of thought into lately, along with the growth of Because Studio. I will be looking at producing a follow up to the portfolio mailer that I produced last year and from there will certainly be making a more conscious effort to target the kind of people I’d love to work with/for.
Notes on Design: Do you have any self-led projects you’d like to tell us about?
Loz: I do always try and produce self initiated work. In the past this kind of work has gone really well – projects such as the hard times postcards and optimism/pessimism posters. Admittedly though, it has become increasingly difficult to find the time.
Saying that however, I’ve just set up a website with a group of close friends Rob Birchall, Claire Walls and Emma Smart called Flock. There isn’t much information on there just yet, but it’s definitely work in progress. The main aim of Flock is to provide each of us with a unique outlet to produce work from, without the restrictions of client led work. One of the first projects we’re working on is going to be a limited run publication working with a small number of illustrators to create a colouring book of sorts and using London’s wonderful Newspaper Club to print it.
Notes on Design: What was 2009 like for you, and what does 2010 hold?
Loz: 2009 was an exciting but tough year, one of the things I’ve had to learn fast as an independent designer is that whenever you think your busy it is nothing compared to what it will be like in two months time! In terms of my aims for Because Studio, I’m really keen to start looking for some help, most likely in the form of an intern or placement. Excitingly, I’m moving into a slightly bigger studio soon so that will offer the room to bring someone in. As for the future, I just want to carry on creating nice projects for nice people, and if that means growth then I’ll tackle that when I come to it!
Designer and writer Kate Andrews was the original editor of Notes on Design blog, founded in 2007.