Tom Muller: Interview (2010)
Posted on June 6, 2010 by michael
After eight years, you’re now moving on to Studio Output. What was your time like at Kleber?
My time at Kleber has been great. I started in 2002 at a time when the dot-bomb fallout was still a very real thing, and I had the opportunity to immediately work on exciting projects like MTV2 & MTV Base Europe and grow from there. The small size of the company helped as well to create a very close-knit atmosphere. To say I learned a lot would be an understatement (I pretty much stopped using WYSIWYG HTML editors for example), and I’m very grateful that I’ve had a chance to work for such an agency and be involved with some very interesting work.
How will your daily routine change being at a larger studio?
Well, for one it’ll be a return to an office environment. Kleber went “virtual” 5 years ago, so during that time I’ve worked from my home studio space. Soon I’ll be facing the morning and evening commutes again! To be honest I’m looking forward to the change and being able to work in a dynamic studio environment again.
How would you describe the design community in London?
Varied, big, cliquey, trendy, nice, boring, interesting.
What is a Long Lunch?
LongLunch is a not-for-profit outfit which organizes talks and lectures by designers for creative types in London, Glasgow and Edinburgh. I had the pleasure to be invited to speak at two of their events this year which was a lot of fun. They’re an excellent bunch of guys and you should check them out: http://www.longlunch.com
Its great to see http://www.ximeralabs.com/ back online. Does it provide incentive for creative exercise?
Yeah thats an interesting one. It was since 2006 that I did the last somewhat proper update. Since then work got in the way and a lot of my spare time was taken up by freelance projects and basically having a life (I hope!). But during that time I amassed a whole lot of work that never ended up being used… sketches, proof of concept designs and just tests in general which I kept collecting as “Interesting, must use later”. I felt the time was right to resurrect ximeraLabs and create an ongoing archive for those pieces of work, keeping me on my toes not to let it slide, and keep pushing new work.
What is “Oneironaut” (2006) http://www.ximeralabs.com/v8/ ? Will you continue to build on it?
Oneironaut was an eight-page sci-fi story I wrote and designed/illustrated for the 1st issue of the award-winning graphic novel anthology Mam Tor: Event Horizon™. I’ve always had plans to build on it, and revisit the story. I have a folder full of research, notes, reference etc… Again, its been a matter of time, and getting sidetracked by other interesting things. To be continued no doubt.
Tell us about http://www.mrandmrsm.com
Mr and Mrs M. is the moniker under which my wife Liz and I do freelance work. Although we both have our hands full with our day jobs (me at SO now and my helloMuller work, and Liz at Tank Magazine where she’s an AD) it makes perfect sense for us to do work together (albeit we can have vastly different views and tastes on some things) that we can put our name under. The majority of the work we’ve done is split between comics-oriented work and fashion/lifestyle clients. Its a nice thing to have and while we have a lot of other commitments work-wise, we’re always on the lookout for interesting projects to work on as Mr and Mrs M.
Please describe the creative process behind:
Life in 2050:
Life in 2050 was an exhibit curated by agency Transmission for the 9th London Sci-Fi-Festival. The overall theme was ‘Life in 2050’ and I was invited as one of the artists to respond to the brief, and envision what (through SF glasses) the future would look like in 40 years time. The idea behind my poster is part inspired by military propaganda posters, part vintage SF paperbacks (Dutch language collections that belonged to my dad published by Prisma Books and Spectrum in The Netherlands) and a healthy dose of Pop, envisioning what space/planet exploration/explorers might look like.
Rise and Fall:
DC Comics DC Comics commissioned me to design the trade dress (i.e. the cover framework) for a multi-series crossover event. The idea is, that those stories that span a few titles are all recognizable under a unified dress. They were looking for a modern approach to the covers (they liked the angular typography of the VIKING comics I designed). I designed the typography and text treatment, and the graphic treatment for the covers. Those were delivered to the art department at DC who then implemented them across the titles.
Which two comics should I buy right now?
I’m going to cheat and give you a top 5 instead, because there’s a lot of good stuff on the shelves now. Looking at my most recent stack of comics I’d say you need to get 1) S.H.I.E.L.D by Jonathan Hickman and Dustin Weaver (Marvel Comics) 2) Northlanders by Brian Wood and a rotating roster of artists (DC/Vertigo Comics) 3) SCALPED by Jason Aaron & R.M. Guerra (DC/Vertigo Comics) 4) Casanova by Matt Fraction and Gabriel Bá (Icon/Marvel Comics — coming in July) 5) Batman & Robin by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely and others (DC Comics) Of course, everyone should go out and by the oversized VIKING hardcover :)
Your 5 most played mp3s?
According to my Last.fm stats, over the last 12 months those would be: 1) 2562—Intro 2) Bar 9—Shaolin Style (Original Mix) 3) Akira Kiteshi—Pinball 4) Bar 9—Pulse (Original Mix) 5) Chase & Status—Eastern Jam