Archive for the ‘Our Stories’ Category

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Now This. (Part 1)

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010
[caption id="attachment_608" align="alignnone" width="540" caption="Jason Hardy (left) and Justin Kemerling"]Jason Hardy and Justin Kemerling[/caption] The Match Factory idea began in 2002. We, Jason Hardy and Justin Kemerling, looked out on the landscape and saw the need to make things. This merged with our development as designers and continues to this day. The Match Factory became a place to put our attention, ideas and projects. Version 3, this blog site, is the beginning of our next steps. The content that will make up this site is centered around the things that inspire us. But more importantly, it is a place for documenting our projects and discussing how they fit into our view of the world. Our changing world of the last decade and the thinking crucial to our role as designers converges on many levels; personal, professional, cultural, political. It is manifested here. A pathway from what is now to what could be tomorrow, consider this a philosophical collection of what we think it means to be a designer. We both work the day to day as designers, but each have our own individual focus and intentions. Meet Jason Hardy. Goals: Story-telling, using art/design to contribute to our collective culture. Some Background: "What is there to say really. I guess I got into design because I like telling stories, and design felt like another way of doing that. As a younger man I studied journalism and intended to become a writer, though in the back of my mind something never felt quite right about that (though I still miss it). I graduated with a degree in Journalism and promptly found a job as a graphic designer. Go figure. Over the years I have found design to be both a way to make a living and a vehicle for personal expression, though those two things are sometimes mutually exclusive. I am very interested in the line between art and design (and whether or not that even matters). Design as visual poetry, or is that art? Is it art if you use a computer to make it? Who cares? Should I care? That kind of stuff. I am most attracted to making work that is evocative, emotionally resonate, entertaining, useful or just plain beautiful. At the end of the day I'm an average conflicted 32 year old American man who makes things to look at, play with, learn from or ignore. Though in the end, I hope that my work contributes to our collective culture. I am currently an associate creative director for a digital agency (Odopod) in San Francisco. I am also a freelance designer for The Criterion Collection, who are located in New York. That being said, I am a proud Nebraskan and believe in the greatness and beauty of the American Middle-West. Onward." More: Meet Justin Kemerling. Focus: Community Activist Design. Some Background: "I consider myself a collaborator, community activist and midwest. I turned 30 last year. I'm a citizen, advocate, progressive, cloudy optimist, writer, thinker, screenprinter, lover and designer. And I have a really hard time deciding what to do at any given moment. So design has worked out well for me so far, as I get to explore a lot of different areas of our society. The types of projects I really get into explore our visual culture and our ability to create a common goal for a greater good. The work I'm most proud of focuses on the specifics of a place; picking a side, and giving image, clarity and distinction to specific causes. Whether dealing with social justice, peace issues, sustainability and climate action, student organizing, or art culture, the thinking is to design positively and make it beautiful. Really though, consider me an extremely interested party in how America exists in the world, what it means to be a global citizen today and the responsibilities that come along with that. I'm just trying to make sense of it all just like everyone else. Through design and design thinking I see more and more opportunities for people to make a difference where we live and to be active participants in our changing culture." More: Moving forward, we both see our world changing in profound ways. Change itself is a process. Consider this part of our process of continuing to look out on the landscape and use design to participate in that change.

Reflecting on MLK

Monday, January 18th, 2010
[caption id="attachment_561" align="alignnone" width="540" caption="Glass panel from the memorial fountain for Martin Luther King located in the Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco."][/caption] In October 2008, just before Obama's election, Jason and I wandered through the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial at the Yerba Buena Gardens. Politics and the state of the world were very much on our minds. Walking by the glass panels, with the sound of water pounding all around, we read the words of Dr. King. We were indeed moved in a setting that felt so very spiritual. So very hopeful. A "person-oriented society." It seems so simple. So obvious. Yet, at times so unattainable. Oh these days of ours and all of their -ISMs. But the way we can be torn down, these words set in granite build us up. And the legacy of a man causes us to stop, reflect on where we've been and dream about where we still need to go. - Justin This image was originally posted at Another Limited Rebellion.

We Work (at) The Match Factory

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010
tmf_history A Place for Our Attention Our efforts at the Match Factory have always been focused on getting our hands dirty. Because making is part of things was our mantra. We payed attention to the need to try new things while remaining rooted to our sense of place — firmly in the Nebraska soil. What the final expression of whatever project it was we were working on, it was understood to always be experiment, learning, and an extension of us in terms of our aspirations as creative thinkers and active doers. The Match Factory has carried us through our focus on collaboration and random thoughts, experiments in film, exhibition, entrepreneurship and our individual growth as designers. The trajectory has been one of free-flowing idealism with bursts of creative sparks. We vaguely knew where we were going on the way to where we are today. And now we look to changing things up, with a more focused vision, while still keeping our original intentions in mind. Allow us to look back, just for a moment. The Sprinter: [caption id="attachment_196" align="alignnone" width="540" caption="Stills from The Sprinter"]wework-thesprinter[/caption] Our short film The Sprinter was about freedom. We wanted grit, raw, loud, impulse, bursting motion. It involved our design sensibilities while bringing together our musical wanderings and affinity for the beauty of layered, textured images. The tempo, the sound, the look all played together to tell the story of a man who was searching for himself along a journey merging the formulaic and the random. [caption id="attachment_262" align="alignnone" width="540" caption=" - Version 01"] - Version 01[/caption] [caption id="attachment_263" align="alignnone" width="540" caption=" - Version 02 (Momentum Section)"] - Version 02 (Momentum Section)[/caption] [caption id="attachment_264" align="alignnone" width="540" caption=" - Version 02 (Ignition Section)"] - Version 02 (Ignition Section)[/caption] This lead directly to the (version 02). We had become "professionals" in the field of design. We landed real jobs. Real incomes. And could pay off our real debts. It was a damn good feeling. But being prone to the idealism of misdirected youth, we still had the need to do random, weird shit. We saw The Sprinter as random, weird shit that needed a home. Thus, we made a Web site for it to live and around that project we drew in a group of artists, writers and designers, all at similar stages in young careers, to participate in a playground for making stuff + things. We had things we were doing in our spare time that became designs and concepts we shared on the site. Everything from anti-machomilitarism to love posters for our girlfriends. It was a great beginning that we look back on fondly. Nebraska T-Shirts: [caption id="attachment_205" align="alignnone" width="540" caption="Two of our favorite shirts."]wework-netshirts[/caption] Then, in a bar in downtown Lincoln, we had a conversation about how no one really knows where Nebraska is. So, why can't it be everywhere? Why can't it have mountains, oceans, six-legged cows, wizards and palm trees. And why can't it be bigger? (Which involved taking over Iowa.) The following three-year, off and on effort involving Nebraska T Shirts was an exercise in learning to screenprint and a type of entrepreneurship not really practiced much. We wanted people to see our shirts, like them, want to buy them, but not buy too many, and not be able to find them too easily. Our plan of kinda-sorta-attack worked for everyone involved as we see it. We sold shirts to many parts of the world thanks to the Internet, gave many, many thesbians visiting Lincoln many, many good laughs and sparked controversy in the only way a t-shirt can; by insulting a place where someone is from who doesn't have a sense of humor. Push: [caption id="attachment_221" align="alignnone" width="540" caption="Images from the Push exhibit."]wework-push-2[/caption] Around this time, we were getting involved with non-profit organizations and doing design work involving the war in Iraq, nuclear weapons and a community of Native Americans who were being decimated at the hands of neglect and exploitation. With several other community- and civic-minded designers, we put on the PUSH exhibition; an occurrence of graphic design that supports and/or opposes social causes. It was tough. It was hard. It was heavy. It was in your face up on those gallery walls. Telling a story on 20, 8 x 10 pieces of glass or making a 12 x 8 foot wall full of pasted B/W posters were just a couple of things we had never done before. They turned out. They turned heads. And we continue to deal with political and socially conscious topics we see as "projects with a common goal for a greater good." ID Attire: [caption id="attachment_228" align="alignnone" width="540" caption="Shirts we made, worn by our buddies."]wework-ida[/caption] We then decided to design more shirts, of a different nature. IDAttire is the identification of self through the specific wearing of a quick flash aesthetic. Or something like that. Some more: IDA is the visual and wearable amalgam of our individual ideas. It is a friendly port on our high seas adventure as we seek to conquer and plunder in the name of inspiration and creative passion. Fear not, we mean you no harm. We mean only to enrich, ignite and be conducive to a shared discourse between us and the world at large. And we come bearing gifts. Yeah, it was fun. We had "inventory" and a tax ID number. We designed 10 shirts in all, our favorite one we think is the one with the AK-47. Not because it's an instrument of death, but because most instruments of death look good on Mint. [caption id="attachment_261" align="alignnone" width="540" caption=""][/caption] Finally, 2008 came about and we felt we couldn't just sit there. We wanted to make some noise and jump into the idea of change and get our fellow designers making stuff with a purpose. Power to the Poster (dot) org was created to be a ready supply of wild postings that comment on the issues of our time where anybody, anywhere can download, print and post. A site designed around the 11 x 17, B/W protest poster that has went through many mediums; street postings, exhibition spaces, picked up on all sorts of blogs and landed us in D.C. for Manifest Hope. In short, it got us noticed on a scale we weren't accustomed to. What we see the site as now is a critique and a celebration of the last year and a half, and a way for us to continue our collaborative efforts with like-minded people. Now this. to be continued...