Design studio Little Troop talks us through the entire process of its latest project for a new puzzle company
The New York-based design studio is comprised of married couple Noemie Le Coz and Jeremy Elliott, who are full of fun and unique points of view.
- Joey Levenson
- 19 October 2021
Little Troop is a design studio we can’t help but admire. Founded in 2019 by Australian designers Noemie Le Coz and Jeremy Elliot, the married couple wanted to take their learnings from working in a studio and set up to Little Troop to “create work that felt fresh, needed, and that got [them] both genuinely excited,” says co-founder Noemie. With Jeremy’s focus on digital design, animation, and multimedia, and Noemie’s expertise in classic graphic design, Little Troop proves itself as a force in the design industry. “We’re always trying to push the work we do so that nothing feels generic,” says Noemie. “There’s already so much stuff out there, and we don’t see a point in adding to the noise with something we’ve already seen before – that doesn’t feel exciting to us.”
The projects Little Troop takes on also say a lot about its design philosophies. Taking a good mix of big and small projects, Little Troop enjoys working for big clients such as Apple, Google, and Nike, as much as it enjoys working with brand new companies starting up. “We like to approach every project with a good dose of optimism, that anything is possible, and then try to work out ways to make it happen,” Jeremy explains. The duo gets involved with everything from branding, art direction, and web design, to illustration, packaging, and more. “We love doing a bit of it all because the most fun is building a brand or campaign holistically and carefully crafting how each element feeds into the next,” Jeremy adds. Holistic working seems to be key for Little Troop, as Noemie tells us she and Jeremey actively seek out brands they genuinely enjoy. “We love brands that we trust, that exceed our own expectations and that we want around forever,” she says.
Such an attitude is why their latest project Le Puzz was a perfect fit for them. Created by Michael Hunter and Alistair Matthews, Le Puzz is a brand new puzzle company that recalls nostalgia from the 60s, 70s, and 80s. “There was so much to create from scratch, a lot of trust, and so much love for what they were doing,” Jeremy explains. “The founders, Alistair and Michael, are a rare case, in that they’ve started a direct-to-consumer company purely based on their love for something.” This kind of genuine passion project resonated with Little Troop, and no doubt fuelled their creativity to create Le Puzz’s beautiful brand identity. One example is how the studio made each puzzle box on the website spin 360 degrees on hover to reveal the fun of the box backs, “which we hadn’t seen applied before in an ecomm product listing,” says Jeremy.
“Le Puzz loved the idea of treating the box backs ‘like a really fun cereal box’, as something to explore, like you would the table for a puzzle piece,” Noemie explains. “We spent some time looking at the playful oddities of vintage game boards and the weird, wonderful looseness of old cereal box graphics, to work out what we could pull into the branding, illustration and art direction to help create just the right tone.” It was a perfect marriage, as Little Troop’s self-proclaimed “playfulness” works well with the puzzle. “We like to use design to make something fun, new and relevant, and we’re very much guided by intuition and the feeling or emotion we get from the work, rather than whether it follows all the rules,” Noemie says. “Copying and pasting don’t do it for us.”
“The wordmark is based on a now-defunct wood-manufactured typeface, Winchester, we found deep on Flickr,” Noemie says. “Le Puzz immediately gravitated towards the letterforms moving around like puzzle pieces, so we tweaked each letter to perfectly align in width so that it worked as an ever-changing, playful mark.” Jeremy concurs, pointing to the importance of their typographic choices: “A big part of Le Puzz is its tribute to vintage ephemera from decades past, where typography was a bit more all-over-the-place, random and rule-bending.” To mimic that feeling, the studio knew it wanted a type system with loads of flexibility and potential for customisation, but also wanted to be very edited in its selection, so that whatever it picked would always stay recognisable to the brand. “We chose Helvetica and Times for their default feel and dryness that acted as a blank, conventional canvas to take and re-work in our own, unconventional way,” Jeremy explains. “We customised both their widths and weights to create a new, ownable family that nodded to the idiosyncrasies of the vintage type we were all so inspired by.”
Now, Noemie and Jeremy are expecting their first child, and hope to take a short break from the studio to raise him. “Otherwise, we’re really excited to just keep doing what we’ve been doing, head back to New York, and dead simple, keep creating work we’re excited about.”
Little Troop: Le Puzz packaging (Copyright © Little Troop, 2021)
About the Author
Joey is a freelance design, arts and culture writer based in London. He was part of the It’s Nice That team as editorial assistant in 2021, after graduating from King’s College, London. Previously, Joey worked as a writer for numerous fashion and art publications, such as HERO Magazine, Dazed, and Candy Transversal.