Matthew Jones, the creative director of Accept & Proceed, left the designers in the room squirming with jealousy after giving insight into the studio’s work for Nasa during his talk at last month’s Nicer Tuesdays. Accept & Proceed is a graphic design agency based in East London’s Hackney Downs but as a team, Matthew told us, “we come from all over the world”.
Matthew began by talking us through the studio’s design principles which are: “Think as one, find the truth, make it resonate.” And the reason they have these? It’s a lens through which they view everything they do. If followed, in that order, he explained, the studio’s work will hit the mark.
A big part of the studio’s DNA is a platform for self-initiated work they call “Explorations”. And it was two of projects produced through Explorations that actually led Accept & Proceed to work for Nasa. “Simply by exploring areas that we’re interested in,” Matthew said, “amazing things have happened and come our way.” The first of these was a poster based on the moon landings. Using data visualisation and experimental print techniques, the poster showed the locations of each landing and the time spent on the moon’s surface. The second project was titled Spectra and took the form of a kinetic sculpture in the studio. Working with Field, Accept & Proceed visualised meteor data released by Nasa as a reflective, motorised sheet.
Matthew then went on to explain how these projects led to the work for Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Lab. “We didn’t know what the pay-off would be,” he added, “but it turned out it was huge.” The result was a project bringing to life the JPL’s new Grace follow-on mission, celebrating its launch with a scale model of the satellites involved in the mission. “If you told me as a 10-year-old that I’d be going to Nasa on a jolly, I wouldn’t have believed it,” Matthew remarked.
The creative director finished by giving us a glimpse behind the scenes of his tour of Nasa before explaining some of the particularities of the project. With a working process that involved him and the team at Nasa communicating with the team in London, they developed a typeface inspired by the shape of the satellites. “We worked on a display font for Grace, we saw it as giving her her voice,” he added. The model satellites Accept & Proceed produced now sit in the reception at JPL, their screens displaying the information that the real satellites beam down to Earth.
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