Special Edition Co. is an experimental creative collective comprised of two designers, Sam Small and Trent Roach. Based out of Kansas City, Missouri, it is these makers “primary mission to collaborate on innovative projects with artists internationally,” the designers explain. “Overlapping our aesthetic with other creative mindsets often produces unique and exciting outcomes,” as well as the digital age, “offering endless opportunities to link with other artists.”
Their practice spans a dizzying range of disciplines, from visual campaigns and web design to zines or branding identities. Sam and Trent’s work is bold, bright and eclectic, featuring digital collages that combine colour and shape in explosive patterns. Mutually “drawn to motion”, they claim an energetic vibe “works its way into the composition regardless, with different colour palettes, kinetic shapes and literal vibrant marks portraying movement and elements colliding to interact with one another”. The goal of their artwork is to “provoke the viewer’s imagination to interpret the content for themselves and provide a unique escape from reality for a few minutes”. Inspired by science — “molecules, cells, microscopic shapes and forms”, it is hard not to spot these influences in their works, their collages reminiscent of mesmerising galaxies.
“Exploration is such a huge part of our practice,” Special Edition Co. tells It’s Nice That. In turn, the duo don’t follow a strict formula but naturally “combine analogue and digital methods”. “We find that a less defined plan works better for creating work that we can get excited about”, they explain. Sam and Trent’s work is about play; as they are a team of two, there is a dynamic exchange of ideas. The artwork is bounced back and forth and contains the harmonious blend of both. Each piece displays an eclectic, unique mixture of elements: lines, shapes, zingy colours, which all mesh and mould in patterns that resemble fireworks. It is precisely this bizarre juxtaposition of conflicting factors that give their images their appeal. Drawing inspiration from the everyday, Special Edition Co. stumble across materials in the strangest of places, “we’ve even scanned different messes, screens or building supplies that are intended for home improvement”. The collective’s digital collages contain a range of textures and layers; compelling you to decipher their codes.
Sam and Trent have worked with restaurants, ceramics, furniture and stationery, bringing their own interpretation to each. A particular project that stood out to It’s Nice That was the collective’s collaboration with the artist Neon Saltwater. Seeing “ties between her colour palettes and subject matter with their own work,” it was her virtual dreamscapes which attracted Special Edition Co., particularly the “contrast of our vibrant, energetic imagery and her calm, airy space felt right on point,” and it’s clear to anyone that views this image that it’s a truly surreal and engaging piece.