Sagmeister & Walsh: Aizone 2016

Periodically, the creative world seems to fixate on a certain concept. A couple of years ago it was collaboration, and at conferences and in interviews, image-makers of every stripe waxed lyrical about the joys of working together. After collaboration came play and the much-vaunted idea that if we just learned to let go and embrace our inner child, then creative brilliance would surely flow.

Jessica Walsh has been a long-time proponent of the power of play, but unlike many who talk about its benefits, you can see the influence of this idea in her work. Ever since she became a partner in Stefan Sagmeister’s New York design studio, Jessica has pursued projects which bring a playful edge to the brash creative confidence with which Sagmeister has long been synonymous.

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The latest example of this comes in the duo’s new work for Middle East department store Aizone, for which Jessica took on art direction duties. In 2015 the pair created an eye-poppingly colourful campaign for the same client, alongside body painter Anastasia Durasova and set-designers Sing-Sing. Taking inspiration from Pop-Art paintings, the images fizzed with cheeky creative energy and took quite academic art history references in joyously fun new directions.

Building on that success, the new Aizone campaign reunites the same team (collaboration, tick!) to create visuals inspired by psychedelia and constructivism. With optical illusions aplenty and even a really trippy pink horse, it’s nice to see how the campaign evokes the spirit of its predecessor, while pushing the visual challenges onwards into new territory.

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