Jan 26 '20
Catalogue & Friends at Saturdays NYC
We've partnered with UK- and NYC-based design studio Catalogue Design for "Catalogue & Friends at Saturdays NYC", a group exhibition featuring the works of 56 artists from NYC and beyond. We recently visited co-founder Ollie Shaw at the Catalogue Design studio in NYC to see what they've been up to.
Interview by Kevin Serai — Images by Steven Stinson
Whats your creative background?
Tom (Pratt) and I met at art college, in Leeds, UK. I had already studied graphic design for 3 years prior to starting my Bachelor of Arts degree. We worked well together. Once graduated we didn’t want to go through the rigmarole of internships and (potentially) shitty jobs, so we established the studio right out of college. We took a couple of art book projects on and we carried on from there. We we’re absolutely not making enough money to live so we also started a small silkscreen company alongside Catalogue to make ends meet. We’ve been lucky enough to work on some amazing projects with amazing people. I moved part of the studio to London back in 2012 and in 2016 was able to move to NYC to expand the practice. So far it’s been great and super fun. Met some great people and done some good work.
Tell us a little bit about Catalogue and what you guys do. What's its personality and interests?
We concentrate on editorial work and publishing (mainly). We make identities for brands, artists, photographers, businesses etc and design and build websites within the same realm. Usually when we take on an identity project we try to complete a whole scope from the overall look, system, type etc. to the launch of the website. That way we can have total creative control.
We fell into editorial work from the begining of the studio, making art books and small local magazines. Now make publications for a bunch of people, brands etc. our approach is no fuss, something that looks good and that are fun. We also publish books and zines and have since 2011/12. This is the more fun, network building and expressive part of our practice. It’s also how we got to know and were able to reach out to such an incredible roster of creatives for the Saturdays show.
Catalogue is both NYC and UK based, how do you split your time and work between both places?
For a while, client work was mainly UK based, but since I moved to NYC the work has shifted a little more to clients based here. We still work with clients everywhere, still a lot in the London and the UK, but the natural progression of the move has meant that (organically) a lot of our work is now based here. The different countries and time zones doesn’t have an effect on work or communication – you learn to work with it.
When we first met I remember picking up one of your Library Papers, run us through when and why you started making those. Have you met everyone featured in them?
We started making them a long time ago, around the time we started publishing books. We wanted to give people insight into artists practices, it was as simple as that. We used to hold interviews with people etc, but in 2015 / 16 we stopped doing that and instead used the time to expand the roster of artists from 16 to 50 (give or take). Now it’s a fun output and platform for big artists and smaller / younger artists to show something and be involved in a community. My emphasis with all our work is community. I love curating and using the right talent for the right job and I think our outcome shows that!
I haven’t met EVERYONE in LP, but have met most. A lot of them have also become some of my best and closest friends which is one of my favorite things about publishing.
What type of projects have you been working on recently? Any favorites?
The show has been cool. I love that it started out as a small conversation and evolved from maybe 20 to 56 people involved. I was also stoked to ask my old studio friend (and one of my best friends) Calvin Waterman at Violet Office to make a typeface for the identity of the show. He was learning at the time so think he was happy to flex. Apart from that – more magazines, a couple of new magazine contracts for 2020. I’m currently closing out the next issue of CR Mens and CR Fashion Book. Some fun websites and also some work from one of my favorite recording artists at Young Turks. We also have the LA Art Book Fair in April with some things in the pipeline for that.
What's a typical day like at the studio? What's your process?
I can get into canal street around 10, grab a coffee from Office, head to the studio, do some admin kinda stuff, spark up iMessage with Tom so we can talk about projects we’re on. I post to instagram, all that shit. Im not great in the morning, honestly, so I do those things I need to do, grab lunch, then properly start work around 1. I basically make a list the evening before I leave and cross it off each day. I moved studios from Bushwick to Chinatown / Tribeca last year and it made it a lot easier to try and meet people, grab coffee, let people over to the studio etc – for me this is good for productivity. I like talking to people all day and taking time to stop and look at stuff. Blogs or news or whatever. In terms of creative process, nothing special, think of some things that will hopefully look cool and present them!
What's next for Catalogue in 2020?
We’re starting a band.