Beautiful Thinking.

Our Design Director Dave Clancy-Smith discovered not just a hero but a kindred spirit

Dave’s love and respect for designer Olly Moss came as much from what he liked playing as his profession.

‘I was and am massively into video games and popular culture. They are what resonate with me probably more than someone like Saul Bass. I saw this series of Star Wars posters on a Mondo website and really wanted them. But they had sold out and so I decided to recreate them on my bedroom wall. And that’s where my link with Olly Moss started.’

Dave would eventually go on to achieve ownership of an Olly Moss Batman print but in between, Olly continued to inspire and influence.

‘Aesthetically, what drew me to him was that the actual subject matter was important not just the ‘look’. There was an idea, a clever thought. Like all the work in “A Smile in the Mind”, the one design book which I do own. Olly’s doing ‘smile in the mind’ ideas but coming at it from a different angle. Sort of Saul Bass meets modern pop cultural elements’.

Olly Moss even crossed paths with another of Dave’s most beloved contemporary production companies, the legendary Studio Ghibli.

“What he did on My Neighbour Tortoro (one of their most iconic productions) was so quintessentially him. Clever, playful but utterly beautiful.”

And Olly Moss’s experimentation and explorations of different creative paths is something which is reflected in Dave’s own approach to creativity.

Dave was one of the first to venture into the world of possibilities opened up by AI and became an enthusiastic evangelist for MidJourney, the AI programme ‘du jour’.

‘I’ve been deep diving and learning what AI image generation can do. I’ve even tried coming up with ideas and concepts in the style of Olly Moss. They look great and are fun, but AI can (at present) only do the styles but not the clever thought. On the journey we’re going on, being clever and combining two things in a human way has a value that a machine can’t replicate. You have to bring the deeper idea. There has to be that moment of the connection, which is what we’re trying to do, something that has not been seen or visualised before. 80% will be done by an AI, the last 20% has to be done by us.’

Dave sums it up nicely.
‘There might be AI but there has to be A Idea.’

The attraction of Olly Moss’s work continues to be that challenge to understand, to appreciate the clever thought which has gone into the creation.

‘You have to know it to get it but that increases the sense of reward. As nice as something looks if it doesn’t have legs to go on and be something interesting then what’s the point?’

And will people be able to see the influence of Olly Moss in Dave’s work?

‘That might be tricky given the categories I work in. The world of Health and Well-Being might not be ready for Olly Moss-style graphics. It hasn’t influenced what my work looks like but it has influenced the way I think. The balance of left brain and right brain. The excitement of creating something which brings reward in the discovery of the idea.’

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