Quite some time ago, I asked one of the Airsiders if we (admirers, observers, and most of us designers) will ever get to see the family album. The reply was they had abandoned that idea on the grounds that "it's a bit up your own arse."
Good then that they changed their minds. In the decade that this book covers, three people which became a few more people which became a small but very productive family created a brand and body of work that would become internationally recognised. It is this work that greets you when walking through the door of the Airside studio. Grey skies and damp streets of outside are forgotten as warm, hazy illustration and sharp animation with a playful tone invite you in. These are the things people love (and I'm sure some don't like) about this agency.
But Airside have always been more than making someone look pretty. Behind this work are well thought out ideas, passion for creativity and the ability to move on. When other studios either caught up or decided to follow the trend, it looked for a while like Airside might be sucked into an every-flat-colour-but-black hole located somewhere over the north-east of London. It didn't happen because they could evolve and use new technology as soon as it became available. You want a screensaver / website / viral / mobile content? The Airsiders are on it.
However you feel about this range of output (the music videos and album art still blow me away but I never really got into characters or mobile content), everything coming out of the studio has appeared to work perfectly for the client. It's great to see this side of the business represented here and is a much needed reminder for the new generation of designers that we are here for a purpose. Those wishing to collaborate with others and build an agency of their own could do a lot worse than base themselves on the model that Airside became. And If you've just realised you're unemployable in any other industry but don't know what you're getting into, this is the place to start. All this by people who draw things with no noses and produced a T-shirt with the slogan 'Work Hard And Be Nice To People'. Maybe it is that simple.
There's not a lot else to tell. I will wait to see if Airside's own rebrand (a move I found surprising but brave) is included and whether this in some way signals an end to a hugely creative chapter and beginning of a new one. I don't know yet if the stitches have a spread to call their own. What I can say is this will be among the most rewarding, valuable and well, loudly designed books on the subject you could own.
Still working hard, still being nice yeah?
Up their collective arses?... never.