Illustration of Kate Moross in heroic pose for Use All Five interview

Design Instincts: Studio Captain Kate Moross Talks Shop with Use All Five

Kate Moross is the director of Studio Moross in London, where she brings her bright and loud style to some of the biggest names in music. We talked to her about creating the studio and what makes her tick.

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UA5: Let’s start with your look. Your artistic style pops straight out from your person and seems to be in constant motion. When did you begin to make such bold fashion choices? How has it impacted your work life?

KM: I don’t understand why everyone wears dark colours. It makes zero sense to me. It’s so gloomy, and you have such a narrow bandwidth to express yourself. What I wear everyday reflects my mood, it’s chosen to enhance how I feel, or sometimes to comfort myself if I’m tired, stressed or sad. It’s an extension of myself, so naturally it will look and feel like my work, as they are one and the same.

London is a tough place to live, so you have to push hard to rise above and work hard to stay afloat

UA5: What was it like growing up and living in London? Do you see the city reflected in any of your work?

KM: I don’t have a comparison, as I have lived here my whole life. London is a tough place to live, it’s a bit of a battle every day, so you have to push hard to rise above and work hard to stay afloat. I think that is an excellent challenge.

UA5: How do you feel when you think back on your own attempts at creating music? Do you think that experience benefitted your current work with musical artists?

KM: No I don’t think so, it was just something I did when I was a kid. I think it made me appreciate how good other people are and how crap I was. I am also so glad that I made the decision to be a designer over anything else, because I am much better at that than singing and playing guitar!

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UA5: How do you think your particular style would be categorized and how would you prefer to define it?

KM: I don’t want to have a style, I just want to make great work. If someone was to bring all my work together in a room or on a page I would want it to make sense, but I don’t want it to be an obvious lineage in style or aesthetic. I’m not concerned with style. I care about answering the brief, and making good work.

It is important for me to be pushed and challenged on every project. I don’t want it to be easy. You don’t make good work when it’s easy.

UA5: How do you approach collaborative work?

KM: Every piece of work I make is a collaboration of some kind whether that’s with a client, team of creative collaborators or a huge project with hundreds of moving parts and team members.

I don’t do personal work. I am not an artist. I work to a brief, for a purpose, and the best work is done as part of a team. It is important for me to be pushed and challenged on every project. I don’t want it to be easy. You don’t make good work when it’s easy.

Our studio creates work every day that is the combination of 8 minds, everyone in the room has an impact on every project in some way.

UA5: Can you share a little about how Studio Moross was formed? What work led up to you creating your own studio and when did you feel ready to lead an office?

KM: I started the studio because I was bored of illustration work. I wanted to expand my horizons to include the things I enjoyed like design and moving image. It’s easier to do those things when you have a team of people with a range of skills who can work together as a team. I have always felt ready to lead, but I didn’t realize how hard it would be to captain a ship. The bigger it gets the harder it is, but the more exciting the work you create.

I really just go on my gut reaction. It’s not fine art - it’s very instinctual.

UA5: How do you go about visualizing a sound? How do you get started on a project that’s meant to represent music?

KM: I really just go on my gut reaction. I listen to the music with a group of people in the studio and we talk about the song and what it feels like, what it might look like represented. We think about the mood, the sensations you have when you are listening, the colours it conjures and what the lyrics are saying. It’s not fine art it’s very instinctual.

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UA5: If you could design the cover art for a classic album, which one would you want to do?

KM: Stevie Wonder – Songs in the Key of Life.


Related Links:

You can find the ship Kate captains here: Studio Moross

Here's Kate's personal site. Like her, you haven't seen a site like it

Illustration by: Christine Jackson & Troy Curtis Kreiner

The interviewer, Ryan Ernst is a Digital Strategist at Use All Five.
Follow Ryan on Twitter

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