The Eat Sleep Work/Play duo Antoine Choussat and Zamir Antonio are not to be separated. Having met in week two of their BA Graphic Design course at Central St Martins College of Art and Design, they started working together on a series of projects, both at Central St Martins and for a number of small freelance commissions. ‘It works because we think alike,’ says Choussat. ‘Over our time at Central St Martins we grew together as designers.’ Since meeting more than four years ago, the duo has worked on a range of projects, including a think-tank for Adidas, working with fashion brand Kokon To Zai, channel idents for VH1 and a recent branding job for Pepsi.
One of their most ambitious projects was to rebrand the identity of the University of the Arts, which Antonio and Choussat won when still writing their dissertations, on the strength of their ambitious idea of a flexible brand mark that could be interpreted by each of the university’s colleges in their own way. ‘We devised a dynamic logo, a framework that could be connected in many ways,’ says Choussat. ‘One of the main requirements of the brief was to show the unity of the university, but also the individuality of each college.’
The pair admit that they were perhaps a little idealistic, as they didn’t get to realise their audacious concept, partly because the abovethe- line design group in charge of the rebrand ‘weren’t really that receptive’, they say. ‘If we could do it again we would probably be a little bit more refined, but we wanted to do something different.’ In the end, their concept of a dynamic and changeable logo and identity became ‘more of a formula’. They also learnt that working for a large institution can involve compromise. ‘Even though it was the University of the Arts, the client didn’t want to take any risks,’ says Choussat. ‘Maybe it wasn’t ready to push its identity further.’
But they weren’t discouraged and are keen to continue rethinking their approach. ‘It is an interesting time for branding, there’s room for more creative thinking,’ says Antonio. ‘This is where our interest lies: new forms of identity,’ adds Choussat. ‘And that’s what we were trying to push with the University of the Arts. Branding doesn’t have to be just one rigid form in the top right-hand corner of a letterhead.’
Antonio and Choussat enjoy working in London, putting much of their inspiration down to the mix of people in the capital. ‘We meet a lot of different people working in different fields of design or art,’ explains Choussat. ‘All those little frictions create those sparks that might influence our branding.’
Having just moved into a new studio space, Antonio and Choussat are keen to pursue their ambitions. ‘At the moment we’re trying to get ourselves really organised,’ says Antonio. ‘We’re soon going to be doing a big ring-around of people we would love to work for.’ Having just completed rebranding a space in the Royal Festival Hall called Spirit Level, and a project for Pepsi, their aim of applying their thinking to bigger projects seems well under way.