The Mill is best known for producing visual effects for films including The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and TV shows such as Doctor Who, but over the years the studio has branched out into graphics, branding and even interactive work. Last week, the firm formalised its design offerings by announcing Mill Design in London -- a group within the company working on projects across branding, graphic design, illustration, concept and game art, and motion graphics.
Design isn't a new concept at The Mill -- the firm's New York studio has a Design division that picked up a Gold gong at this year's Cannes Lions -- but newly-appointed creative director Carl Addy says that the new group allows them to take more of a lead role in projects.
"Design has effectively existed through [our] concept artists, Flame artists, motion graphics or CG artists," he says "We have offered design through everything we do. Today, we are increasingly being asked to lead the creative and the design on projects. We work with a lot of clients directly, agencies and design houses, and wanted to be able to take their briefs and understand them better before executing the idea. There was an obvious and increasing demand for it."
Carl was previously design director at The Mill, working on projects including commercials for Pepsico and a viral campaign for Converse. He has over 15 years of experience in graphic and motion design. He's joined by Ross Urien, a concept artist and art director at the Mill, who becomes head of print. The team is rounded out by designer Adam Brandon -- who's already created work for PlayStation and Disney at The Mill -- and overseen by Luke Colson, head of Mill Studio.
The Mill Design team (left to right): Luke Colson, Carl Addy, Ross Urien and Adam Brandon
Luke believes that the formalisation of Mill Design allows them to promote The Mill's full set to skills to clients, saying "the more people know we do it, the more we can attract the very best partners and collaborators."
Carl Addy's recent work includes the desire viral commercial for Converse (top) and a spot for Pepsico (above)
Mill Design's focus will still be primarily on motion work -- but can scale up to full branding projects as required.
"The Mill’s London, New York and LA studios have recently collaborated to win our first all-print Out Of Home campaign," notes Carl. "We also have two conceptual projects on the go as well as several new commissions for idents and commercials, which we’ll be announcing soon."
For many creative studios -- whether from a graphic design, interactive or motion background -- diversifying into a different media has been a necessity over recent years, as clients expect cohesive branding across their output (as well as the cost savings that come from 'all in one basket' solutions). Carl notes that this is something The Mill has focussed on over the last few years.
"We’ve continued to evolve and expand providing a diverse service range and taking on new and exciting opportunities and challenges from areas including digital, gaming and design," he says. We are forward-focussed which enables us to maximise our creative and competitive edge."
Carl says that Mill Design is open to approaches from freelance illustrators and artists looking for commissions. Check out the Careers section on The Mill's site for details.