Our Artist Co-Op program continues with the release of a new limited edition collection featuring designs by the gentlemen of ITAL/C. Founded by Matt Titone and Ron Thompson in 2012, ITAL/C is a multidisciplinary creative studio located in Venice, California (and neighboring to our Abbot Kinney Store). With projects ranging from branding, collateral and interior design to their own surf culture brand, Indoek, and even their own board game, ITAL/C’s work spans across mediums while reflecting a bold, mid-century modern-inspired design aesthetic that evokes a sense of playful wonderment.
For our new Artist Co-Op collection, ITAL/C drew inspiration from their coastal lifestyle, creating bold, graphic interpretations of the boats of their dreams. We caught up with Matt and Ron in Venice to soak up the beautiful California weather and learn more about ITAL/C.
How did you guys get started?
We both met while working together at Saatchi & Saatchi. When we left, Ron went on to freelance and Matt when to B-Reel. All the while, we stayed close friends and continued to collaborate on more projects. Eventually we decided we wanted to start something for ourselves. We both enjoy working together and have a similar aesthetic, so we started ITAL/C in July 2012.
You’ve named mid-century modernism and Charles and Ray Eames as influences to your work. Which characteristics/traits of that era resonate most with your own aesthetic?
We love the bold colors, shapes, simplicity and optimism that define the look of that era. Eames is the original Venice Beach creative studio. They pioneered the mid-century modern design aesthetic because they lived and breathed it with everything they did. The Eames studio is just a huge inspiration to us overall and we aspire to have that sort of creative workshop / wonderland ourselves with ITAL/C. It wasn’t just about the work with Eames; it was an all around lifestyle that blurred the lines between work and play. They were designers and artists, but they were also working on other things; furniture, graphics, projects with some of their friends. They wanted to touch a lot of different things, and that is something that defines our whole approach as well.
Why were you drawn to working with Alternative on this project?
We have always loved the brand, and we use Alternative blanks any time we do tee and sweatshirt designs for ourselves and for all of our client work. Alternative makes a great, high quality product—no BS. Now that the brand seems to be developing further, it is even more appealing for us to be involved with somehow. We took notice from a consumer standpoint of the evolution of the brand and have always been inspired by the store down the street from us on Abbot Kinney.
The concept for the collection is “mid-century nautical.” Describe your process in creating the boat graphics featured in the collection.
With every project, we start with a concept or theme that becomes our “north star” to guide everything that follows. The theme for this collection is based on where we grew up and a shared passion for our coastal lifestyle. We are both east coasters born and bred, both raised on boats of different varieties, so it is sort of a common bond between us.
Matt and his dad used to race their little 25 foot Celebrity sailboat on the Chesapeake when he was young and he and his brother would also take out our Boston Whaler along the intercoastal to skurf when the waves were flat, fish, and sneak into bars with docks. Family vacations growing up were always sailing trips.
Ron’s family grew up with powerboats zipping around all the rivers in and around the lower Chesapeake Bay, and also out into the Atlantic, just off Virginia Beach. They’d take the boat down to North Carolina and go out of Oregon Inlet, deepsea fishing for Dolphin Fish (Mahi Mahi or Dorado for the West Coasters), Wahoo, Tuna, etc. Lots of great memories with the family watching fireworks from the boat during the summer, being pulled behind the boat on a boogie board…even cleaning the boat had this therapeutic, calming effect on Ron.
This concept represents our love for the open water lifestyle and our clean and clever design aesthetic. The boats are over-the-top representations of different made-up boats, reduced to their simplest form using basic shapes. From sailboats big and small, to house boats, motor boats, the surf safari skiffs, these are the boats of our dreams.
We loved this project because it was all about who we are. We are two different designers, but we work the same way. Not a lot of designers share files like we do and truly create something together. We blend our styles to create one thing.
As a multidisciplinary creative studio, you work on a wide range of endeavors in different mediums. Can you tell us about some of your recent projects?
We really have developed quite an eclectic body of work so far. We call ourselves a “creative studio” because it is almost the loosest term we could describe ourselves without pigeon-holing ourselves into just a graphic design studio, or a motion or web shop or an ad agency. We have experience at all those types of companies, but we like to do a lot of different things and find it difficult to focus on one specific kind of work. However, design is always the foundation of everything we do.
Recently we have done branding, printed menus, collateral, and even interior design for a couple restaurants here in LA. We have also designed our own product, which we partnered with a game developer on, it’s called Daytrader and it’s a financial board game about the stock market. It’s sort of a Monopoly for modern times. We also continue to build our surf culture brand, Indoek, which serves as a nice media outlet and curated shop for us to showcase our work. Now we are working on a few different motion design projects that are really fun. We love seeing our designs and illustrations come to life through motion.
Who knows, in a couple years, we could just be a motion graphics shop or even an interior design studio! Right now we enjoy sort of bouncing around though. We are really interested in anything design related, and that encompasses a lot. We try to keep a clientele with similar interests as ourselves so that we are always doing work we enjoy and believe in.
Can you talk a bit about the posters you are creating exclusively for Alternative and the design process for those in relation to the tees?
The posters are a limited edition run of 50 of both designs. They are silk screened artist prints signed by both of us. We love those old sea vessel charts and boat drawings, so this seemed like a nice way to play off that theme and give it our own “mid century nautical” twist.
View the full collection designed by ITAL/C here.
Written by: Rachel Maniago & Kate Koeller
Photos by: Brandon Harman, Matt Titone, and Ron Thompson