Kate Moross: How to make mess look good

London-based art director Kate Moross and her studio create explosive work, often for music artists or events with a certain chaotic (messy) energy.

Part of the event

Kate Moross is a bit of a punk art director. And not just because of her coloured hair. She’s known for her free and fast approach and for creating technicoloured, energetic work that has a certain sense of chaos. 

When Moross graduated from Camberwell University of the Arts she freelanced for a while and even started her own record label to ensure that most of the work she was getting had a musical focus. She founded her own studio, Studio Moross, in 2012.

“By yourself you can only do so much. With a team you have multiple skill sets and people’s perception of you is that you can take on the bigger jobs,” explains Moross. “And I just like working with other people, I don’t really like working with myself.”

This year Studio Moross has created identities for Wildlife and Parklike Festival in the UK and has worked with artists including One Direction, Sam Smith, Jessie Ware, Disclosure, Tala, Aqualung, MTV, Raybans, Hearts Revolution and Rizzle Kicks. The work that comes out of the studio often uses pattern, freeform lettering, and illustrative images. 

“We all share the same attitude, rather than style. Like not being afraid – we’re not precious or detail orientated. We’re free thinking and expressive in the way we work. We don’t have a focus,” says Moross. 

Certain lessons, rules and values that are taught at design schools are disregarded by Moross and her team. Don’t use your first idea (“that’s bullshit”), focus on one thing, develop a specialty. 

“A lot of things I was told I shouldn’t do I’ve ended up doing. I was told you shouldn’t work quickly, that you shouldn’t rush, you should focus on one thing… not doing those things is a key element to my studio.”

Everything created in Studio Moross comes from a place of instinct. Partly because they work to such tight deadlines.

“We need something tomorrow – or ‘we needed it yesterday’ – that’s the way with the music industry.”

Kate Moross will be speaking at Design Indaba Conference in March 2017. Book now.