Artist Spotlight: Ellie Bailey on the success of ManvsMachine

by The Adobe Stock Team

Posted on 09-18-2017

To bring you insights from the UK’s most talented designers, we headed down to Nicer Tuesdays, a monthly speaker series curated by It’s Nice That and sponsored by Adobe Stock, which features inspiring talks from some of the biggest names in the industry.

We caught up with ManvsMachine’s Executive Producer, Ellie Bailey, to chat about some of the agency’s best work and what it takes to work for a multi-award winning design and motion studio…

Adobe: Hi Ellie! Tell us a bit about you and what you do?

Ellie: I work across both offices in London and Los Angeles to determine whether we accept new briefs when people contact us to work with them. Is it the right creative opportunity? Is it what we want to do? Will it take us in a new direction? There have to be a few boxes ticked in order for something to be intriguing to us, so it’s my job to suss those things out and make sure we have the right flow of business through the company.

Q: How did you get started in the creative industries?

E: I was doing web development work and switched to producing, but always maintained a big interest in technology. My passion for tech meant I did everything from working on online campaigns as a digital producer in advertising agencies to being employed in the start-up industry where I was product managing computer vision technology and AR/VR/MR platform development, so real-time 3D. I met the team at ManvsMachine at a perfect time to transition into a new phase and it’s been excellent ever since – I’ve been with them for five years now.

Q: Amazing. So, you’ve obviously got an incredible client list, working with the likes of Channel 4, Nike and Lexus. Would you say you’ve got a secret to your success?

E: First and foremost, we believe in getting the best people into a room and creating a good environment where we have the space to explore, create and have fun. It’s all about a spirit of community – we are all pulling in the same direction and having a good time while doing it and really focusing on the work; not making our lives more stressful than they need to be.

Q: Have you got a favourite project that you’ve worked on over the years?

E: I would say Nike Flyknit is probably my favourite project that I have worked on; It was an opportunity to brand a material that has existed for a long time, highlighting the benefits of the material rather than just the product. When we were coming up with the branding, we had to include the logo, the typeface and a launch film, but there was also a requirement for a bunch of cross category implementation and brand-level forward-thinking that we had to build into the final deliverables. Alongside the procedural Houdini madness that we produced for that piece. It’s one of those projects that keeps coming back to us in the form of new briefs from new clients so you can tell it got a lot of traction. In terms of end-to-end branding and developing a really gorgeous film, that’s probably one of my favourites.

Q: Have you got a design ethos that you stick to when coming up with new ideas?

E: For us, the idea is that we don’t silence anyone’s talents. Even if someone is excellent at lighting and texturing, they will still work on concept development and are still responsible for their scene at the end of the day. This means everybody works together over the course of a project, allowing us to pool together all of our talents. This also permits our R&D explorations to be quite vast, meaning we can push boundaries. It’s not really a design ethos, it’s more of a process that lets us find new design perspectives from everyone in the team easily.

Q: Who inspires you?

E: For me, it’s the team that I work with every day. It’s hard to overstate the quality of the talent that we bring together. We go to great lengths to find amazing people. Our team in the studio, the amount they produce and the eye-watering beauty of it – I am often working across three time zones, but I gain energy from protecting that creative environment and making sure that these incredible craftspeople get the opportunity to do great work.

Q: What is the best piece of advice you’ve received over the years?

E: Someone told me once that there’s a pitfall when you’re working in the creative industries that some people will as always see you as the person you were when you walked in on the first day. There’s a challenge to make sure that everyone (including yourself!) is able to see your development. Good managers will automatically notice it, but sometimes you have to fight for recognition of the new skills you’ve developed since you started working for a company.

Q: And finally, is there anything exciting in the pipeline coming up for ManvsMachine?

E: We’ve just celebrated our 10-year anniversary. Just over a year ago, we opened our LA office, so we’re in a period of growth and expansion. I don’t think there’s anything in the pipeline that I’m allowed to talk about, but watch this space!

A big thank you to Ellie for sharing her insights with us. Keep up to date with ManvsMachine’s latest work on Instagram and on their website.

Topics: Creativity, creative industries, Ellie Bailey, Interview, ManvsMachine, Nicer Tuesdays, UK, UK Exclusive, Creative EMEA

Products: Stock