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Exclusive Interview: Nike Football’s ‘...

Exclusive Interview: Nike Football’s ‘Risk Everything’ by Portsmouth Studio ilovedust

In the last few weeks, Nike launched ‘Risk Everything’ their new football marketing campaign that features the England football team as well as other players from all around the world including Cristiano Ronaldo & Neymar Jr. Risk Everything also includes the new England kit for the 2014 World Cup with striking imagery of the players and the three lions. The artwork & branding of this vast, international marketing campaign by one of the largest brands in the World was created by Portsmouth’s very own award winning ilovedust design studio, located in the heart of the city. Established in 2003 the company and design team have grown dramatically, working with international brands as well as on local projects. Strong Island caught up with ilovedust’s Matt Howarth, senior designer, and found out more about ILD’s involvement with Nike’s Risk Everything:

ilovedust has been working with Nike for some time, can you give us a quick history of how you hooked up with them initially? Some of the past projects with them that you guys have been particularly stoked on?
We’ve been working for Nike for the last 7 years, it all started off with an illustration for a Jordan x Levis 501 project back when we were a small 4 man studio, I guess we did a pretty good job and the word spread internally at Nike world headquarters that ilovedust knew their shit! Since then we’ve grown our relationship year on year and been lucky enough to meet some inspiring people and work on some great projects along the way.

Can you give us some background on when and how you guys got involved in the England World Cup promotional branding and Risk Everything?
The initial brief for the “Risk Everything” campaign came from advertising agent Wieden & Kennady (W+K) in Portland, Oregon, over the years we have a made a few friends there and they emailed us way back in September saying they’ve got the perfect project for us! The project became so big that we ended up working directly with the Nike Football department directly.

As well as having your main studio in Portsmouth you have a studio in Portland, working with a brand the size of Nike and a project of this scale have there been practical issues with working with a brand on the other side of the World? Advantages?
We’ve visited Nike HQ 3 times during this project and our small studio in Portland has allowed us to work on the project in real time with the clients. We’re used to being 8 hours ahead of them every day, and working until midnight is not uncommon, so being able to work and get feedback instantaneously was a real advantage.

Nike Football's 'Risk Everything' by Portsmouth Studio ilovedust (1)

From what has been released already I’ve seen the mural on the Southbank of Jack Wilshire & Wayne Rooney the backdrop for the England team for their World Cup kit, retail displays and more, it is clearly a huge project, can you break down what is involved in a project of this scale?
Oh god… where to start!! Initially W+K briefed us to create illustrations for their 5 top footballers to be used in a print campaign (these will be released in a couple of weeks), then Nike Football tasked us with creating illustrations for 7 different countries which Nike will be sponsoring at the World Cup, these would be used online and across retail destinations in each of the 7 countries. Since all of these have been completed we’ve been contacted by W+K London, Amsterdam, Rio and Tokyo for additional illustrations, this is where the Wayne Rooney/Jack Wilshere piece comes into play, curated by W+K London and currently on display on the Southbank.

Nike Football's 'Risk Everything' by Portsmouth Studio ilovedust (5)

With Risk Everything you guys have stamped your distinct signature style all over it, what level of creative control do Dust and the team have in the collaboration with Nike?
When the brief came in it referenced a lot of our work, the client had a distinct idea of what they wanted, we took it, run with it, and made it better. Luckily we have good, open relationships with our clients, and we know a thing or two about football, so they trusted us.

The ilovedust lion is the striking backdrop for the England team in the new Nike kit in the run-up to the World Cup, what design constraints did you experience (if any) with working with essentially a national sporting icon? Were the FA involved in sign-off?
This project was a fun one to work on with hardly any design restraints, and as far as we know The FA were not involved in sign-off, but as with all Nike work it had to go through legal checks, we were pretty safe with the 3 lions.

The lion and associated artwork are already gracing huge sports retailers’ windows plus on TV adverts, how does if feel seeing your work on this level in the UK?
It’s always nice to see months of hard work pay off when it’s released to the world – a bit surreal to see it in shop windows in your hometown!

Am I assuming there is still much more to come in the run-up to June and the World Cup? Will you guys be getting out to Rio?
Yes, lots more to come. The “Risk Everything” campaign will run beyond the World Cup and into next season so we have started to work on a different style of illustration for Europe’s top clubs; Barca, Man Utd, PSG, Juventus etc etc

Nike Football's 'Risk Everything' by Portsmouth Studio ilovedust (2)
Nike Football's 'Risk Everything' by Portsmouth Studio ilovedust (4)

ILD is home to some die hard Portsmouth FC fans, ever think about what you could do in regards to the club in respect to design? Maybe a new kit for 2014/2015 season?
Ha, the current kit’s not too bad but I’m sure we could improve it if given the chance!

Without letting too many cats out of the bag, what other projects are you guys working on for 2014?
Some very cool projects in the pipeline, one for Pepsi which is also World Cup related, we’re continuing to work with Microsoft for the launch of Xbox One’s Sunset Overdrive computer game in 2015, hmmm what else… lots more Nike that’s for sure, a few bits for Red Bull and a couple of top secret projects which you’ll have to wait for… sorry!

The Risk Everything artwork continues to roll out through the press and on TV, below are some images of the artwork already in the wild, be sure to keep up with the ILD website, blog, Twitter, Instagram & Behance to see more.

Nike Football's 'Risk Everything' by Portsmouth Studio ilovedust (3)
Nike Football's 'Risk Everything' by Portsmouth Studio ilovedust

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