Having shared much of their work on 10and5 over the years, we’re avid fans of the Cape Town creative studio MUTI, whose projects include everything from digital painting to vector icons to custom typography. Working across such a broad range of styles and mediums has enabled them to add many sought-after clients to their portfolio including Nike, Time Magazine, Red Bull and Adobe to name a few. Known for taking a simple brief and throwing some creative magic on it, MUTI’s work is always eye-catching and memorable. Here, they take us on a trip down memory lane for Graphic Art Month, stopping at some of their personal favourite past projects along the way.
2011: Migrate Magazine
As we started the studio in 2011, we experimented with mixing up our styles a bit. We created these two illustrations for Migrate, the official magazine of The Loerie Awards. The theme was ‘curious’.
We’ve always loved patterns, and these early playful vector pieces would later influence and develop into patterned style maps, scenes and textile designs. We created this series of patterns for Johannesburg based industrial design studio RAW. These illustrations form part of their ikonik range and are applied to the surface of wood lockers. Always great to see one’s artworks printed or applied to real life objects!
2012: Locals Only
We worked on a lot of hand drawn type and illustrations in our early years. We took part in an exhibition curated by Durban-based ‘Working Class’. Artists from South Africa’s three main cities, Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town were asked to create an illustration that speaks about the place they call home. Each group was given a two colour palette to work with and the posters were silkscreened in a limited edition of 30, with 10 made available for the shows in each city. This is our submission for Cape Town.
Some of our early icon work. This style got referenced so much that it openend up a whole new direction in our portfolio. We created a series of icons for the 2012 special edition annual of Brownbook, a publication focussing on style and creativity in the Middle East. In the first set, each icon represents a designer and something they are known for. The second set is a series of landmark icons done for PayPal in Australia. The brief was to create icons for objects relating to a variety of online purchases. We needed to integrate a smiling face into each of them, keeping the look naive, fun and playful.
2013: Ster Kinekor
As the studio started growing, we were able to integrate more styles into our portfolio. We worked with FoxP2 to create a series of posters for Ster-Kinekor Theatres, South Africa’s leading cinema house. We illustrated posters for four well-known movies, namely King Kong, The Shining, Avatar, and Lord of the Rings. The concept was to illustrate locations found only in the respective movies and portray them as destinations in a classic, mid-century travel poster style.
2013: Highlife SA
We’ve always had a soft spot for hand typography and African barber shop inspired artworks. We created an illustrated cover for British Airways inflight magazine, Highlife SA. The illustration was themed on things to see in Mozambique’s capital, Maputo. In addition we created a series of drop caps which were used for the accompanying article. This piece was also the 2013 Pearl Award winner for Best cover and Best use of typography, which was quite a milestone.
This was one of the first isometric pieces we created. Challenging but lots of fun. We worked with Plan Net in Germany to create a wimmelbilder illustration as part of a global promotion for Lufthansa. It appeared on a microsite where the visitor was challenged to explore and discover details within the illustration. Several artists took part in the campaign and we were designated a South African safari scene, with an aim to portray several interesting and entertaining situations taking place in the teeming crowd.
2014: Making MUTI
In 2014 we started dabbling in animation. We put together this fun little self initiated piece featuring a few interesting characters. It’s about a witchdoctor’s quest to collect the ingredients needed to make muti, which is the Zulu word for traditional medicine.
Over the last couple of years we started getting a lot of commissions for maps. Here is a selection of editorial maps from 2015. Working in a flat, graphic style we depicted various cities and countries from around the world, commissioned by a variety of clients.
Throughout 2015 we created various illustrations for editorial spots, making use of a limited colour palette with textured brushes. These offer great exposure and it’s been fun to do more character work.
This year we have been working on a lot of GIFs, in a variety of styles. These are some of our favourites!
Find more of our Graphic Art Month content here.