Speaking, later, to one of the studio's clients, David Shipley, Senior Executive Editor of Bloomberg View, I discover a continuation of the many-layered theme in Other Means’s practice. Shipley brought the group with him to art direct and illustrate the daily opinion section of the news when he moved from the New York Times to Bloomberg and has a clear handle on the use of subtext in editorial art direction and illustration. How does illustration and design interact with text? I ask Shipley. “For the kind of work that we are doing,” he says, “the illustration is meant to be a ‘third way’ or a ‘second way’ into the piece. [Illustration is] like a headline, or it serves the function of a headline in that it will say 'here's what this is about and here's a way to think about it'. It’s a delicate process because you never want to have art, in the same way you'd never want to have a headline, under-cut what the writer is trying to say. Other Means want to find the most effective way possible to get the article out to the world, to make someone see the illustration and think 'I absolutely have to read this piece’... that's an incredibly laudable trait and one of the reasons I adore working with them”.
The studio art directs the opinion section of Bloomberg View, published several times a day, in a constantly evolving digital environment. Shipley is attuned to the situation, “Here's one of the big challenges that they and I face, coming from opinion editorial, which was really one of the last venues for black and white illustration, and especially human-hand illustration — It doesn't work quite so well on the web, especially in terms of generating traffic — people like to go to pictures, or photographs. Was there a way to sort of fuse the two?” Continues Shipley. “Was there a way to produce a more photographic design element, or something that was more designed than illustrated? I think Other Means has been incredibly ingenious in coming up with visual solutions that work for us, that feel vaguely illustrated but are also photographic enough that they will be more viral on the web. Those are the kinds of problems that Other Means is remarkably adept at helping to solve in a constructive way”.