Mirko Borsche’s website design for DJ and musician Laurel Halo is pretty much what you’ve come to expect from the Munich-based designer, meaning it’s stripped-back and bold (and awesome), with a cartoonish red cursor, simple black text, and blank white background are crude in a way that can only be achieved if you know exactly what you’re doing—as Borsche certainly does. Hover your mouse over the text and you’ll get an unexpected surprise; as if reacting to the music streaming from the site’s player, each letter springs up and does a jaunty little dance. The studio behind this interactive component isn’t Borsche’s, but the young Moby Digg, founded in 2012 (also in Munich) by Korbinian Lenzer and Maximilian Heitsch.
In reaction to the site’s pure, minimalistic aesthetic, Moby Digg designed responsive typography that appears larger or smaller depending on the size of the screen, “which helps to keep a clean layout,” says Heitsch. But conveying a sense of movement, energy, and playfulness isn’t just something that Moby Digg created specifically for this project—it’s an important part of the studio’s approach to graphic design in general.
For an exhibition called On The Go for the Asia-Europe Foundation, which will travel to 50 countries around the world, Moby Digg set out to convey a sense of movement by creating an identity that could shift and rearrange itself (above). A series of tumbling, tube-like shapes are reorganized so that no poster or single webpage are ever the same. Derived from the “O” in On The Go, the tubes are composed so that they somehow always relate to a character in the Kanji alphabet.
“A sense of movement is always what we seek in an identity,” says Heitsch. “We look for a way of escaping the static use of one image or visual. We want design to be dynamic, alive.”
Moby Digg’s identity for an investment management company called Mayr is equally active (above). The design reshuffles a web of rectangular shapes so that the signage, corporate letterhead, and business cards are all different yet still belong to the same design “family.” For the company’s site, Moby Digg created an animation where you can see all the separate shapes morph into one another. “We like to create identities that can transform, but will never lose their original character,” says Heitsch. Similarly, the studio’s posters for the Panama Plus Festival (below) are based around one shape that can transform for various platforms; for the identity, circles were filled with different gradients that were randomly altered through of the use of a coded glitch generator.
And why should identities keep still, especially in a digital world where everything else moves fast, including our attention spans? This restless need for movement, for new energies, and a sense of change, is what’s defined Moby Digg’s approach since they first began. When Lenzer and Heitsch founded their practice together as self-taught designers with backgrounds in coding, they spontaneously decided to move to Buenos Aires for their first few years as a studio. “We just wanted to throw ourselves somewhere we’d never been, where we wouldn’t know anyone, and where we couldn’t speak the language so everything was new,” says Lenzer. Though the two designers are now back home in Munich, their studio, like their interactive typography and animation work, will likely never stand still.