What was your decision to create Hellohikimori? What was your initial idea? Have you ever worked together before?
Hellohikimori’s concept came from both Nathalie Melato and myself. We were kinda stuck in a big advertising company and couldn’t find a way to be really happy. So we decided to try to build ‘something’ that focused on our own creativity. We wanted to create a collective of passionate friends, focussing on our individual creative assets, our passion for video, 3D, print, digital… The idea was to create without boundaries.
Since 2004 our digital design studio crosses expertise in graphic design, digital and motion graphics. The whole team approaches each project as a playground for collective creativity.
Nathalie and I have been working together since 2002 – it’s a longstanding relationship.
How would you describe Hellohikimori today? Whatʼs your creative process when approaching a project?
Coffee and chat with the team, check emails, share feedback, talk about today’s emergencies … and play a bit of PS3.
We’re working together all the time – no one is stuck at his desk in his function. Anyone can give ideas. We discuss and argue a lot until we find the right concept. Generally, we create the concept – the look and main ideas – all at the same time.
Then we fix the team for the project and how we’re gonna work on it. Then let’s rock!
What do you imagine for Hellohikimori in the future?
After 7 years we feel pretty lucky to do what we love to do; we’re actually very proud of it. We loved participating at the OFFF Festival and the Reel movie we created for this is certainly something we’d like to do more of.
We are working more and more in motion graphics. This coming year we’ll hopefully be more footage-oriented. I’d also like to work for more car brands, as well as motorbikes, fashion and alcohol brands. But also human causes – that would be great.
What has been your biggest challenge until now?
To still be an independent studio in Paris :)
If you look at how the French market works, and how much studios like us pay in taxes, it’s really difficult to stay independent. In the end, we’re a bunch of creatives – all the commercial and business aspects of the job are quite a challenge!
What can you say about the main four projects developed in the last year (Diesel, True Blood III, Justified and Glee)? Which one do you think is the best and why?
Well, we had tight deadlines for all of them and we definitely needed more time! We’d be so happy if we had three months to focus on one project.
All four of them were awesome projects, for different reasons.
Our work with Diesel is a global collaboration – we worked on different websites, including the ‘Only the Brave’ fragrance and the limited edition ‘Iron Man’ bottle design. We were also asked to develop the video concept for the launch event in Berlin.
True Blood III is about an interactive experience featuring a game-play with the show’s main characters. Our team had
a lot of fun creating the 3D landscape we realised for the website; it’s totally incredible
For Justified, HKI had to introduce the show to the audiences of Orange Cinéma Séries, but again, we wanted to do more and go beyond the brief. So we created a shooting game in search of three Wanted guys – it’s funny, loud, violent, and addictive.
For Glee, we invented the first flash-based vocal-recognition singing game. The Glee website proved a global success because of its interactive entertainment elements.
But, I have to say, if I had to pick one, it would be between Diesel and True Blood III, even if Glee’s initial project brief was the most interesting.
Do you find all projects interesting, or do you have to find a way to make some projects interesting?
That’s the beauty of it, to make a project exciting, to be passionate about what you are creating.
Our work with Diesel on the fragrance was so different to other projects we’ve worked on. True Blood III was really fun to work on, with the game play and the Facebook Connect tool. For Glee, the project brief was hugely ambitious, so it wasn’t possible to realise everything in the end. But we’re always proud of what we do and deliver.
What are you working on at the moment?
I can’t say much right now because it’s still ongoing and confidential, but I’ll just say this: FLESH&BLOOD and CREAM&ARCHITECTURE. You’ll see soon, all will be revealed. I’m sure you’ll love it.
Besides these Hellohikimori projects, are you working on anything else?
We are now working on a short movie. It’s been quite hard to produce, between the scenario, time constraints and shooting schedules, but I’m sure we’ll get there.
We are also working on some gaming projects, and on a clothing brand. For this we’re collaborating with a French luxury brand, reinventing and redesigning their style, to create a HKI collection. It’s very exciting!
Do you believe that technology can be a good ally?
Are you kidding? Of course it is, more than ever.
Is education and study in digital design a decisive factor when hiring people?
Yes, sort of, just in terms of experience, but that’s not the main factor at all. All we need and want is hardcore passionate people who really want to get involved and who believe in Hellohikimori.
I’m very happy to be on the same page as Tronic Studio, who I really appreciate and love.
— Additional thanks to Veronique Cellier for helping us with this interview.