Sydney-based TMOD continue to surprise us with their playful and innovative approach to design. We spoke to founders and creative directors Georgie Swift and Milenka Olsen to learn more about what drives them. (Check out TMOD range at NoteMaker)
1. Tell us about the beginnings of TMOD – what brought you together? What was your vision?
TMOD was created from the desire to design without constraints and challenge a user’s expectation of a design or product.
We came together with a shared vision of designing products that require the human touch and interaction. We both love to create multifunctional and playful designs across a range of materials and mediums from greeting cards to the new TMOD enamel Adventure range.
2. Where can we find TMOD globally these days?
TMOD products are available internationally throughout Asia and Europe.
Japan is one of the countries with the greatest TMOD presence and we supply concept stores such as Loft, Souvenir From Tokyo and more.
We also stock some of our favourite museums and galleries throughout the world, including our local The Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney and The Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
We’ve just started supplying stockists in Singapore and we also have new stockists in the USA.
3. What inspires you? Which designers, artists and creatives do you admire?
We are inspired by travel, the great outdoors and our local Sydney creative community, which we love being a part of.
Among many other artists, a few that we are drawn to for inspiration in colour and unconventional forms are Freda Kahlo, Salvador Dali and our local friend and artist from Paperform, Benja Harvey.
4. What is your favourite era of design?
1900 ‘old world’ design is definitely a big influence for us – our cards are often described as ‘old world’ and we have a collection of old books we constantly reference.
We also love Surrealism because it challenges and engages our imagination and is against the norm of what your eye and brain expect.
5. We live in an age that’s increasingly digitally focused – how do you see digital and analog existing together into the future?
We see them as complementary. As an example, our designs would fall into the analog category, although we require digital to complete some of our design artworks.
Also, we use the digital world of social media to communicate and generate exposure for our analog products and to inspire the TMOD community.
There is a revival of analog because people are appreciating the attention to detail of things that are hand-made, and even more now that hand-made is an increasingly lost method of production. There is a demand for both to co-exist and work together.
6. What’s coming up next for TMOD?
Because we love the great outdoors, we’ve recently launched our Adventure range, and the enamel camping cups and water bottle have received a whole lotta love from stores and press alike! These cups are printed with illustrated ‘how to’ tips for outdoor adventures, including how to make a teepee and tie a knot.
Next to come in the growing Adventure range is a set of enamel plates that have printed illustrations of edible things to forage from the wild, including plates with bush foods, edible weeds and edible flowers. There’s also an enamel teapot with illustrations of plants that can be foraged and used to make tea, as well as a stainless steel hip flask and water bottle.
We also have a new range of temporary tattoo greeting cards – they were really well received at the last trade show – as well as new additions to the animal mask card collection that includes dinosaurs, a duck and a sloth!