The Bad Collective is a group of five creatives that got tired of the male-dominated design businesses and decided to strike out on their own. Their work mostly revolves around the food, beverage, and cannabis industries. Their website was recently featured in Readymag’s Explore, so we decided to discuss its anatomy with a member of the collective: Creative Director Becki Kozel.
Fighting discrimination & boring designs
Aside of me, the Bad Collective includes Anna Gordon, a marketing and social media professional; Briana Balducci, a photographer and photoeditor; Daniel Tornatore, a photographer and project manager; and Liz Anderson, a designer and event coordinator. We’ve been friends and colleagues for several years.
I became super bored with the stagnant world of in-house work and wanted to create a space where I could really get weird and make work that was forward thinking and playful. I knew we were all feeling that itch and dreaming of starting something of our own, so I called our first meeting. We had great chemistry off the bat and decided to make it official after our first big project last year.
We have 80% female ownership. Creating a company that can give an equal platform to women is a big thing for us. In the design industry, it’s pretty rare. In my experience, many agencies have this “boys club” mentality left over from that Mad Men headspace. Many of the big design and advertising houses operate on an antiquated system that’s based on tight-knit group of men. There really is a sort of a glass ceiling that’s hard to break through into leadership roles.
The way we operate is different, our collective is super democratic. Everybody has an equal share, everybody has equal voting power, and can bring ideas and accounts to the table. Everything is voted on: we only make decisions if they’re unanimous. We maintain traditional titles externally because it’s helpful to clients who are used to a traditional structure, but internally we do not maintain these roles. It’s the five of us and that’s it.
100 miles an hour in Technicolor
Since the beginning, our motto has been “Fearless Creative”. In our practice, an extremely high-quality standard is the foundation of our work. High touch is our guarantee — we obsess over the details — but we spend the rest of our energy pushing our work over the fun/weird ledge. We wanted our website to convey the way we work and show how far we’re willing to go creatively, which is 100 miles an hour, in Technicolor. We wanted nothing about the website to be expected. Our goal was for it to feel cool and experimental, but accessible. We wanted the viewer to be surprised at every turn.
Then I stumbled upon Readymag and started playing with its animation capabilities, to figure out different ways I can imply motion. We ended up building the site around an idea of hidden stuff lying around. Besides the little icons throughout, we packed in as many unexpected animations as we could: the viewer has to interact with them, and this way we heighten engagement and bring a sense of playfulness. I actually used the opening credits of “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” as a jumping off point — aggressively tacky and flashy as an aesthetic.
No grid & maximalist fonts
Since we are new, our portfolio isn’t huge, so we needed the site itself to be impressive and say a lot about us. We still wanted it to feel like a portfolio, so made our website read like a flip book by using transitions. The pages look like they’re laying on top of each other. Within those pages, we weren’t strict about keeping the grid. To balance the chaos, we kept a font and layout system consistent within each section and stuck to a semi-limited color palette throughout.
For the rest of the site, like the intro and the contact pages, we started off with the grid and then halfway through thought “No”. At this point, I’ve been doing this for so long that I find I have an instinctive idea of how to make things look visually harmonious, so I mostly tend to work outside of a strict grid.
In terms of fonts, we really wanted to be maximalists — go intensely, aggressively, and put everything in your face. For the display fonts at the intro page and the menu, we used lots of unusual display fonts like Mannicotti, which is very spaghetti Western-y, Hanaway which is has letterforms made of bamboo and reads very Tiki, and Avenir, which looks like it belongs on the back of a motorcycle jacket, really going all over the map. Our selection was inspired by the bold use of unusual typefaces in 90’s rave flyers. The system for internal fonts was a little bit stricter. We pretty much used three: Nova Cut for body texts Colt for subtitles and then Geo for all pop-ups or captions.