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Oi!, the young UK-based illustration agency founded by Oli Roberts and his wife Abbie, has linked up with NABS, the charity that supports the advertising and media industry, in LivingPrint, a campaign to improve wellness among marketing and advertising workers post-Covid.
What is Oi!, when was it founded and who is Oskar?
Oi! was founded at the end of 2019. Oskar is our eldest child, now five. He really inspired us to have a go at breaking out of the mould and to launch our dream company.
What kind of illustration does Oi! specialise in and for what outlets?
A mixture - digital illustration, animation, 3D design, typography, photorealistic drawing, print design...
We've worked with a range of clients for various outlets - Apple, BBC, IKEA, Uniqlo. The relationship we have with our clients is really important - if we get on with them then we're happy.
How many illustrators can you call on and where are they?
Nine at the moment, and all over the world. We've got Haley in Germany, Bertrand and Lucie in France, Lauren in the US and Kat, Anton, Paris, Rob and Greta based in the UK.
Do you work with NABS in other ways and have you been helped by it in the past?
We've never worked with NABS, but have always admired what they do for the media and advertising industry. The advertising world is fast-paced and can be a stressful environment for some people, so it's crucial that an organisation like this exists to support them - particularly during the last year.
What is the project you are collaborating on, and what inspired it?
LivingPrint is an interactive art initiative aiming to promote wellbeing and improve mental health through bringing the outdoors in.
Kat (pictured is Katherine Hardy’s Travelling Daydream), Bertrand, Haley, Anton and Paris created original illustrations portraying uplifting scenes which have been brought to life using augmented reality. We worked with Visualise, an immersive production studio, to provide an interactive experience triggered by the artwork itself, allowing people to watch the illustrations come to life in their homes. Each A3 print has a QR code. When you scan it with your phone camera, Instagram is launched and takes you to the correct 'filter'. To do this they used Spark AR Studio, the Facebook and Instagram platform for creating and sharing effects.
The prints are £25 each, and they're for sale on our website, with every penny going to NABS, to support its efforts in creating a better and healthier work environment.
The idea came about during lockdown. We wanted to bring something engaging and hopeful into people's homes, with an immersive twist. During the last year of lockdowns, its proven that people have found spending time in green spaces to have a positive impact on mental health, so we wanted to bring nature into people's homes. Art also plays a crucial role in improving mental health, so we wanted to integrate the two, and allow others to engage in nature and art from their own homes.
How will it work, and when will it start?
It's up and running. The prints are live on our website. We also have a blog post on there so you can check that out for more info, and have a go at scanning the prints to watch them come to life on your phone. https://www.oskarillustration.com/blog/living-print
How badly has the advertising and media sector been affected by the pandemic and in what ways?
The pandemic has definitely caused challenges for the advertising and media sectors, who have had to adapt accordingly. Now that things are opening up again, it's picking up. The work NABS is doing is so crucial, especially after such a tough year, and they've made it much more manageable for everyone in the industry who have struggled
How has O!i fared in the lockdowns?
To be honest, it was very quiet in the first lockdown. We were worried when the next brief was going to come in. I think most companies were initially focusing internally on adapting and for some, surviving. During the 2nd and 3rd lockdowns work started to really pick up, thankfully. Now we're nice and busy.
How can the illustrations help mental distress?
Our campaign LivingPrint in particular aims to bring a hopeful message post-lockdown. Whether you're transported into Kat's beach scene or bop along to Anton's alien friend, we want to bring a smile to people's faces. With the proceeds being donated to NABS, we hope our support helps them create a healthier work environment.
Your campaign is targeted at those working in advertising and media, but could it be extended to aid wellbeing outside the sector?
Definitely. We hope everyone can enjoy the prints. It's been really special seeing people's reactions to them. The AR twist is really engaging and sparks up conversation, and puts a smile on your face. We hope the campaign encourages everyone to spend time engaging in art and with nature, while supporting NABS.