Why Minute Works?

Choosing a name for your studio is a hard task. What starts out as a chance to articulate your organisation’s values quickly turns (rightly so) into the lengthy reconsideration of not only your personal principals, but also how many of these you can effectively carry over into your professional life and collaborative work. When words do start to take shape, often they don’t pass the compulsory Companies House check, they fall at the phone test, or the obligatory domain name search turns up a long list of results that are already registered.

Whilst looking for inspiration we took time to review the publications that informed our creative development. Several of us recalled having enjoyed The Medium is the Message, in which Fiore and McLuhan (1967, 26) wrote:

All media work us over completely. They are so pervasive in their personal, political, economic, aesthetic, psychological, moral, ethical and social consequences that they leave no part of us untouched, unaffected, unaltered … Any understanding of social and cultural change is impossible without a knowledge of the way media work as environments(01).

These words helped us to clarify what we stand for and how we relate our work to the world we live in. We’re interested in the exploration of graphic design’s potential to act as a catalyst for positive social change. Each of us are committed to identifying ways of engaging audiences with projects that champion sustainable practice, solidarity and community. Lastly we’re concerned with the responsible investment of our time. Therefore we felt that our title of choice should represent our collective ethicality and cause.

Next we found ourselves looking at the ways in which tangible connections to social and environmental change have been visualised in the past. One symbol that came to mind was The Doomsday Clock, which the ‘About Us’ section of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists website (n.d. para. 3) describes as evoking:

… the imagery of apocalypse (midnight) and the contemporary idiom of nuclear explosion (countdown to zero) … The Clock has become a universally recognised indicator of the world’s vulnerability to catastrophe from nuclear weapons, climate change, and emerging technologies in the life sciences(02).

We wanted our name to be representative of a productive, counteractive response to contemporary concerns. With the Doomsday metaphor still in mind we imagined an absurd scenario in which people work to create time, so that they might add minutes back onto the Clock.

Our ‘Minute Works’ identity therefore symbolises our idealistic aspirations and resolve.

01. Fiore, Q and McLuhan, M. (1967) The Medium is the Massage, England, Penguin Modern Classics.

02. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. (n.d). About Us. Available: http://thebulletin.org/about-us. Last accessed 07/09/14.