Creative Lives Podcast — Motion designer Jace Harrison Crowley on working for Stella McCartney, cyber-punk and ‘snackable’ content
At school, most of us are taught not to do your research on the internet. But for motion designer Jace Harrison Crowley, it’s proved to be his most valuable resource: “It is the dictionary, or encyclopaedia. For better or worse, if you’re looking for something, you’ll be able to find it.” For the past two years, Jace has been working at luxury fashion brand Stella McCartney as part of their first ever in-house motion design team; a role that has seen him work on everything from look books and videos for the brand’s Instagram page to billboard displays for Piccadilly Circus. On the podcast this week, he talks us through pivotal projects, his work with architectural collective In Situ, and things to consider when producing work for online platforms.
Jace Harrison Crowley
Motion Designer, Stella McCartney
Designer, Dazzle Ship (2015)
Designer, In Situ (2014–present)
Somerset House, Tate, Adidas, Computer Arts
BA Graphic Design, Kingston University (2011–2014)
With a natural inquisitiveness, Jace has always been intrigued by the way things work: “I've always been interested in mechanics; picking things up and working out the processes behind them.”
His curiosity eventually led him onto the graphic design course at Kingston University in 2012. This is where Jace’s interest in process and technology saw him toying with robotics; using both his dissertation and design briefs as a way to experiment and realise interactive ideas. “I enjoyed printed media but I found it terrifying to produce; the idea that you can’t Ctrl+Z and undo it.”
“What I really found interesting,” he explains, “was design and its relationship with technology, moving image and narrative. I think I stuck out a bit on the course being the one making robots.”
Alongside his work at Stella McCartney, Jace is also part of creative collective In Situ who create site-specific installations for cultural institutions such as the Tate Modern and Somerset House. Explaining how he divides his time between work with InSitu and Stella McCartney, experimentation reappears as the common motivation behind both pursuits: “I was given the freedom (at university and during internships) to come up with an idea and test it. And if it didn’t work, I wasn’t going to get fired. It’s just a process. If it can add value to a company, people are willing to let you experiment.”
“Try and make your work personal to you; even if it’s a bad project, it’ll be a good experiment.”
Experimentation opens the door to discovery; whether that be a new process or way of realising something. Because of this, Jace has always been to a certain extent, self-taught: “All the things I know in my job I kind of taught myself.” When asked about essential skills for the job, he lists coming up with ideas, trying to find solutions; searching online for tutorials or simply thinking for yourself: “What is it that I want to do; how do I approach this; and what techniques am I going to use to do that?”
Soon coming to the end of his time at Stella McCartney, Jace is now preparing to face some altogether new career challenges as he enters the world of freelance work. He reflects on his career journey so far and offers some of his own advice for those thinking of following a similar path.