Posted at 18 Nov 2015
Louie Zeegen and Jon Bland
Copywriter Louie Zeegen and digital designer Jon Bland talk about making people laugh, making people upset, and making a book about penises.
Who are you guys and how did you start working together?
JB: I am a designer.
LZ: I am a copywriter.
JB: We are not a studio, a duo or even friends. Kidding. It started by Louie helping me with bits of copy for my personal projects a few years ago, and after lending each other skills for a while, we thought it would be fun to work on a few collaborative efforts.
LZ: Basically it was pretty astounding that I didn't have a website—hence louiezeegen.com, and Pecker was just the result of a conversation over a few beers. We wanted to make stuff that made people laugh, or upset them.
Starting with louiezeegen.com, we have to ask—why the preacher theme?
JB: When I moved to London at the beginning of the year, Louie asked me to create a brand for him. He tasked me with creating something that captured his humour, his taste for things that are slightly odd and his passion for working with people and brands (big and small) to make them better.
One weekend, with this brief in the back of my mind, I was working with Louie at his South London home on another project. Delving through his eclectic book and record collection, I came across this strange, old tambourine that had been covered in faded religious stickers. Each sticker had a religious message accompanied by a quirky, badly drawn illustration. It caught my attention and I quizzed Louie about its origin—I knew he wasn’t religious so was very curious as to why he had it.
LZ: I come from a long line of junk collectors. If we found something that was crap, reasonably priced and fun to look at, we'd buy it. My dad and I would sometimes go to this car boot sale near Brighton station. We saw this tambourine; it was one of the weirdest, funniest things I'd seen. So we bought it. We had this 'circle wall' in the hall at home—anything circular and cool got nailed to the wall. The tambourine lasted about a week before my mum wanted it taken down.
JB: After hearing the story I immediately told Louie: ‘that's your brand!’
I come from a long line of junk collectors. If we found something that was crap, reasonably priced and fun to look at, we'd buy it
On pecker.world, the totemic book that rotates formidably in the centre of the page also has a worship-like feel. Is this intentional?
JB: We wanted something that showed off the book in a really simple way—not just multiple images either. We essentially had one that the user could control. Or just watch spin gloriously...
LZ: We were excited about how the book would look from the get-go, and there were lots of people asking us what's it gonna look like, how thick etc... so it made sense to just have the book, right in the middle, spinning.
Did you collaborate with a developer to realise these projects?
JB: Mike Ash has built every website I’ve ever done. We used to work together at Music, he’s a Developer there, but I managed to corner him into helping me out with all my personal projects. When I say help, that's a bit of an understatement. Louie’s site being the only exception actually; Myles Palmer helped us out with that project.
LZ: That stuff goes well over my head—I'm super envious of them both, and I can't say thanks enough!
Who are the artists, designers or filmmakers that inspire your work currently?
B: Lernert & Sander's new 3-1 music video is hands down the best thing I've seen in years. It's not saving the world or even groundbreaking but it's just a very simple idea, executed beautifully. I wonder if the original plan was to make one video for the entire album... I reckon Kanye will do that next year.
LZ: I'm a writer so as much as art and design inspires me I'm quite biased towards words. The last great thing I read was 'A Confederacy of Dunces' by John Kennedy Toole. It's funny and sad and absurd. In terms of art, I saw a Broken Fingaz show last year and I haven't stopped thinking about it since. It was pretty dumb but lots of fun.