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Business Tools

Clusta: Pushing Forward

Motion graphics and animation studio Clusta, based in Birmingham, England, discusses when to rise to the moment and when to put your foot down.

In the past nine years, Clusta has been lauded for their impossibly chic and visually tantalizing web presence.  Always evolving, the English creative firm spends just as much thought on their own branding as they do on clients like Perrier Jouet, Coca Cola, MG and Publicis & Hal Rinney. We sat down with Clusta’s Creative Director, Matthew Clugston, to find out what their site won’t tell us: exactly how they get all this stuff done.

Clusta has built their stellar reputation through the time-tested strategy of hard work and persistence, even in the face of challenging circumstances.  Clugston explains, “Sometimes you’re in a position where you really want to impress but you’re given extremely difficult circumstances to work under.  These are the most challenging moments, but we’ve managed to rise to these when they’ve presented themselves.  We do so mainly by putting in some serious overtime, the whole team will work late into the night if it’s required by a project.  This is quite often why we get repeat work, because the client knows we’ll do a good job within tight timeframes.”

This uncompromising work ethic has afforded Clusta more of what every creative professional seeks: creative freedom. Says Clugston, “Over the years we’ve started pushing back more.  We’re not precious, but if we feel a client is going to ruin a concept we’ll put our foot down.  It was something we didn’t do as much [when we first started], but as our reputation has grown clients seem to trust us more now.”

We’re not precious, but if we feel a client is going to ruin a concept we’ll put our foot down.

Clusta has also found success by carving their own path, and not trying to establish themselves in the same space as everyone else.  This strategy even applies to geography – although they’ve felt much pressure through the years to move to London, the core of their operation remains in Birmingham (a smaller U.K. city).  As Clugston explains, “The base has always been in Birmingham. I think in some ways it’s given us a slight edge, agencies are quite aware that there is an awful lot of competition in London, and whilst some of the best work is done down there, it’s also very easy to hire a terrible team and waste a lot of money.”

Clusta’s main motivation is to continue developing rich interactive content that constantly redefines their clients’ expectations, as well as their own boundless creative vision.  “We’ve traditionally always done 3D, motion graphics and flash; nowadays everyone wants this sort of combination, so were just keen to really carry on pushing this both aesthetically and interactively. We recently developed a website that uses a web cam to navigate through it but combined this interactivity with some great video footage. We’ve also been experimenting with hardware and software interaction, we did a piece last year that used a wii remote and flash to control a video piece.” And for this, they have our full blessing.

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