An insightful conversation with our Designer, Teunis Marseille

“I would have probably been a musician or a producer if I weren’t a designer. As I can be creative,I feel completely myself.

Two years ago, when I was still studying at the HvA (Communication and Multimedia Design), I started my internship at GRRR. GRRR always appealed to me, especially the lively work atmosphere and the meaningful clients. That’s also the reason why I still work here as a designer two years later. My main focus is on branding, and I create a lot of animations.”

What tools do you use to visualize your ideas?

For the Hogeschool van Amsterdam: City Net Zero, Ammodo, and Solar Monkey, we used the program Cavalry. It’s a relatively new motion tool that I really enjoy using. It combines the possibilities of creative coding with the accessibility of a traditional animation program. Cavalry is rapidly developing, with frequent updates and improvements. Additionally, there is a Discord channel where you can directly contact the creators and other users to seek help or provide input. The community on this platform is very helpful and really friendly.

Is this the new tool?

I think Cavalry will increasingly gain ground on Adobe After Effects, which is the current standard for motion design. There is a slight learning curve with Cavalry, but once you surpass that, it becomes very user-friendly and efficient. Unlike After Effects, where every element needs to be controlled manually, Cavalry allows you to build automated systems without writing code, which takes care of half the animation work.

Another advantage of the efficiency is that you can sketch with motion, which offers a ‘motion-first’ approach. For example, we can quickly integrate rough animations into a new branding concept.

Where do you find inspiration?

I often find inspiration from the talks ‘Nicer Tuesdays‘ by ‘It’s Nice That’. I enjoy the variety of topics and discovering new designers, agencies, beautiful work, and compelling stories.

For motion inspiration, I spend a lot of time on Instagram, following many other designers and agencies. Such as motion designer Mario De Meyer. I think his work is very impressive; he also works a lot with Cavalry.

What is your dream project?

I don’t really have a specific dream project. What I particularly enjoy is the combination of the type of client, the design, and the possibilities within a project. The most important thing for me is having the freedom to try out different things and create a lot. That was the case, for example, with the Melkweg project, a project which I found really cool. I created many animations and videos for it, including our case study, the launch video for their new website, and another video they used for their own staff. It was a large project, with a beautiful visual identity to work with.

What really excites you?

Many things, perhaps that’s also a bit of a problem. I can focus on various things that I find interesting. For example, I work with different programs because I enjoy diving into them and exploring their possibilities. What excites me is that discovering a new technique can lead to unique results. Blender, for instance, is a program that I’m very excited about. It gives me the feeling that you can do anything with it, although it can be more complex, it becomes even more enjoyable once you grasp the tricks.

If I hadn’t been a designer, I would have definitely been a creator of some sort. Preferably a musician or producer. As long as I can be creative.

How do you deal with a 'creative block'?

I don’t really believe in a ‘creative block.’ There’s a metaphor of a rusty faucet that needs a little loosening before the water starts flowing. However, once that faucet is open, you have to keep it that way. To make it more clearly, when I want to be creative, I don’t necessarily need a huge burst of inspiration or be super inspired. The most important thing is to simply start and take the first step. Often, creative energy naturally kicks in.

If I encounter challenges during a creative process, I can always go to my colleagues. We are a close and small team, which makes working together very nice. Once in a while, we collaborate on creative assignments where we all receive the same task. We then work independently and come together later to discuss and provide feedback on each other’s work. These assignments are great for gaining inspiration.

Are there any developments in our industry that you have positive or negative thoughts about?

AI is inevitable. Soon you might be able to generate good animations with AI, or ChatGPT might become even more helpful in writing code that can be used in other tools like Processing or Blender. I enjoy staying informed, but I’m still skeptical about the widely discussed implications of AI for the design world.

Once, I was creating animations with Stable Diffusion, another AI program. And then I thought, “They say this will take away my job, but who is currently controlling this program? It’s me!” For me, it’s more of a tool. There might be some shifts, but I don’t perceive it as a threat.