Dezeen Magazine


Award-winning design consultancy Airside to close in March 2012

Dezeen Wire:
 pioneering multidisciplinary design consultancy Airside has announced that it is to close in March 2012, stating: "we can't see a way for Airside to move forward and accommodate all of our individual ambitions."

The company's work in the fields of graphic identity, website design, film, animation and music garnered critical acclaim and award recognition including 2 BAFTA nominations and 11 D&AD nominations.

See all of our previous stories about Airside, including a podcast recorded at the Design Museum.

Here is some more information from Airside:

Airside comes to an end.

After 14 years of creating groundbreaking design, the founders of influential design company Airside have decided to shut up shop for good at the end of March 2012. They will remain fully open for business up until that date.

To clarify the reasons behind this decision, the three founders Alex Maclean, Nat Hunter and Fred Deakin have prepared the following statement:

For the record, we aren't going bust, in fact we're currently thriving. We haven't fallen out with each other, in fact we're as close as we ever were. What has happened is that after 14 years of working together, we have grown into different people with different goals. Despite all of our best efforts we can't see a way for Airside to move forward and accommodate all of our individual ambitions. You could put it down to musical differences if you like!

The world has changed enormously since we started in 1998 and we hope that we've been part of that change. We were lucky enough to be the first of a certain kind of design company that now feels like the norm. New paradigms are emerging and as individuals we want to explore them in a way that Airside is currently unable to. Our influence has been clear on a generation of creative practitioners and that makes us feel good; it also feels like our work here is done.

We feel that it is completely true to the unique spirit of Airside to end the company as friends and to end it on a high. We'll be making an announcement as to our individual future plans nearer to March 2012 when we close, and there will of course be a party to mark our closing. Between now and then we'll be focused as always creating amazing work for our clients and ourselves - this is the last chance for us to work together as Airside. Although we definitely plan to collaborate in future, and don't bet against a re-union tour in 2022! And of course the spirit of Airside will live on in the shape of our Tokyo branch Airside Nippon, which will continue to trade as usual.

Voluntarily choosing to end Airside has been one of the toughest decisions we've ever made, but it also feels completely right. We've loved every minute of working together and feel like we created a truly unique company that completely fulfilled all the dreams that we had back in 1998: maybe that's why it feels OK to end it now. When we see the inspiration and positive impact we believe we've had on the creative world we are very proud. Sniff! We'll all really miss Airside.

Selected client list:

Anthony Minghella, Barbican Gallery, Bassetts, BBC, Chanel, Clarks, Coca Cola, Crafts Council, D&AD, EMI, Fiat, Ford, Greenpeace, Hayward Gallery, House of Commons, Intel, Konditor & Cook, Lemon Jelly, Live Earth, London Film Festival, London Transport, Mastercard, Mika, MTV, NHS, Nike, Nokia, Orange, Panasonic, Pet Shop Boys, Royal College of Art, Serpentine Gallery, Science Museum, Selfridges, Sony, The Beatles, Victoria & Albert Museum, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Trains, Visa, Vodaphone, White Cube Gallery and William Orbit

Early Years:

  • Jam Tokyo-London website for the Barbican – quirky interface – our first award winner
  • The Airside T-shirt Club and Airside Shop – one of the first design companies to make and sell our own products
  • Lots of art gallery websites: Serpentine, White Cube, Hayward
  • Impotent Fury club night at the 333 – the Wheel of Destiny
  • Lemon Jelly – a project where we could design every aspect of the campaign and have complete artistic freedom
  • Nice Weather For Ducks video – a big hit – still gets referenced to this day (eg Simply Health ads!)
  • 64-95 – an hour long animated DVD – our animation boot camp.


Growing Up:

  • The Dot Com Refugees – toys for Japan – a dream project
  • T-shirts for films – Battle Royale and Shaun Of The Dead
  • Surf posters and ads – our first advertising award winner
  • Orange idents – winning best in show at the Design Week awards
  • Working with Greenpeace – balancing our advertising work!
  • Mastercard – a global airport billboard campaign and a big award winner
  • Japan – exhibitions and client work – a mutual love affair.



  • Live Earth movies – full narrative animation
  • Pet Shop Boys website – big award winner – invented Twitter (!)
  • Beatles video – a great honour
  • No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency – our second BAFTA nomination – again, a great honour
  • Virgin Atlantic In Flight Entertainment system – a huge job, massive innovation, fantastic client response.



  • One of the first companies to work across all media
  • Evolved a unique vector / flat colour style that has spread globally
  • Combined strong aesthetics with depth of thinking
  • Created and integrated powerful narratives into our work
  • Embraced green and ethical values
  • HAD FUN!



2 BAFTA nominations

1 Cannes Lion Grand Prix, 1 Gold

11 D&AD nominations/in book

7 CADS winner/nominations

7 Design Week winner/nominations including 1 Best In Show

2 Creative Review Best In Book

3 HOW Awards

Plus many others – full list is below:

2011 - One Dot Zero animation festival - short animation selected

2010 European Design Award - Music Packaging

2010 - HOW Logo Design Awards Winner Airplot

2010 - I.D. Magazine Annual Design Review Honorable Mention – Graphics Airplot

2009 - Media Guardian Innovation Awards – Digital Technology – Winner Fiat ecoDrive

2009 - Cannes Lions Grand Prix Cyber Lion –  Fiat eco:Drive / AKQA

2009 - Interactive Media Awards Best in Class – Consumer Goods Vitsoe

2009 - Cannes Lions Gold Cyber Lion – Design Awards Nokia viNe

2009 - Creative Review The Annual – Best-in-Book Fiat eco:Drive / AKQA

2009 - Creative Review The Annual – Best in Book Nokia viNe / RGA

One Show Interactive : Best of Show, Fiat eco:Drive / AKQA 2009

Creativity - Best in Show AKQA / Fiat eco:Drive 2009

BAFTA nomination 2009 – Best film titles

Webby Awards – Best Website Nominee for Fan Site and for Music Site Pet Shop Boys 2007

Pixel Awards Winner – Best Website – Pet Shop Boys  2007

IMA Award – Outstanding Achievement Award Pet Shop Boys Website 2007

HOW Awards 2006 – Winner Best International Billboard campaign – Mastercard

HOW Awards  2006 – Winner Best packaging awards – Think Tank

Epica awards 2005 – Bronze finalist Coca Cola Love Posters

ALEX Awards USA 2005 – Winner Best CD Single – Lemon Jelly

ALEX Awards USA 2005 – Winner Best Vinyl Packaging Lemon Jelly

Design Week Awards 2007 - Shortlisted – Sony Bravia Idents for UEFA

Design Week Awards 2007 - Commended – Pet Shop Boys website

Design Week Awards 2006 - Best of Show – Orange Playlist Idents

Design Week Awards 2006 Winner – Best Moving Image

Design Week 2005 Winner - Best Poster  ‘Surf Baby Sick’

Design Week 2002 Winner ‘Interactive Media – Promotional

Design Week 2002 Winner ‘Interactive Media – Information’

D&AD In Book – LemonJelly Record Cover 2006

D&AD In Book – Coca Cola ‘Love’ Posters 2006

D&AD In Book – D&AD Student Awards Annual  2005

D&AD 4 illustrations In Book – Surf / BBH 2005

D&AD In Book – Digital Crafts / Animation & Motion Graphics 2003

D&AD Silver Nomination - Integrated / Integrated Advertising & Design (Digital) 2006

D&AD Silver Nomination - Music Packaging 2003

D&AD Silver Nomination - Interactive Media 2002

British Animation Awards 2004 Finalist in 2 categories

BAFTA nomination 2002:  Interactive

Soho Shorts Animation Shortlist

Resfest 2003 Animation Shortlist

‘Anifest’ 2003 Czech Animation festival – Best Music Promo

Best Newcomer, Muzik Awards, 2001 (Nomination – Lemon Jelly

CADS 2004 Winner –award for best music packaging Lemon Jelly

CADS 2003 Best Dance Video (Nomination - Lemon Jelly - Nice Weather For Ducks)

CADS 2003 Best single design (Nomination - Lemon Jelly - Nice Weather For Ducks)

CADS 2003 Best single design (Winner - Lemon Jelly – Spacewalk)

CADS 2003 Best Album design (Nomination – Lemon Jelly – Lost Horizons)

CADS 2003 Best Design Team (Nomination – Airside)

CADS 2002 Best Special Packaging (Nomination - Lemon Jelly _ Soft Rock

BT Innovation Award for Best Use of New Media 2001