menu

Interview With Jonathan Notaro, Founder Of Brand New School

Interview With Jonathan Notaro, Founder Of Brand New School
Advertising

Founder of the Brand New School tells us about his classical inspirations, and how BNS used the concept of the bookshelf to inspire their latest website design.

Plus Aziz
  • 24 march 2011

Jonathan Notaro is the Founder and Executive Creative Director of Brand New School (BNS). Founding BNS in 2000, Jonathan is an accomplished creative visionary in commercial art. In a recent interview with PSFK, we learned more about the inspiration and process behind the design of BNS’s new site.

Tell us about your background and what you have been doing most recently with the Brand New School.

I studied graphic design at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), worked for a design company immediately after school and about 1.5 years later–after that company was bought, sold and given a death sentence–I formed BNS. I had no plans except to be in control of how I spent my time and whom I would be working with. Initially we worked on motion design projects, on branding and design projects for youth driven television networks and advertising agencies. Before long I found myself directing little pieces for them, and then onto some bigger, more high profile projects. Most recently we/I have been rebranding the FUEL TV television network, designing and developing a massive touchscreen installation for a client I can’t mention, and in post production on the latest in a series of commercials I’ve directed for Ikea. Oh, and I designed the new website in collaboration with my friends at Linked By Air.

Can you tell us what the new website has achieved in terms of design, interactivity, and user experience?

The design uses the metaphor of bookshelves as a framework for the content, inspired by my personal office shelves which basically tell my story. The new site does the same, only it’s the company’s bookshelf and company’s story. The interactivity and the site’s features encourage the public (potential and current clients, interested parties) and internal staff to contribute to that story. Anyone can login and create and share reels, which are collections of our work. Staff can edit content from the page view rather than back-end, as well as create their own pages. As a design studio, the staff has editorial discretion, which allows us to leave the door open a little wider than other organizations might.

The website’s objective is to showcase the bonds between your people. Also, Tamara Maletic mentioned using the metaphor of having “infinite shelves” as a design strategy; how did these ideas come about? What was the process and how did Linked by Air come to the table?

I knew it was time for a collaboration with someone outside of the commercial sphere, so enter Linked By Air. I have always admired their POV, and my fellow BNS director Eric Adolfsen was a student of Dan Michaelson’s at Yale, so he helped make the connection. Most of their portfolio is for arts and cultural clients, and the sites have a database driven feel with the functionality in the foreground of the design. I suppose that is partially due to Dan’s programming background.

At BNS, we tend to gravitate toward big overarching ideas or themes, and form. So in a sense it’s a perfect fusion. The ideas that we arrived at all had a similar makeup in this sense… metaphors for content, and inspiration that is familiar to designers and the creative process. So what do we do? At BNS we stack our shelves with chotchkies and books, pin-up findings – posters or textiles – and paint the walls. We scour the earth for inspiration and keep it in front of us with hopes of it permeating our subconscious.

Where do you go for inspiration on your own projects? List any resources, public figures, creatives you feel are relevant.

With a few exceptions, I tend to look back all too often for inspiration to design, art and film luminaries of the past. Gold-plated and on the top shelf are Robert Brownjohn, Bob Gill, Milton Glazer, Saul Bass, Brian DePalma, Coppola, Truffant, and Michelangelo.

Thanks Jonathan!

Brand New School

Linked By Air

Trending

Genetics Startup Is Working To Create A Completely Personalized, DNA-Based Range Of Products

Health
Travel Yesterday

United Airlines Launches An Updated Business Class Program

The new Polaris product prioritizes customer service and updated modern amenities

Design & Architecture Yesterday

Video Explores Complex Museum Architecture

A mini video gives a quick overview of the most beautiful cultural buildings built

Trending

Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Retail 2017

See All
Sustainability Yesterday

Smog Vacuum Turns Pollution Particulates Into Unique Jewelry

A large device was installed in Beijing that sucks up smog and compresses it into small centerpieces atop jewelry

Experiential Marketing Yesterday

PSA Fashion Line Shines A Light On Victim Blaming

YWCA Canada is using fashion and sexist tweets to highlight how often we as a society blame the victim in cases of abuse

Related Expert

Johnna Marcus

Digital Marketing

Syndicated Yesterday

What PSX 2016 Tells Us About The Modern Games Industry

Nostalgia and big brands are defining how the console market is being shaped

Op-Ed Yesterday

VP: Why Messaging Apps Are Issuing In A New Era Of Commerce

Matt Johnson discusses how mobile messaging commerce is creating a different modality for interaction between retailers and consumers

Technology Yesterday

The PSFK Holiday Gift Guide 2016

Based on a year of research by PSFK Labs, we curated a list of innovative and unique holiday gifts

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Retail 2017
Transformation Strategies For Customer-First Business
NEW

PSFK Op-Ed Yesterday

Store Technology Expert: Why Retailers Must Invest In Store Associates

Jan Kotowski, Head of Product at Tulip Retail, shares his thoughts on how retailers should be preparing for the future

PSFK Labs december 1, 2016

Retail Spotlight: Home Depot Reimagines How Employees Conduct Tasks

The home improvement retailer puts the customer first by initiating local fulfillment centers and simplifying freight-to-shelf inventory management

Food Yesterday

Minute Maid Opens A Store That Sells Nothing

The beverage company opened a pop-up shop that encourages customers to write letters to their parents instead of buying a gift

Entertainment Yesterday

Samsung And Viceland Partner For A Virtual Reality Documentary On The Syrian War

The White Helmets film uses VR to immerse viewers in the everyday conditions of the war-torn country

Design & Architecture Yesterday

These Designs Bring Modern Architecture To The Humble Birdhouse

Artist Douglas Barnhard has imagined a series of designs emulating the work of architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright and Joseph Eichler

AI Yesterday

Nine Technologies To Invest In When It Comes To Retail [Future Of Retail]

Retailers are leveraging assistive technology to help employees in their daily tasks and customers on the sales floor

Travel Yesterday

Acura Cockpit Envisions The Future Of Autonomous Travel

The car brand has built a proof that offers a sneak peek of the self-driving vehicle experience

PSFK EVENT

FUTURE OF RETAIL 2017
Conference Built Around Our Report Launch
BUY TICKETS

Retail Yesterday

How Artificial Intelligence Is Enabling Anytime Shopping & On-Demand Support

Retailers are leveraging advanced technology to relieve associates from mundane tasks, while better assisting customers

Cities Yesterday

NYC Map Calculates Economic Benefits Of Every Tree

TreesCount! maps all the greenery in the five boroughs and even figures out how much money it saves the city

Design Yesterday

Create A Perfectly Tailored Shirt Using Just Your Phone

UKYS has created an application to get accurate measurements of buyers through a few simple pictures for custom shirts

No search results found.