The Block

Art & Culture — 2 years ago

N&MS On The Value of Misunderstanding

Launching our partnership with INTL with a special interview series.


10th of November sees the latest iteration of Glasgow’s INTL Assembly, an all-day creative conference and celebration of all things design, branding, advertising and beyond. Curated by Beth Wilson and James Gilchrist – the duo behind INTL and Warrior Studios – INTL Assembly is fast becoming an unmissable fixture on the global design community calendar. 


To celebrate our partnership and their T-shirt collection, we spoke to some of the industry leaders who’ll be holding talks on the day. This special four-person interview series spans everything from collaboration, to personal careers, to the challenges facing contemporary designers. 


Working between Germany, where Nam Huynh is based, and Spain, where Mark Bohle lives, the two designers have established N&MS, a multi-media creative consultancy. With successful individual careers as creative directors and executive designers, N&MS was borne out of their excitement in each other’s work. Here they discuss collaborating, surprises and working across mediums. 


Shop N&MS’s T-shirt, and explore the INTL Assembly collection here. 

Everpress Team
Courtesy of N&MS

Together you’ve run the creative collective N&MS since 2021, but you first met while studying at ABK Stuttgart. Why did you decide to join forces? And how important has collaboration been to you both?

Mark Bohle: Collaboration is elementary in my work. I am a disaster in working on my own.

Nam Huynh: I think that in good collaborations you are very reliant on each other. Otherwise there would be no need to partner up. Mark is not afraid to learn new tools and to apply new methods, so it’s always exciting to discover how I can rely on him.

I am a disaster in working on my own.

What is your working relationship like? With Nam based in Germany and Mark in Spain, how do you navigate shared projects?

Good question. We do speak a lot. We do love daydreaming but in a productive sense. We barely video chat and explain most ideas in words to each other, which often leaves a lot of space for interpretations and misunderstandings. This often leads to interesting surprises.

Courtesy of N&MS

What do you find interesting about each other’s work?

MB: Nam has a desire for the weird and is conscious of the good. He works precisely. He has a desire for creation. He loves finding surprising situations in his work. He does not differentiate between large and small scale projects. He has a funny way of thinking.

Nam has a desire for the weird

NH: Mark has a great sense for colourways and compositions but I especially admire his ability to pump a unique personality into every project we work on. It feels exciting when we have a feeling that we’re onto something new, so during our processes I am always glad for every moment when I hesitate, but Mark doesn’t.

As well as your work with N&MS, you both work independently as designers in your own right. Why was it important for you to retain your own separate practices? 

The moment we decided to join forces we pictured ourselves not inside a closed environment. We imagined ourselves more in a cabriolet situation; driving the same direction enjoying the countryside and the speed of movement. Since we have mutual understanding about design we are able to develop at different paces and directions.

Courtesy of N&MS

You’ve both worked on projects for very varied clients, and across mediums. Are there certain themes you look for in prospective projects? 

As long as you have something valuable to say we love to help you to visualise it. 

We love what happens in between

And relatedly, you both work across all manner of mediums (including plastic shopping bags!) Do you prefer physical or digital projects?  

Actually we love both, and we love what happens in between. We really enjoy the digital as well as the physical component of life and work. Besides that, we also have a certain preference for high and low tech. We have a general interest in the aesthetics that can arise from the pre and post human.

Courtesy of N&MS

Do you think it’s important to be playful in your work as designers?

Yes, without a doubt. As long as we stay playful and experimental we don’t have to rely on established design trends and we keep an open mind for constant developments in our fields.

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