DIA on turning typography on its head

Meg Donohoe and Mitch Paone, co-founders of the influential design company DIA, talk about why process should come before aesthetics and how using motion design in their work felt radical at the beginning

Established in 2008, DIA is a design agency with “an unrelenting quest for quality”, where process, thinking and strategy come before any aesthetic choices or flourishes. DIA specialises in “kinetic identities and typographic systems” and while infusing motion design with branding might be fairly typical now, when the studio started no one else was really handling type and brand communications in that way. 

This saw the studio become pioneers in developing ways of using motion design that went beyond gimmicks and flashiness, instead using it to transform typefaces, breathe life into identities and truly embody a brand. 

“The majority of brand communications are digital now. A company’s Instagram feed is as important as an OOH media buy so it was important for us to rethink our creative process when it came to creating a brand identity,” explains co-founder Mitch Paone. “Technical advancements in brand communications require us to learn or create new techniques. Converting our traditional understanding of typography into these new worlds was very logical.”  

As text and typography are the most important components in a visual identity, it was the first area Paone and fellow co-founder Meg Donohoe explored and experimented with in this new context. “What has become so exciting about all of this is that we are essentially writing a new chapter in design history,” reflects Paone. “We were trained in fixed formats and grids but now we are working in spaces that are completely immersive, like AR and VR, that have no limitations. How typography works and behaves in these environments is a brave new world.”