Tomato by Nurria Chou

Tomato is a London based art and design collective, founded in 1991 by Steve Baker, Dirk van Dooren, Karl Hyde, Simon Taylor, John Warwicker, Graham Wood and Richard Smith, later joined by Jason Kedgly in 1997 and Michael Horsham in 1998. [i]

Among the group, there are artists, designer, writers and of course, includes the electronic music band Underworld formed by Rick Smith and Karl Hyde in 1988.  These talents also reflect on their multidiscipline works, ranged across from photography, typography to television commercial, film titles, brand identities to architecture and art installation.

We’re not afraid of tackling something new but we’re terrified of endlessly repeating ourselves.” Steve Baker [ii]

(mmm…Skyscraper, I Love You, 1994)

By using every conceivable medias, they have been working across with different clients, such as Adidas, Levi’s, Microsoft and Nokia. In addition, Underworld is one of the major clients that Tomato has closely worked with in album covers, music videos and rest of Underworld output in design and art direction.
In the first few years, Tomato was mainly focused on print and typography. Most works are based on their personal journeys and association with Underworld. Such as Mmm…Skyscraper, I Love You, was published in 1994 by Karl and John. The power of typography shows the interest in text, layout and compositions as a way of communicating and experimenting the ideas. The influential vigor of typography has become the common style in Tomato’s works.

Short films and commercial television are also another major media that Tomato has worked continuously. It is an extremely expressive sensation in a combination of sounds, visual, and motion.

(Citroën UK print campaign, 2007)

Since the beginning of 90s century, Tomato has built up an international reputation. Besides their innovative design, the creative process and exaction within Tomato is the key to make them successful and respectful. In terms of the structure, Tomato is relatively open and flat with a team-based and boundary-less organization.

Tomato is just a group of individuals – it is just a reflection of come of the things those individuals aspire to. “ Steve Baker [iii]

At Tomato, it is about the inner side of creative mindset, self-experience with the outer side of collaboration and interaction. Together as a whole, these elements become the force of Tomato.

(Underworld: Crocodile, 2007)

While Tomato has been working actively in commercial design, each member also keep on doing self-art work. By saying that, Tomato has also published two books – Process and Bareback. Through sketches, graphics, photographs, typographies and more, these self-authored books revel Tomato’s inner world as a group and individual.

Tomato is full of ideas and always has been. Each individuals’ commitment to personal work has kept tomato evolving and pushed it into the future without trying.” Jason Kedgly [iv]

(The Floating World by John Warwicker, 2005)

Tomato has established their own workshop starting in 2002, and has been to New York, Tokyo, Sapporo, Berlin and Taipei. It is about sharing experiences and perspective in terms of design, art, life and philosophy with people from diverse backgrounds. [5]  The innovative and creative outcome in works is the chemical reaction stimulates by the spontaneous collaboration and conversation between each of participant at Tomato workshop.

If it’s true that in the end all of the things we (all) do are about people communicating, then I think the workshops have been among the best things we’ve done.“ Graham Wood [vi]

Today, as well as in the future, Tomato and Underground is still on its journey in the twentieth century creative industry…

____________________________________________________________________________

[i] Tomato, “Tomato”; available from http://www.tomato.co.uk/#tomato/; Internet accessed 3 May 2010.

[ii] Christopher May, “Speak Up: exclusive interviews – Tomato” (interview on-line); available from http://www.underconsideration.com/speakup/interviews/tomato.html; Internet accessed 3 May 2010.

[iii] May, “Speak Up: exclusive interviews – Tomato”

[iv] Ibid.

[v] Tomato Workshops, “Workshops Overview”; available from http://www.tomatoworkshops.com/workshops.html#; Internet accessed 3 May 2010.

[vi] May, “Speak Up: exclusive interviews – Tomato”

Bibliography:

Art Futura. “Tomato.” Artfutura.org. Available from http://artfutura.org/02/tomato_en.html. Accessed 3 May 2010

May, Christopher. “Speak Up: exclusive interviews – Tomato.” Underconsideration.com, 31 March 2003. Available from http://www.underconsideration.com/speakup/interviews/tomato.html. Accessed 3 May 2010
Pipes, Alan. Production for graphic designers. Laurence King Publishing, 2005.

Tomato, “Tomato.” Tomato.com.uk,. Available from http://www.tomato.co.uk/#tomato/. Accessed 3 May 2010

Tomato Workshops. “Tomato Workshops Overview.” Tomatoworkshops.com. Available from http://www.tomatoworkshops.com/. Accessed 3 May 2010

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