World: My Portfolio - Airside

"I thought we'd have to work to pay the bills," Alex Maclean, one third of the design company Airside, says. "But Fred (Deakin) and Nat (Hunter) insisted we should work only for clients we wanted to work for so we would have a good portfolio. It's starting to pan out." Airside works across all media, from print to posters, websites to bus-sides. It even designs T-shirts and mugs. Some of the team's most recognisable work has been for the music duo Lemon Jelly, of which Deakin is one half.

The promos and album covers have a psychedelic, childlike appeal reminiscent of Yellow Submarine. For instance, the Nice Weather for Ducks promo showed a tramp finding the meaning of life in a raindrop.

This year, Airside worked with Bartle Bogle Hegarty on Surf. The colourful animation focuses on "Surf's Law", which dictates a rogue sock will always try to dodge the washing machine, and birds wait for sheets to be hung out before evacuating their bowels. The quirky animation marks a departure for Surf and is BBH's first work for the Unilever brand.

Maclean says: "It had to tie in with the product on the shelf. We've just finished some new posters that continue the Surf's Law theme, so there's a baby being sick down his dad's back, a woman who's spilled toothpaste on her dress and a girl who's dropped a slice of toast on her lap."

Airside also designed Lucozade posters for Ogilvy & Mather. The brief was to illustrate what would happen if you won the chance to be a stunt man, a DJ or a rally driver in the Lucozade Challenge. On bus-sides, Airside showed the windows shattering for the stunt challenge while the DJ challenge had a more traditional approach. "We wanted something that would work on a bedroom wall," Maclean says.

Demonstrating the collective's ability to work across media, Airside created the Clarks Originals website. Its theme is "doing your own thing", so Airside tracked down clubs from around the world that were doing just that. Examples include the Extreme Croquet Club in San Francisco, the New York Unicycle Club and the Swedish Cadillac Club. Maclean says: "This site has been ongoing for two years and we will revamp it before the end of the year."

Maclean, Deakin and Hunter launched Airside in 1999. They now employ eight full-time staff and Maclean points out that "myself, Nat and Fred don't lead projects; everyone here is valued. People who do admin get involved in the creative process. We sit around the table and ask everyone's opinion on the work."

- Alex Maclean of Airside was talking to Lucy Aitken.