As an innovative festival for Animation and Games, BLON invites its visitors every year to experience outstanding animated games, AR, and VR from around the globe. Promoting the exchange of knowledge and experience among professionals and young talents, it is a meeting place for everyone in the industry looking for networking, inspiration, learning, and fun. This year’s event took place from 8 to 11 September in Klaipėda, Lithuania. For the past four years, Vilnius-based design studio Taktika has been the creative team behind the playful and vibrant identity that represents the fun mentality of the festival. Each year, the studio teams up with a different artist to create a full set of characters that brings the its spirit to life. For the illustrations appearing all over the communication channels of the event this year, Taktika worked with visual artist Kushagra Gupta to help bring the concept into the 3D realm.
After discovering his work on ItsNiceThat, Nerijus Keblys and Mantas Rimkus were sure they found the perfect candidate for the collaboration, giving him complete artistic freedom. “I think this collaboration turned out so well because neither of us knew what the outcome would be. We liked Kushagra’s work and style a lot, but we asked for something different than what he usually does, so we did not know what to expect. The result was surprising”, Mantas tells C24. With his brilliantly textured, colorful characters and a keen focus on details, Kushagra created a fun, limitless world around the festival. “What I primarily wanted was to create these characters as an imaginary group of enchanting friends from another universe,” he explains. The idea to build a set of different characters to add personality and warmth to the festival’s identity is also present in the custom typeface with its vast variety of alternate glyphs.
Coming from a background in graphic design, Kushagra specializes in 3D and CGI art. Often inspired by natural phenomena, his works represent a dialogue between the organic and the synthetic. Since recently moving to Bangalore, the capital of the Indian state Karnataka, the visual artist has been working from home as a freelance designer and has clients from all corners of the globe, including the electronic music group The Avalanches from Melbourne and the electronic record producer and performer Machinedrum from North Carolina. Working with Taktika on the visuals for BLON was one of his highlights in 2022, as Kushagra tells us: “I feel much less intimidated by animation now after working on this project, so I’m looking forward to working on more motion-related projects from now on.”
Nerijus and Mantas have worked in the industry for several years before founding Taktika about three years ago. After graduating from university in the Netherlands, Mantas was part of LAVA for two years, an independent creative studio based in Amsterdam and Beijing. Meanwhile, Nerijus has worked as an art director at the Lithuanian creative agency autoriai. Despite enjoying their jobs, Nerijus and Mantas always wanted to run their own studio. Since its foundation, Taktika has produced distinctive work for an exciting range of clients from the commercial and cultural sectors. From visual identities to websites, every project that Taktika releases feels playful and intuitive yet highly considered. This year, the studio won an ADC*LT silver award for the web design of “Ignorance is Bliss,” a research-based design project founded by Agne Kucerenkaite. At the moment, the studio is working on a new website for A2SM architects, a wayfinding system for ISM University, and a digital portfolio for illustrator Eglė Žvirblytė. “As our studio consists of just the two of us, we often collaborate with different artists. We had an amazing time working with tireless Kushagra on the design for BLON, and we believe this won’t be our last collaboration.”