Matt Titone - Indoek

When and where did you start surfing?
I first learned to surf in my home state of Delaware when I was about 14 at Indian River Inlet. But I really got the bug bad when I went to college in St. Augustine, Florida and was able to surf more regularly. I was addicted from then on.

What is it that you love about surfing?
It sounds cliche, but literally everything (except crowds). The way it centers you, refreshes you, clears your mind, makes you live in the moment. It gets me up earlier, forces me to live a healthier lifestyle, I could go on all day. I have forged some of the best friendships in my life because of it. It has taken me to beautiful parts of the world that I would have never experienced otherwise. It just always blows my mind how bizarre the whole concept of it is, but the simple, addictive act brings me more happiness and stoke than anything else in this world.

Do you have a session that stands out as your most memorable?
There are a lot of them that I think back on constantly whenever I am having a rough day… I have a couple that really stand out though — or at least come to mind immediately. Once in Costa Rica at Escondido a few years ago on a bachelor party with a bunch of close friends. It was just one of those perfect, overhead, glassy, tropical, 4 hour sessions with a boat parked next to the reef with all your boys cheering each other on and talking shit. It don’t get much better than that, especially as we get older and don’t get to see as much of each other… Another one was more recently at Rincon with my brother right after he moved out here to California. It was perfect head high Rincon, but uncrowded because it was at the end of like a week or 2 long swell and people were just surfed out I guess. Everyone out was just ear to ear grinning at each other because we all knew how lucky we were. Swapping perfect rights with my brother had me beaming for weeks and I will never forget it.

When did you first start to develop an interest in design?
I was always interested in art more than anything, it was the only thing I was good at in school, but I never considered it a career path. It wasn’t until I got into snowboarding and started getting the annual Burton catalogs in the mail that I sort of had that moment where I was like, “I want to do that!”. I used to study those catalog layouts and board graphics. Everything about that brand and what they were doing felt so right. Then with the internet boom, they translated everything so well into a new website every year. I never really appreciated design and branding until then. It was my dream to work for Burton from then on!

What kind of education do you have?
I went to Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida for a couple years where I got into photography. Then I transferred to the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) where I finally put it all together and focused on graphic design and Illustration.

Can you tell us a little bit about Italic and how it got started?
I started Italic about a year and a half ago with fellow designer, Ron Thompson.  Ron and I met while working at Saatchi & Saatchi back in 2009 and have always worked really well together because we share the same design aesthetic and work ethic. We decided to started our own creative studio because we were both getting tired of working for other creative service agencies that are more specific, we wanted the opportunity to work on whatever we want and with whoever we want. It sounds a little selfish, but we were looking for was creative freedom. Italic gives us that freedom and an opportunity for us to work together under one roof on a range of different types of projects. You can see how this has manifested itself when you look at our body of work so far on our site; our projects span a lot of different mediums and disciplines, but they are all rooted in our design style and aesthetic.

What kind of work do you do there? What does an average day entail?
We do all kinds of different creative work at Italic, there really isn’t an “average day”. Our clients are all in different industries and so their creative needs vary greatly.

We recently finished a complete concept and branding package for a new restaurant here in LA called The Doughroom where we were brought in from the very beginning to define the concept, look & feel, logo, style guide, menu system, signage, even the interior design — the works! We do not consider ourselves interior designers, but it is definitely in our wheel house and we bring in the right people to help us realize our vision if we cannot execute something ourselves.

Right now we are working on 3 different motion graphics projects, a series of illustrations for a clothing collection, a website redesign, and a logo and style guide for a major auto company. Meanwhile, we are also maintaining our own brands, Indoek and Daytrader, which are constant works in progress. All the work we do is so different, but it is all fundamentally about making stuff look good.

What is the philosophy behind Indoek and how did it come to be?
Indoek started as side project for me and my friend Drew to catalog our personal interests and share inspiration with each other while living on opposite coasts. It has sort of snowballed over time to encapsulate much more though. We basically use it as a creative outlet to make whatever we want to see more of in the surf world.

On top of the blog, you’re producing some really cool products under the 
Indoek label such as the wax kits.  Are you looking at focusing more on the 
product side of things in the future and steering Indoek into more of a 
brand than a blog?
We are really not focusing on any one thing in particular, which makes Indoek a hard thing to define. We still use it as a blog, but we are creating more and more original content ourselves because we have the platform now to share those stories we want to tell. We also use that platform to sell products whenever we have a good idea for one. I think all these things combined are starting to shape Indoek into more of a brand. But again, it’s hard to define and we like it that way — it’s niche is in creative surf culture, but it’s open enough that we can still do whatever we want with it and use it to fulfill whatever creative pursuit we have in our heads.

Are there any new idea’s/ collaborations on the horizon that you can tell 
us about?
I wish I had an answer for that. When we have a new idea, we just go for it. Things are pretty loose and we are not planning too far out like other brands… We definitely are looking to continue shooting interesting, creative surfers in their homes for our “Surf Shacks” series. So if you can put us in touch with anyone, let us know!

What is it that you love about the work you do?
I love not ever having to wear a suit to work! That, and I love seeing my work (and any design work in general) out there making the world better somehow or making a difference, not just selling sugar water or some other shitty product that no one needs. It sounds cheesy, but design is way more powerful than most people realize, so it’s nice when you can actually see the results and feel it’s impact in our society.

It’s also just rewarding when you have a client who appreciate’s the power of design and branding. If I have to sell someone on the importance of my services, they are probably not worth the effort and will likely prove to be a difficult client. When you connect with the right people who have an idea or product you believe in AND they appreciate how they can benefit from your work, and still challenge you creatively, it produces the best results and gives everybody warm and fuzzy feelings.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
Fatter, balder (hehe hopefully not)… I don’t know, I hope that Italic has a few more solid, regular clients on the books. We’d love to have a bigger office with a gallery space that we can host regular art shows in… It’s hard to say, I’m just enjoying everything that is happening right now.

Where can we find you online? 

Instagram: @indoek
Twitter: @indoek

Posted by: Troy Roennfeldt, on March 24, 2014
Categories: Interviews