It’s less than a year old, and yet this studio has already established itself as a high-quality hub of creativity
Most start-up studios are staffed by people brought together by a common love of visual arts, or a group of graduates on the same course. That's not the case with Denmark's MOOD, which came into being because of one man: a psychopath renowned for his ability to execute people from afar, his stealthy moves and the mysterious barcode emblazoned on the back of his bald noggin.
Okay, Agent 47 might be a video game character, but the Hitman protagonist was the force that brought MOOD's key personnel together. All the artists worked on Io-interactive's Hitman series, which features the folically challenged anti-hero, before they decided to leave the Copenhagen-based game developer and launch their own ambitious design studio in the city.
“The dream of starting our own studio had existed for a long time,” says MOOD's concept designer and CEO Rasmus Berggreen. “We felt that the industry in Scandinavia needed a go-to studio that could handle larger projects and deliver high quality. A studio with its focus on evolving design and talent, and elevating the visual level in general.”
MOOD was established last year and has already produced some high-quality work. Despite the studio's roots in games, it creates art for film too, and it handles every stage of a project, from pre-visualisation to marketing and advertising materials. Rasmus is keen for each of these to be as polished as possible.
“We help to improve the projects we are working on by increasing the overall visual quality,” he says. “We want to be involved and have passion for our projects. This is how we can make outstanding work. I believe that this understanding helps us to be unique and always evolve as a studio.”
Jonas Springborg, a concept artist at MOOD, follows Rasmus' ethos – even if it involves painful truths. “We're all a bunch of experienced designers, but we’re always aiming to get better, learn new techniques and get support from all here at MOOD,” Jonas says. “And we expect to get brutally honest critique from each other to ensure that we deliver top-notch work every time. I'm currently learning ZBrush with the help from Jan Ditlev, and will hopefully soon implement this into my design flow.”
The need to network
Because it's such a new studio, MOOD also has to establish itself and build a reputation among its clients and actively seek out work – something which Rasmus understands well. “Work is not only about the quality,
I love Copenhagen. It’s a fabulous city. There’s always something going on
but also talking with the right people at the right time,” he says. “Sometimes jobs will fall in your lap, and other times you have to do a lot of networking to get anything. But things get easier when you've been in the business for some time and have proven that you can deliver quality and on time. It is important to build those good relations.”
MOOD's double-pronged approach to finding work helps immensely, though. The team already has a wide-reaching network throughout Copenhagen from its previous employers, and as word-of-mouth has spread the work has increased. However, the studio isn't afraid to approach clients who it feels would fit in with its art direction and aesthetic.
Rasmus considers the Danish capital to be an amazing city for startups, too. “I love Copenhagen,” he says. “It’s a fabulous city. There's always something going on and I have a lot of good friends here. There's also a very strong tradition for design here, and at the moment it's very exciting with lots of new rising companies focusing on apps.”
Jonas also loves working for the studio. “I love the challenges, getting to design and draw every day and, of course, working with some awesome people,” he says. “It's a great studio in the heart of Copenhagen filled with talented and fun people. And we have an array of cool projects and big ambitions for the future.”
MOOD has only just moved into its light and airy loft offices.
MOOD’s head honcho Rasmus Berggreen adds some finishing touches to a piece. MOOD can produce a range of art styles, including Square Enix's Gameglobe's cartoony look.
A dramatic piece of personal sci-fi art from Jan Ditlev Christensen. A piece of promotional Hitman: Absolution art created by the MOOD team.