Hi, my name is Lex Johnson.
I’ve been working in the creative industry for almost 2 decades now, and have specialised in motion graphics since 2009.
I worked as a freelancer at various studios and agencies before starting to work out of my own studio and collaborate with other artists under the guise of DAZZLE SHIP. Since 2014 i’ve served as a production partner to help assist agencies, brands and studios.
When the brief requires i can work hands on as an artist, or can be more hands off and manage the production/creative process when a larger team is required.
Let’s work together
DAZZLE SHIP is a CGI-driven design studio specialising in creating vivid, fresh and contemporary graphic solutions. Made up of core team of diverse industry experts collaborating internationally and uniquely tailored around each brief.
We believe that fresh perspectives and diverse perceptions are the key first steps in achieving the DAZZLE SHIP ethos of radical creativity. This team-based approach allows us to supply limitless creative solutions and premium work for our clients.
Dazzle what? For a brief period at the start of the 20th century, warship’s hulls were camouflaged with cubist artwork which aimed to challenge the viewer’s sense of perception, rather than hiding the ship itself. Proof that by disrupting habitual patterns we are forced to open up to diverse perspectives. Thus gaining fresh perceptions which enable us to become ‘Radical by Design’
Drone Racing – Introducing A Brave New Concept
Drone racing was a largely unknown subject until DRL came on the scene. Within a year they had introduced a new format to the world and were labeled ’the sport of the future’. We saw the companies vision and worked with them from their first YouTube season to their most recent NBC premier with 6m viewers. At each stage it required a close collaboration envisioning things that didn’t exist yet, such as this video for their Racer4, the deadline for the video was the same date the physical product would be finished. Often we had to move fast, which meant creative decisions were made fast. There was no existing frame of reference for many of the concepts we discussed, which meant reserving judgement and following instincts.
The design systems created have forged the blueprint for the sport of drone racing.
Bleeding Edge – Finding Fresh Ground
This project for multiplayer online combat game ‘Bleeding Edge’ was a great example of fighting old habits. We’ve done a lot of work over the years with the hollywood style ’sci-fi’ aesthetic. UI screens, fake data visualisations and wireframes renders have become incredibly common in recent years, especially in gaming. When the client mentioned there was a ‘hacking’ aspect to the games concept we discussed the idea of going down a data/FUI route. However from a creative angle the comic book and 90’s graffiti game art style seemed much more compelling. We went away and prepared a few routes including one based heavily on developing bespoke comic book style textures in Redshift as a ‘wildcard’ solution. Suffice to say the creative team at Ninja Theory loved this route and we went full steam into production. This is a great example of breaking free from conformity and being able to show diversity in the creative process.
Wateraid – Using Narratives to Simplify Complexity
We’ve done a number of projects for over the past few years for Wateraid and their international partners including UPGro, Skat Foundation and United Nations. With every project comes the need to take highly complex topics and simplify them into a compelling narrative. The issues around clean water and sanitation run much deeper than purifing individual water sources, they are largely institutional, political and economic. The challenge is educating people around these complexities in a way that is relatable enough to challenge their existing pre-conceptions and encourages them to take action on a local level in order to affect systemic change.
For this particular project we used illustration, character animation and a powerful narrative to tell the story of Grace. A girl who misses school because she has to walk miles to find water so dirty it could kill her. She’s strong and independent – she has to be to survive. But without water and sanitation, her dreams could come to nothing. Grace’s is the story of hundreds of millions of people around the world – people who will stay trapped in poverty for want of a tap and a toilet.
With every Wateraid project we have increasingly introduced storytelling in order to create more compelling content and assist the companies mission to challenge perceptions around the world.
Lead Cinematics @ Ninja Theory, a Microsoft Company
We recently hired Lex and his Dazzleship team to provide us with video assets that would help us present our new game, Bleeding Edge, to the public. From the design phase to final delivery we found Lex to be very thoughtful to our needs, knowledgeable of design processes, and extremely accommodating and helpful in getting the final product exactly right and delivered to a high standard. We were given plenty of options early on and communication and discussion was paramount. Once the final look was chosen the work was prompt and of a high quality, turning out better than expected. We’re very happy with the pieces and the process and would happily work with them again.
Senior Digital Innovation Leader @ London Metropolitan Uni
Lex is a highly skilled creative with a vast awareness of process, traditional design and modern digital outputs. Lex has graced The Cass forums with lectures/talks on Motion Graphics and Visual Communication and is always a hit with our body of Graphic Communication students.
Creative Director @ The Drone Racing League
By partnering with Lex and Dazzle Ship The Drone Racing League launched to become the premiere leader in professional Drone Racing since the success of the inaugural season in 2016. Now in 2019 the R4 campaign was created to generate hype for DRL Allianz World Championship Season, which premiered a few days after the R4 launch on NBC and Twitter. The R4 announcement helped DRL drive more than 6 million viewers to DRL’s Twitter stream alone and nearly 500K viewers on NBC — the highest season premiere viewership on TV in DRL’s history.
Creative Exeuctive @ Sony Pictures / BitTorrent Kraken / Syrup NYC / RWD
I first worked with Lex at RWD in London. He single-handedly built the magazine’s first website, and it quickly grew into one of the largest urban music websites in the world. We went on to produce a TV series together that aired across Europe, not to mention throwing out all kinds of creative projects along the way outside of our daily duties at the magazine. All of this added up to RWD becoming one of the UK’s most popular youth music brands. What most people don’t know is Lex taught himself almost every skill he has.
Lex is always learning more so he can make more, and he’s never satisfied until he’s learned to do something so well that it will impact millions of people. I worked with him again on several projects over the years from my time at Syrup in New York and to present day with various film projects. I’m always amazed at how much he had expanded his already broad skill set since RWD. He’s one of the most driven and talented creatives that I know and it’s always a pleasure to work with him.