Creating -ING’s 2015 Art Direction - Dust

If you’ve been a part of the ING creative community for a while, you’ll remember our Art Direction for 2015, otherwise labeled ‘DUST’. The project was created in the run up to our first -ING Creative Conference, which took place in March of 2015.

We felt inspired to make something creative right here in Dubai, where we merge a creative element with the local landscape of where we are from. Our Art Direction had to express that we were here to turn serious subjects into more approachable fun, and to inspire others in Dubai to unlock their creativity- something which is at the heart of what we do at -ING, bringing creatives together and allowing them to make great things themselves.

Initially, we wanted to create something with smoke bombs, but as they’re not available locally, we decided to build our own. Putting together our own smoke bombs came with a number of obstacles to work around. First came the sourcing of some very specific materials, such as chemicals to make the colours merge with the smoke using a certain type of colourful clothing dye. Once we had gathered our resources, we finally started experimenting with creating the smoke bombs. As you can imagine, we were utterly disappointed when the smoke weakly popped into a splash of dull white colour.


Ramy and Ryan got together to brainstorm ideas for overcoming the challenge, and Ryan suggested that we should fill balloons with both air and coloured powder that we could pop for the photographs. We would tie strings to the balloons and hang them from sticks so that we could hold them out for the photos and pop them with sharp cutters. We selected our first shoot location, Hatta, as a great place to represent the UAE landscape. We; Ryan, Jiani, Ramy, and Dani, set out at 4am with no idea if our DIY smoke bombs would work, but knew it was worth a try. On the way, we stumbled upon an opening in the road by pure chance. Most of these areas are fenced off, but we had discovered this totally untouched landscape with only rocks and the mountain in the background - almost like a scene from Mars. So, of course, we set up our equipment here and began popping balloons one after the other while Jiani photographed the explosions.

We also worked on locations downtown and at Kite Beach, but we especially loved the construction site behind the Burj Khalifa, the one with the intertwining cables of the transmission lines, as Networking is a big part of what -ING stands for and we felt the importance of portraying that visually in our art direction. Looking back, bringing each element of this project together turned out to be just as fun as shooting the final images. The whole process of trial and error and repeat really built up our excitement, and made pulling it together in the end that much more gratifying. It’s great that we get the opportunity to work with a creative team to do something crazy, and to come out the other end with an incredible campaign that people all over the world would see. We even came across people whilst in Barcelona who had seen it, and that was definitely the most rewarding part of the project. The complete DUST art direction can be found here on Behance.