Universal Everything: MTV Video Music Awards

There will be two things I remember about this year’s MTV Video Music Awards: Britney’s classic performance and Universal Everything’s excellent show graphics.


Under the direction of UE’s founder, Matt Pyke, the VMA package is a refreshingly rough collection of jump cuts, low-fi graphics and pop-culture totems that crackles with energy. In addition to the broadcast graphics, UE also handled content for the LED walls and other stage elements.

UE’s work always blends solid design with an experimental approach, which is probably one of the reasons they’ve managed to consistently create innovative work for so long. Matt has a restless mind, always dabbling in this and that, looking for an unexpected angle on familiar design challenges. That attitude alone is reason enough to celebrate UE’s portfolio.

About the author

Justin Cone

/ justincone.com
Together with Carlos El Asmar, Justin co-founded Motionographer, F5 and The Motion Awards. He currently lives in Austin, Texas with is wife, son and fluffball of a dog. Before taking on Motionographer full-time, Justin worked in various capacities at Psyop, NBC-Universal, Apple, Adobe and SCAD.


Marc B.

I like it. But most of the time it looks just like tranistor studios website and exactly like some other stuff he’s been doing for years now.

Innovative? No. Cool? Yes.


I thought the awards were unwatchable due to the incredibly jarring stage. I couldn’t concentrate on any of the presentations or performances and quickly lost interest. This design, while the INTENT is agreeable, the execution was inappropriate. I do like the logo treatment and motion graphics, but they could have taken a back seat to the talent once or twice. UE did a great job in the video content, but probably could have been displayed in a more complimentary fashion to the talent. I’m sure it was someone else who laid out the stage.


The package is pretty great.

The open was a carbon copy of one of their experimental pieces for Shop.


Not knocking them at all, but it probably took an intern all of 5 minutes to replace a few assets in the original. Just thought that should be said.


Yussef, you weren’t kidding, they directly parlayed that experiment into the open. I like the open but wonder if they have explored at all beyond that. The interstitials for the nominees I found painfully hard to watch. I kind of dig the visual aesthetic, but the irregular “robo-VO” made me physically nauseous. And I like intense grungy, unpolished stuff, generally.


I dig the DVD menu and lo-fi approach. I watched it without sound, so maybe that’s why it didn’t overwhelm me.


The graphics are a perfect fit for the crappy state of today’s music. All glitz-glam, no substance.

ilyas toker

its ok. *unimpressed*


Marc B. says:
September 20th, 2007 at 9:14 am

“I like it. But most of the time it looks just like tranistor studios website and exactly like some other stuff he’s been doing for years now.”

Marc B….. Matt Pike – Universal Everything designed the transistor site!


Horrible. Not impressed what so ever.

Marc B.

i know that. Thats why i mentioned it.


I, for one, absolutely loved it. MTV rhymes with ADD.

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