The risk of making a book about a studio and transforming it into an ordinary catalogue of work is really high. For the simple reason that the rationale is that you can only sell so many copies, and that at the end, it is a selling tool for your own work. So it is really easy to end-up doing one more portfolio for your clients and friends, and occasionally, family members.
But Veronica Fuerte has come to design not to follow rules, but to challenge the way design is perceived, and especially how colour plays an essential role in how we look at and react upon the world around us. Her book Hey would have all the ingredients to be just one more gift, but instead, it is a must-have for creatives of all fields. It is indeed full of works, and it is a portfolio, but Fuerte has managed to go beyond it with elegance and information. It also comes in four colours, just to display her obsession for details, and for always trying to go, in whatever she does, an extra mile.
The trajectory of a design studio is usually hard to display, because jobs come mostly out of necessity, and it is hard to please clients whilst trying to create a consistent visual language. But this is exactly what Hey Studio has managed to create, identifiers for their style, being that for Uniqlo, Paypal, Nokia, or Monocle magazine. Styles are usually associated with illustrators, and maybe this is again the key of this creative powerhouse, that they consider themselves both designers and illustrators.
A few months ago, Hey opened a shop in Barcelona, in a busy touristic district, and has since then attracted creative minds from the USA to New Zealand. A sign of their good taste is a shelf of vintage books, found second-hand elsewhere, and curated to connect to the style of the shop. The products in the shop are either created for the shop, or developed by them for clients. The abundance of posters is also a highlight. It is hard to leave the shop without one. The retail initiative came after too many designers knocked the door of the studio asking to buy the goodies they posted online. They eventually decided to open a proper shop, and see if the demand of these creative professionals would justify an actual shop. Time will tell.
Design is probably one of the most overused words to describe a number of activities, but it is indeed deeply connected to aesthetics and an indication that something has been thought about. And what I like in this publication is that Fuerte and her team have thought hard of how to make a nice book for other creatives. Professionals that need not only reference and inspiration, but especially a good example of how it is possible to create consistent good work for multiple clients that is linked through particular elements. It is less of a book, and more of a documentation of a graphic design and illustration masterclass.
Fuerte’s videos are also to be seen online, where she carefully explains a lot of her projects. But the book is the materialisation of many years of work. As they put it, “everything we love about design is celebrated within our work; from color, shape and pattern to illustration and typography – these disparate elements, continuously intertwining to amaze, delight and enthrall us.” My conclusion is that there are many ways to make the same thing, which is to say to respond to the same briefing, in design language. Hey, under the command of Veronica Fuerte has published their own innovative portfolio, or a delightful subversion of a portfolio to inspire any creative person.
Author: Veronica Fuerte
Title: Hey: Design & Illustration
Buy the book here.