CF: how was Hey Studio born? do you remember what it was like to work with your very first client?
It all began in 2007 when I started the studio with the help of my partner. He was instrumental in helping me set up the business initially and still gives us a hand when we are super busy with projects. Our first clients were friends, which I think is the norm when you’re starting out a new business as you tend to work with family members, friends of friends, etc. I’d say our first “official” client was Intermon Oxfam, which gave us a campaign aimed at young people and that’s when we added another face to Hey Studio in Ricardo. It was a daunting project, it was quite large and slow particularly because we had to interface with many different levels at the client. It took us about a year to complete, but it was such a good learning experience and a gratifying one because they gave us a lot of liberty to present our ideas and the final project.
Looking back I can say it was a fantastic client to work with. We also had a few other projects running in parallel. We prepared a portfolio of our work to send out to prospective clients. I did a lot of research on where to send the portfolio to and I really think it paid off as we started getting some small projects in with various clients in Barcelona and Madrid mainly. CCCB, MACBA, and a Catalan publisher were some of the main clients which gave us a lot of exposure internationally. During this time we were also focusing on more personal projects given we had a bit more time on our hands.
CF: are there any other studios or graphic designers that you look up to? or simply other people that inspire you?
There’s quite a few graphic design and illustration studios that we appreciate. It’s hard to name a couple because there’s a lot, but two of the main ones would be Experimental Jetset and Project Projects. We are also very inspired by design from past decades, particularly from the 60s and 70s. Mainly because during this timeframe everyone was going for a simple, minimalist approach which was quite abstract at times; Helvetica was often used as a typography and overall it was the predominant style across Europe, USA, and Japan. You could say it was a universal trend. We have a lot of (mostly secondhand) books focused on this era of design and we’re constantly browsing them for inspiration.
“One of my favorite things is when I return from traveling abroad and realize that Barcelona has such a high quality of living”
CF: what has been your most exciting and / or ambitious project so far?
I think the one we did for Film Commission Chile was quite ambitious and one that got us quite excited when they first got in touch with us. It was a large scale project and it wasn’t in Spain. Also the fact that they got in touch with us because they wanted our signature style struck us in a very positive way. It was a project that allowed us to set our sights internationally and it’s been our largest project to date. For me personally it’s been the most important one. That’s not to say all of our other projects weren’t important too! We’ve also worked with Monocle Magazine. It was one of the places where we sent our illustration portfolio and the first time they contacted us was an amazing moment. We’re still in disbelief when we get such emails! The first time we worked with them was a bit chaotic (Ricardo had a broken arm) and we were a bit nervous, but we pulled through and we still do commissions for them from time to time. The magazine is known worldwide and they have an extensive network of designers and collaborators, which occasionally opens the door for new possibilities.
CF: if you could soundtrack your work, what would you choose?
I would have to go with something quite well known such as A-Ha – Take On Me or Alphaville – Big In Japan.
CF: what is your favorite thing about living in Barcelona?
Well I’m actually not from Barcelona, but from a city on the outskirts. I moved here when I was 22 or 23. I think everyone who works at Hey can agree that Barcelona is a city with a nice scale and size where everything is easily accessible. We have the sea, good weather, and loads of culture. We are all very happy here at the moment. One of my favorite things is when I return from traveling abroad and realize that Barcelona has such a high quality of living.
“We are very inspired by design from past decades, particularly from the 60’s and 70’s”
CF: what are you currently working on? are there any “dream” projects you would like to work on in the future?
We’ve just finished a project for CCCB. We create a program for them every two months with all of the events available at the centre. We’ll be showing the whole project at the end of the year so that we can showcase the entire collection of covers, which we think are quite beautiful as a whole. We’re also working on redoing the identity of my parents’ company. This may sound a bit strange, but it’s a project that they’ve been chasing me for quite a while to do. I guess it’s always a mixed feeling when working with your parents. But it’s certainly a good time to work on this project and we’re enjoying it a lot.
Speaking of personal projects, we’ve been thinking about preparing an exhibition with our works. Hopefully we can make it happen next year. We are still in the thinking stage, but it’s something that we definitely want to do.