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Work / Publication

Helvetica, pattern, shapes and more: Hey studio’s book reflects on its practice

Since 2007 Barcelona-based graphic design studio Hey has injected a colourful and shapely style into the contemporary design scene. In celebration of its long run, including working with the likes of ESPN, Uniqlo and too many other exciting projects to list, the studio has collaborated with publishers Counter-Print to release a compendium of its history so far.

For Verònica Fuerte, Hey’s founder and creative director, the concept of publishing a book of her studio’s output “wasn’t something I had ever thought about before,” she tells It’s Nice That. The suggestion actually originally came from the publisher, Jon, who sent Verònica an e-mail with ideas for a possible book which she took as “a big, nice surprise,” she tells It’s Nice That. “The decision was made a couple of seconds after I read that e-mail – although I might have waited a couple of hours before I enthusiastically accepted!”

From there Verònica and Counter-Print on a lengthy journey to whittle down Hey’s 11-year output into a graphic design tome. “It took quite a bit of time to assemble projects going back to 2007,” explains Verònica. “Preparing things for CP took me on a whirlwind tour of the last 11 years of my working life.” An eye-opening and sometimes daunting experience for any working creative, the founder admits that there were some earlier projects “that I really didn’t like that much seeing them again,” she admits. “That’s a natural part of time passing, growing up a bit and tastes changing. To be honest, there are one or two excuses that don’t really apply — they just didn’t work as I had hoped. But, however I personally feel about them now, they are a part of Hey and played a part in how we got here.”

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In turn, Verònica feels that all of the projects the studio have completed in the past 11 years, both the “failures and successes”, are significant for the studio and for people to discover in the book too. “They all had some value, something learnt, however insignificant it seemed at the time.” Its work with Monocle is one Verònica notes as opening doors for Hey and will always be a publication held close to the studio’s hearts, but also the projects the studio has worked on with friends, like Jammy Yummy. “They might not be a big client but they have good memories because of the working relationships and the fun experience it was,” she says. “After all, those friend projects, like personal ones, are where you have more freedom to express yourself and to try and define who you are as a designer.”

Over the process — of both working on the book and in the 11 years of her design practice — Verònica says “I have learned a lot and I’m still learning,” and advises that it’s always a “good idea to try and learn something from everything you do.” Having a monograph made of your work while you’re still in the thick of it too was an eye-opening experience for the designer and allowed her to “look back at the journey that Hey Studio is on,” she tells us. “It’s easy to get so caught up in the day-to-day that you don’t see the bigger picture.”

So even if you’re a designer with an established practice or a student just starting out, take some time to reflect on both the good and bad projects. For Verònica, “selecting work from the past 11 years helped me appreciate everything that has happened over that time even more,” she says. “It made me remember and want to stay true to the motivations and desired I had when I started this. If I can do any of that I will be happy!”

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