León Romero is a new graphic design studio which relishes a challenge
Jorge León and Mikel Romero have known each other for ten years and set up shop after realising their visions were “completely aligned”.
- Ruby Boddington
- 27 March 2020
- Reading Time
- 3 minute read
No matter what the project – digital, analogue, big or small – the Barcelona-based studio León Romero approaches it as a challenge to get the better of. With a creative process that is never the same, the studio’s founders Jorge León and Mikel Romero have developed a practice which adapts to the needs of every project and pushes each brief to its limits.
The pair have known each other for a decade now, having met through a mutual friend, and the forming of studio León Romero came about when both Jorge and Mikel needed a change. “After putting together all our ideas, we realised that our vision was completely aligned,” Jorge tells us. On what exactly that vision is, Mikel adds: “We feel attracted by any project that aims to break moulds and go a step further. We like challenges and testing ourselves.” With this in mind, León Romero’s projects tend to sit in the worlds of “music, culture, art, sport, architecture, fashion, and gastronomy;” sectors the pair believes offer them most scope to experiment.
León Romero is a fairly new studio, having only operated officially for seven months. But you would never know looking at the studio’s portfolio. Projects are finished with finesse while typography, in particular, is paid close attention to. This comes from the fact that both Jorge and Mikel have a wealth of experience behind them, having worked in the industry for several years at various studios and agencies. It’s an exciting time to be following the pair as they establish León Romero, defining what the studio’s signature visual language will be.
Despite not having their “look” established yet, what Jorge and Mikel have worked hard at, is their process; namely, how they conceptualise projects. “We are very nonconformist in this sense,” Jorge tells us, “and we dedicate a big part of our time finding clear and comprehensive concepts for the target audience, to then approach them graphically in a brave way, generating new lines of communication.” Typography, as suspected, is something they feel very comfortable with. “We don’t conceive a design without this tool,” he continues. “We believe in the power of words as a fundamental part of communication and this is why we dedicate special attention to them.”
One medium which the pair describes themselves as “romantics” towards is print, as evidenced in a recent project for Levi’s. León Romero produced a publication profiling myriad talented people who “turn their work into a lifestyle,” commissioned by Helsinki alongside a campaign the fellow Barcelona-based agency was working on. “There is a strong typographic presence in the editorial piece,” the studio explains, “with distinct references to road signage.” This typographic approach is then combined with a “dynamic and loose” layout and an insert which “points out some attributes of Levi’s new technology in a more artistic way.”
A project produced around the same time as this one in late 2019 was a beautiful visual identity for a photography and visual arts festival taking place on Lanzarote titled Veintinueve Trece. “Given the location and structure of the festival itself, the idea was to boost and enhance the visibility of the most important sectors of the island’s history and development; agriculture and fisheries,” León Romero explains. In turn, the identity combines photographs of the natural landscape and a typographic system which aims to spotlight these images. In particular, León Romero’s identity makes use of strong black and white contrasts, a palette which only further emphasises the photography.
Already off to a flying start, León Romero is excited to continue developing its practice, building up its client base. However, the studio is keen not to forget personal projects, as these are the ones “that allow us to experiment and discover new design languages,” Mikel says, yet again reinforcing the pair’s desire to be a studio which constantly evolves and refines. He concludes with a callout of sorts: “In this regard, we are also open to working on non-profit initiatives and are always up for collaborations.”
León Romero: Performance Denim publication for Levi’s, creative direction by Helsinki
About the Author
Ruby joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in September 2017 after graduating from the Graphic Communication Design course at Central Saint Martins. In April 2018, she became a staff writer and in August 2019, she was made associate editor. Get in contact with Ruby about ideas you may have for long-form stories on the site.