In a recent personal project, the designer Pedro Destefani explores the relationship between Stan Smith, the man, and the brand he has become synonymous with over the past few decades. Arguably best known today for his name’s attachment to a particular Adidas trainer, Stan Smith was in fact a world-famous tennis player back in the 1970s and 80s. In this self-initiated editorial project (which is not affiliated with the sports brand), Pedro looks at the man on and off the court, as well as that famous shoe.
Despite the fact that Pedro has worked in multiple areas of advertising, his primary interest has always been in design. Based in São Paolo, he loves to flit between the fields of architecture, sociology, anthropology, music and the visual arts. He tells It’s Nice That, “I am constantly looking for new ways of learning and new conceptions.” Whether it’s “totally graphic” or otherwise, he believes that “all knowledge has a shared visual syntax that intertwines in some way”, and so his work encompasses a number of different disciplines.
“Design is a means to knowledge,” adds Pedro. “Graphic design allows us to explore new paradigms, new languages, new formats, new messages.” So in this way, Pedro’s personal work consists of heavily research-led projects, including this recent publication on his favourite kinds of shoes, Adidas Stan Smiths.
Having two pairs of the trainers himself, Pedro designed an editorial publication to explore the famous branding that was powerful “in its portrayal of a person”. Essentially, the brand and visual identity of the tennis player have come to represent the “shy and super talented sportsman who won world tennis championships in the 70s and 80s, while continuing to contribute to the education and organisation of the sport today.”
Design-wise, Pedro incorporates the fluid movements of playing tennis into the design. With a hint of “the aura of the 70s” as well a modern touch, the project brings classic design and the post-modern subtly together. “This project explores the meeting of the human and the brand, the product with the lifestyle and the advertising with the design,” says Pedro, on this self-initiated project which has become “very special to [him]”.
“I’d love to talk about the sneakers themselves,” says the designer, “but the properties of branding the man himself were too good to go unnoticed.” Weaving in personal quotes from the tennis player that offer an insight into Stan’s temperament off the tennis court, the publication pays tribute to the established brand that has become somewhat ubiquitous on the feet of the many, as well as the man who initially inspired that brand.
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