Design Log / Graphic Design / Festival

Making Design Fun With Barcelona's Hey Studio

In conversation with Verònica Fuerte, founder of Barcelona-based Hey Studio, known for their playful use of color, text, and geometry in communication graphics.

By Rohini Kejriwal on 27 March

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Hey's campaign for Scopitone

Barcelona-based Hey Studio, made up of Verònica Fuerte, Eva Vesikansa, Adrià Molins and Paula Sánchez, is one of the best known names when it comes to brand identity, editorial design and illustration. With their vibrant color palette, playful use of geometry and a strong typographic aesthetic, their work is fresh, stylised and commanding in the most gorgeous ways. Over their 10+ years as a studio, they have shifted their focus from working with local clients to bagging some of the biggest names, including Apple, Nokia, Microsoft, Monocle, the Wall Street Journal and others.

We speak to Hey’s founder Verònica about the growth of the studio, their EveryHey project, her personal evolution as a designer, and the studio’s plans for the future.

Veronica, what prompted you to start Hey Studio in 2007?

It’s something that I always wanted to do from a very young age. When I was young, I always painted after school. So when I turned 18 and decided to study at university, my first option was cinema, which is very much related to creativity. I couldn’t go to the cinema school as there’s only one in Barcelona and they only take 80 people. My second option was design, which I really loved and made me happy. I loved anything related to creativity.

How does an idea come to life over at Hey Studio?

With the graphic design, we always work the same way on all projects. Research, observe, work things up in a group and then settle on ideas. We present several distinct solutions to our clients. There are three of us in the studio and each of us can take the same concept for a project and resolve it in an aesthetically different way. When you have a very marked style, the formal process is faster.

Illustration work is quite different because the deadline is usually very tight, so we don’t often have time to try multiple solutions. The first idea needs to be the good one.

Hey's branding for Arrels

Were the colourful, geometric, bold graphics always part of the vision?

I always say it’s not just a style, it’s an attitude: it’s something open, fresh and simple with a strong idea behind it and very bold graphics. I believe design is for everyone, not just a specific target, which is why it’s so direct and fresh. The Hey spirit is not just about design but also about designing with a good attitude; without egos and by helping each other. This is always the starting point for our design process.

Tell me about the EveryHey project, where you created one-portrait-a-day.

It was a personal project we did two years ago that started as daily training by uploading one character a day of popular people on Instagram. The project went very well and grew bigger with time. Today, we have 400 character illustrations created over one and a half years.

So do all of you make time for personal projects?

Yes, personal projects are not about losing time. They are about finding creativity for commercial projects and going further with new styles.

Illustrations for the EveryHey project

Is thinking and visualising as important as creating itself?

Thinking goes first always and it implies creativity all the time. Once you have the idea of the concept, the aesthetic goes after.

What’s the dream at large for the studio?

I would like to work on a big identity, but I know that the small size of our studio can sometimes make this a problem. Still, we are trying and I hope and think that soon, we will get one. I would also like to invest more time in developing new products. Maybe a physical HeyShop is the next thing in mind.

It’s been over a decade in the design field. How have you steered the studio to keep growing, experimenting, and yet retaining the signature aesthetic?

Everything is always evolving or rather, it should be. Without evolution, designers, like all organisms, become obsolete and are overtaken by newer ways of doing things. But it is a very slow and gradual process and the most successful evolutions are probably the ones you barely notice. Now, when I see how I started, I realize I made a lot of mistakes. Of course, that is part of the process. Evolution is adapting to the environment as it changes and learning from your mistakes. It isn’t something one should be afraid of or embarrassed about.

Verònica Fuerte will be speaking at the Design Fabric Festival on 31st March.

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