The Biscay Project

Hi.

Getting late for the prize, huh?

Anyway I'd like to upload my project even for the sake of some feedback from "late birds".

This one's about clothing, but about lifestyle too.

When I decided to leave my day work as a graphic designer and start my own career, I realised that I had to  focus in a project that moved me and I could feel deeply identified with as the only way to make some sense of my decision. So my first research was a personal insight.

Living in the Basque country, you'd better love rain and bad weather, and, coming from a family with a background in textiles and fashion, the path was somehow clear. I just had to add my passion for the sea as an amateur sailor and so the Biscay Project was born.

It would be unfair not to mention Jon and Alexander Stutterheim's work as main inspiration and point of departure for this project. In a way it was born as a "cantabric blend" of both visions, yet the aim is getting a step further and, no need to say, giving the project its own personality. This class was, therefore, a great opportunity to start almost from scratch with one of the guys who inspired it all.

So, this being said, let me tell you about Biscay.

Named after "Gulf of Biscay", the english name to "Golfo the Bizkaia", is the maritime area between north of Spain, west of France and the British Islands. Famous for its raging seas and bad weather but also for bathing green coasts of steep cliffs, intermingled with beautiful beaches, and inhabited by tough and proud people with a very particular "savoir vivre" that puts them somewhere between the working ethics from northern Europe and the "Spanish Fiesta", getting, in my opinion, the best from both of them.

Bizkaia is also the place I live in, and, having my roots in nearby Asturias and links to Cantabria and Galicia, and being a lover of southern France and British culture, it made all sense trying to create something that expressed the uniqueness of this corner of the world united by this relatively small sea. If mediterranean culture is known all around the world ¿why not cantabrian?

But, as every road starts with a single step, I determined as a primary destination to design a textile product that would work as a stepping stone of everything that could come after. And what every textile product needs is a label, so...

One thing I had in mind was that the visual identity had to have a "local" feeling. Today we're surrounded by webs and pinterests devoted to american lettering and victorian tipography, so, giving that that influence would be there anyway, I decided to make most of my research as near as "Biscay" as I could, mostly in the Basque Country and south west of France.

I started collecting photos of comercial lettering, being this made by hand or mechanically, painted in a wall, wood or glass, carved in stone or welded on iron plates, made of wire, plastic or neon, antique packaging including fish cans and beverages, wrapping paper, vintage advertising or books. Some basque typography sample was also mandatory.

I also included photos of places like ports, docks and piers related to the former fishing and iron industry as well as beaches and landscapes showing the most whimsical side of the coast. 

Fishing and sailing imagery was also to be included, as well as vintage photos of basque people.

Finally, as a mainly textile project, I added references to rainwear and it's labels and I recovered clothing labels I collected as a child from my father's work as a salesman.

This is a summarized version of my 5 page moodboard showing samples of it all.

So, this is the point I'm on now. Hope to upload my first sketches today and give significative steps this week. Sorry if most of you are on "school's out" mode already... any feedback will be hugely appreciated for this reason.

Hi again.

Here there are some sketches. This first page shows some drawings from the early stages of the project, when I haven't even decided the name, as well as doodlings of side projects related with the main one. Eventually some of them have ended printed in t-shirts or will be some time along the road.

In this second page there are old sketches for Biscay and some newer ones. You can see a little evolution ending in a couple of profitable ideas and even some tryings of building something close to a label. It also shows the evolution of the fishing hooks that  will surely have an important role for reasons I will explain later.

Eventually I decided that I needed something simpler, even a symbol. At this stage I was thinking about t-shirts and screenprinting and made up some logos in different styles. One of them is the current logo that shows the simplyfied hooks. Besides of being related to sea/fishing, I like the hooks because in this case they work as an icon of infiniteness that symbolises Biscay's motto, "South of North, North of South". As I told before, this motto talks about being in the middle of everything and getting the best of it all.

All this was some weeks ago, before enrolling in this class and talking to a good friend of mine about the project. He gave me a wider vision and pointed me to what was my first aim, making something a little more complex than cool t-shirts. Soon it came clear that I'd have to come up with something more elaborated and stylish, yet keeping that shyness and simplicity, just in the way the motto claims.

6/1/2013

These are the three ideas I've selected.

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