Classics will remain relevant because they are classics. However, a revival of the iconic does not always have to come in collaborations or revamps. Sometimes, a fresh perspective will do just the trick without putting risky changes to the beloved. California heritage sports label, K-Swiss does just that and quite literally, is bringing The Classic back into the spotlight with a fresh collaborative campaign.
The “You Gotta Know Your Classics” campaign enlists the help of eight of the world’s future graphic designer superstars (Mario Lombardo, Value & Service, Cobbenhagen & Hendriksen, Non-Format, Grand People, Sulki & Min, Mark Owens/ Life Of The mind and Fabian Jenny) to create a series of posters inspired by The Classic. The Classic is quite a retail feat, as it was the only shoe which supported the company from 1966 -1986 (during this time, the California sports label sold only this shoe). The campaign works on The Classic’s unique heritage but decided to head in the low-key, simple route by creating eight posters that narrate the story of the K-Swiss perennial kicks. Each poster represents a short chapter of the shoe’s life and is printed double-sided. A graphic visualization of the story emblazons the front while the detailed story is narrated in the back. The chapters are named with a whimsical sense of humor such as “Blond on Blond” and “We killed canvas. Sorry”. Each designer is given free reign to interpret the story in their own perspective and contemporary manner. The interesting thing about this series is the lack of chronology. Each poster stands alone, depicting The Classic’s freedom from hierarchy.
These posters are limited in quantity, as only 400 of each poster have been printed. K-Swiss has decided to rid the sneaker world of hierarchy and work only with passion, hence the posters will be available for free through www.kspace.tv in the month of March for the brand’s most loyal fans who has stuck with the classics. Check out the designer info and posters, and do remember to visit the site for your poster when March hits.
Lombardo has worked as art director for pop-culture magazine Spex (2001 2006) and cultural magazine Liebling (since 2007). Bureau Mario Lombardo produces playful and progressive layouts and typography, yet its designs maintain a classical elegance. They are soft, poetic and generously spaced. In 2008 Mario Lombardo was elected Visual Leader of the Year by the prestigious Lead Academy. The Award is given not for one single piece of work, but is a tribute to the artist’s entire work hitherto. When asked in an interview “How would you design Vanity Fair?”, Mario Lombardo replied tersely : “Not at all.”
Value & Service
Sean Murphy and Hazel Rattigan met at central Saint Martins London.
Rattigan previously worked for David James Associates and designed catalogues, invites and campaigns for Prada, Miu Miu and a range of art books. Their work is fresh, thoughtful and genuinely playful by avoiding the popular recourse to irony. Their designs are multi-layered (both visually and conceptually) and incorporate historical reference points.
Cobbenhagen & Hendriksen
Cobbenhagen Hendriksen are a Dutch design duo currently based in Amsterdam consisting of Marijke Cobbenhagen (1978, Amsterdam) and Chantal Hendriksen (1978, Delft). Graduates from the prestigious Art Academy Utrecht (Marijke) and Gerrit Rietveld Academy (Chantal), they’ve quickly become fixtures in the Dutch art scene. In 2008, they designed for the Dutch post office TNT a national stamp commemorating Rembrandt. Their projects seem to pose/touch questioning in a critical way demanding reflection and/or participation.
Kjell Ekhorn (Norwegian) and Jon Forss (British) have worked together as the creative direction & design team Non-Format since 2000. They work on a range of projects including art direction, design, illustration and custom typography for arts & culture, music industry, fashion and advertising clients. They have art directed the independent music monthly The Wire and also Varoom: the journal of illustration and made images. They have built a formidable international reputation with exceptional graphic design and illustrations that are strikingly innovative and fresh yet have a timelessness that goes beyond fleeting style trends. In addition to a long list of awards and clients, their bestselling hardback monograph entitled Non-Format Love Song was published in 2007 by Die Gestalten Verlag.
Inspired by the famously arresting Norwegian outdoors, Grand People has become an inspiring young agency on the international design scene. Their designs are highly narrative, always engaging, occasionally psychedelic, but never fail to tell a (hidden) story. Still relatively unknown in the world at large, their fluid shapes and clever use of color is slowly capturing the attention of tastemakers outside of the design world.
Sulki & Min
Sulki Choi and Min Choi are graphic designers currently based in Seoul, Korea. They met in 2001 at Yale University where they were both students of the prestigious MFA graphic design program. Since then, they have been working together on various commissioned as well as self-initiated projects. They have worked on the cultural identity of the city of Leuven and designed publications for the Jan van Eyck Akademie in Maastricht, The Netherlands. Their work investigates the complex aspects of information design, the design of charts, graphs, diagrams, and maps.
Mark Owens / Life of the mind
Mark Owens is a designer, writer and filmmaker working between Los Angeles and New York. Mark graduated from the prestigious graphic design department of Yale University and curated The Free Library, a graphic design exhibition that traveled to New York, Philadelphia and London. With his agency Life of the Mind, he’s worked with MTV, VH1, Tate Modern and the Hammer Museum. His essays have appeared in the pages of The Blow-Up Magazine, Visible Language, Grafik and Dot Dot Dot. He has taught at Yale and Art Center College of Design and is currently an adjunct faculty member at California Institute of the Arts.
Liechtenstein-based designer and typographist Fabian Jenny has created in a wide range of identities, designs and fonts over the years. His experience extends from identities and logos to magazine design, including designing the FL INFO magazine for the Green Party in Liechtenstein. Fabian is currently Design Director at Lemon scented tea, responsible for all the Amsterdam-based agency’s visual storytelling platforms.