Creativity. What is it? How did it get here? What does it mean? Who… am I?
If it’s what we thiiink it is, then we’re doing our best every drop to use it to tell multi-layered stories through a uniquely Bandit lens.
Our process typically starts by re-reviewing the mood and vibe boards that our Chief Design Officer used to originally inspire the collection of products in a single drop. That inspo is solidified 6-9 months before we even sit down as a team to brainstorm the purpose, hooks and concepts behind the drop - three words that ultimately summarize our desire to create a cohesive theme and story to tie around a collection of products.
Once we’ve refined our internal ideas into a workable concept, we then turn to View Source - a team that has become like an extended family (their office is only a few blocks from ours), who originally designed the refreshed Bandit brand, and now works with our team daily to make these ideas come to life.
Here, we ask one of View Source's founders, Andrew Rutledge, some questions about their design process related to our upcoming drop “Park’ing: A NYC Guide.”
First off, who are you? What is “View Source” all about?
I'm Andrew Rutledge, one of three founders and a Creative Director. The team that brought the Bandit refresh to life is Brendan McAuliffe (Design Director), Annie Chen (Designer), Amelia Oliver (Studio Director), Reese Fuller (Lead Strategist), Chin Yuan (Development Manager), Hamilton Yu (Director of Operations) and Jen Yuan (partner and Experiential Director). We’re a creative studio of 16 people, and it's the people here that bring our ideas, aesthetics and code to life. We started by wanting to simply do dope shit, and that’s still what we try to occupy our time with.
What types of projects are firmly in the View Source wheelhouse, i.e., what makes your team excited to execute/design? What do you do differently from other creative and design agencies?
Any project or client that’s willing to embrace imperfections. It can be corporate branding for an insurance company or a festival poster. As long as when we enter the project we have the room to pay attention to irregularity, that’s where we get excited. For us, it is all about a concept, and through making things a little bit ‘wrong’, giving it a tension to hook people onto, that takes it to a new level.
How would you describe the visual/aesthetic direction of the Park’ing drop?
The Park’ing drop aesthetic is super simple. Ever walk up to a trailhead, nature preserve or a public beach and see a large plaque with a guide to the local habitat? That’s what we were going for, with rats, racoons and pigeons of course for NYC.
What were you trying to convey with this direction/how did you want those in the Bandit universe to feel when they dove into the Park’ing drop?
Making straight-forward design is relatively easy. We all have access to free design tools and can use typefaces and imagery to make a ‘nice’ looking thing. To get people to comprehend this relationship Bandit has to the parks of New York City, we had to break the Bandit Brand Guidelines and orient the design towards the local tourism guide signage that was made mostly in the 90s. That gave us a great opportunity to call on that aesthetic in a way that straddles irony and authenticity at the same time.
In the world of fashion and consumer brands in general, how do you think through making sure your partners really stand out? How’d you infuse that into Park’ing?
It’s very difficult for a brand to make work dissimilar to the other brands out there. After all, they’re usually coming to us with a reference to the brand saying “we want these vibes”. To take that and turn it into something ‘standout’ means moving past our own influences and working to explore beyond our pre-established tastes. Transforming the inspiration into something that no one has ever seen yet is damn near impossible. But, if we can alter people’s thoughts about what they are seeing, that’s where the magic lies. Infusing it into Park’ing was easy, because y’all are so agile when it comes to getting down with an idea and running with it. You know it when you see it, and you don’t mind taking a risk!
Wildcard question: Is this a hamster or a rat? (big office debate on this one)
Definitely a rat. Hamsters pay rent in NYC and have no sense of street style whatsoever. Also, the tail.