Bandiz Studio celebrates 10 years of multidisciplinary commercial and self-initiated design
2020 marks 10 years in existence for Madrid-based practice Bandiz Studio. They pride themselves on being truly multidisciplinary, having utilised their experimental style in a multitude of formats and industries since their inception. To find out more, we caught up with Creative Director and CEO David Heofs.
EM Hi David! Can you introduce us to the work you do at Bandiz Studio?
DH I am the creative director of the studio and my work focuses on the development of projects mainly in the fields of graphic design and audiovisual production (both as a production company and as a video director). The studio consists of a small and multidisciplinary team in which everyone contributes and usually gets involved in one way or another in each project.
EM Congratulations on the 10 year anniversary. How has the studio evolved since you started in 2010?
DH Thanks! I am ecstatic to have come this far doing what I like.
When I founded the studio in 2010 it was a really bad time in Spain to start any business. We were in the midst of the economic crisis that started in 2008 and lasted until 2014. Nevertheless, I started Bandiz when I finished my studies – I was 22 years old and eager to create something new.
I had been working for a season in television and in a small advertising agency while finishing my degree and it became clear to me that none of those sectors were the right field.
Since the age of 17, I designed posters and flyers for clubs, I painted and made my zines with friends. In Madrid there was no studio that mixed the three areas I liked – graphic, photo and video – and that would serve as a reference and mirror to project myself on. I had to learn by myself how to work and manage where I wanted to focus my practice by combining the three fields I enjoyed doing and that represented me.
In the beginning, I was working alone, even though I collaborated sporadically with other people for specific projects. From the second year on, I moved to a bigger office and the team started to grow little by little. During the first years, the studio’s evolution was slow but that period helped us to consolidate ourselves, to be able to do more personal projects and to learn a lot.
For the last five years, the studio has established itself by working with national and international clients in the fields of fashion, culture and music, allowing us to experiment and contribute more with our multidisciplinary practice in each project.
I had to learn by myself how to work and manage where I wanted to focus my practice.
EM Have you noticed any changes in the design industry since you started out?
DH I try keeping up to date with what is happening in the sector. Since I started my career I have noticed a major expansion of the design sector and how the practice has become more multidisciplinary. I feel that the current profile of a designer and the design industry is much more versatile and less specific – it’s freer and less restrictive.
EM What would you like to see more and less of in the design industry?
DH Truthfully, I like the current moment we are living in, sure there are some things that could be improved but, generally speaking, I think that this is a great time for both design and creative expression.
EM How do you structure your team?
DH The spirit of the studio is marked by interdisciplinary collaboration with friends and other creatives. Currently, the team has seven members. Half of us specialise in graphic design and the other half works with video and photography. As a creative director with a multidisciplinary approach, I juggle between both areas and coordinate several projects simultaneously. Even so, each of us works in various disciplines, which means that in each project we configure ourselves differently.
In 2013 we started our personal project – Bandiz Editorial – an independent publishing house where we self-publish zines, photobooks, and artists’ books. In this project, I work as an editor and consider it as a playground to carry out more experimental projects along with other studio members and friends.
EM What’s the key to creating a thriving and creative working environment for a small team?
DH My intention since the first day has been to find a balance between commercial and personal projects (or more creative projects) that enrich us. Thus, Bandiz was founded as a place open to any type of project, discipline and client where we can have a good time while we work.
EM What’s your general process when tackling a brief, be it a commercial or a more personal project?
DH In a commercial project, the most important thing is to have good communication with the client.
It’s something we find crucial in order to develop a trustworthy relationship, to understand their needs and to help them reach their goals in the most efficient way. Therefore, defining an initial briefing is super important for the development of a project as well as creating a schedule for all the deliveries and feedback. At the studio, we keep in touch with our clients regularly to update them with all the progress of the project, from its beginning to its conclusion, and in many cases, all that time we spent working together ends with us becoming good friends.
When it comes to personal projects, we usually don’t work with a closed brief. We start by developing ideas and moodboards and the project takes shape as time passes. Enjoying the freedom that the blank page gives you, working without deadlines, flicking through different processes of experimentation or being able to start or postpone a project at any moment is what makes it flexible and fun.
EM What do you find makes a successful project?
DH My favourite projects and those I consider most successful are the ones in which the client gives us the freedom to propose new things, to learn and evolve with appropriate strategies and visual solutions that reflect our studio’s practice, our values, vision and personality.
Being able to create new characters and experiment with their shapes is something very enriching.
EM There seems to be no limit to the typographic experimentation that’s employed throughout your work. How do you work together to achieve this?
DH Type has always been present in my life in one way or another. I started at 13 painting graffiti and I have been drawing letters every day for many years. When I started taking my first steps as a designer, what I did most was experimental typography and lettering. When I painted graffiti what I liked most was the possibility to change styles every so often. As a designer, being able to vary the style in each project you carry out, being able to create new characters and experiment with their shapes is something very enriching.
At Bandiz, my colleague Beatriz Viegas is very passionate about type design. I prefer to work on paper, to play and create letterings. When we work together on projects we strike for a balance between both of us. Then, two of our colleagues who work in motion graphics and 3D sometimes get involved in the process to give movement and new finishes to the fonts we make.
EM Who or what do you look at for typographic inspiration?
DH I find a lot of inspiration in letterings from movie graphics of the 70s and 80s, psychedelic posters and the American underground comics of the 60s – Robert Crumb, Rick Griffin, Wes Wilson… On the other hand, I am also a big admirer of the fanzine/punk movement and the Japanese graphic design from the 80s and 90s.
EM What do you find inspires you and your work outside of design and music?
DH Contemporary art, industrial design, architecture and cinema.