How design is changing lives in one of the world’s deadliest cities

“The design was just a translation of the message they wanted to communicate,” Bracho reasons. “Convincing them that we’re on the   right path isn’t always an easy task.”
But business is booming. Influential design
“Hardpop did a lot for Ciudad Juárez,” agrees Dominguez, who graduated from the University of Texas in 2010 and has been working at Face’s studios ever since. Yet each weekend the world’s biggest producers arrive at the volatile desert town of Ciudad Juárez to play to packed-out crowds inside its unassuming walls. Visitors never fail to notice the huge, teeth-shaped monochrome mural on the far wall, which only adds to the studio’s unique character. And you can count on seeing more inspirational branding and print collateral for Ciudad Juárez’s world-leading nightclub Hardpop, too. Indeed, one of those has gone on to become the studio’s youngest partner and art director, Aaron Dominguez. Experimental eye-candy: Face’s posters and flyers for Mexican club, HardpopSince then, Face has grown to nine – Pavlovich has moved on, and art director Campuzano has returned after a three-and-a-half-year hiatus – but Face retains a tight-knit feel. Indeed, this philosophy is proudly on show within the studio’s charming brick headquarters: a stroll around the property reveals a collection of inspiring knickknacks that share corners and shelfspace with design classics such as the team’s Eames Molded Plywood chair or Massimo Vignelli calendar, while photos and prints by both friends and team members adorn the walls. “In Mexico, clients usually want the opposite of our motto: they want ‘more design’,” laughs Face’s senior designer Ivan Pedroza. For many, Hardpop is a haven in the centre of Mexico’s violent drug war. The neighbours aren’t bad, either. Nowhere has   this   rational approach been more clearly effective than during a recent pivotal website redesign for Diverza, Mexico’s leading electronic invoice service provider. Supermodernism
Underneath it all lies a deep commitment to simplification. It’s   not easy doing simple things, but we believe it’s the best   way of communicating a message.”
To do so, the creatives apply a method they refer to as ‘supermodernism’ to all new commissions. “We consider it   a second family. Northern Mexico’s   burgeoning design scene is being amply fuelled by increasing numbers of world-class studios like Face that are setting up and producing fresh, innovative creative for a global client base. The project proves that good design can change people’s lives, and it   holds a really special place for me.”
The project also has a special place for Bracho. They’re still our clients now – they trust us to put their needs first.”
Attention to detail
Despite the studio’s multidisciplinary proficiency, identity and editorial design are Face’s strongest suits; mainly, Bracho suggests, “because we love those little objects and   documents that decorate our lives and spaces”. “We like it that way,” explains Bracho. To help   Diverza   become more user-friendly, the studio proposed a new, stripped-back identity, combining illustrative elements with   a warm logotype and a carefully considered colour palette to distil a sense of accessibility, reliability and efficiency into the brand, without being overly corporate. “Supermodernism is more than a specific design style,” asserts Branco. The studio’s portfolio oozes with attitude, sparking a bold dialogue between tight craft and stimulating visuals. We still believe that design can change the world – or at least make it better.”
Photography: Mariana Garcia
This article first appeared in Computer Arts issue 232, a design education special packed with insight, inspiration and behind-the-scenes access to the world’s most exciting creative minds. This involves stripping away the layers to solve each design problem in the best possible way. Nestled inside a north Mexican shopping mall, in one of the world’s deadliest cities, Hardpop is an unlikely venue for one of the best nightclubs on the planet. Hardpop branding by FaceUtilising different materials, inks and finishes, it’s an innovative body of work that has heavily influenced graphic design in northern Mexico and inspired a wave of local young people into the field. For almost a decade, Monterrey-based design studio Face has worked with Tejada’s other business, event promotion firm Pastilla Digital, to produce a stunning, ever-expanding collection of experimental print collateral for Hardpop. A few weeks later Hardpop’s Tejada also joined the studio, taking the team to four and balancing the creatives   with his business focus. It’s an exciting time indeed for the local design community, which little more than a decade ago consisted of just a few dozen firms. “It   was a big influence for kids like myself. Savvy Studio is just down the road and a little further away is Anagrama, Mexico’s creative firm de l’heure. Words: Julia Sagar
Julia Sagar is commissioning editor at Creative Bloq. He   credits Hardpop as the catalyst behind the birth of Face, which he launched with fellow Pastilla Digital freelancers Hugo Campuzano and Mero Pavlovich   in late 2006. “But the new graphic identity really revolutionised their philosophy, using the concept of simplicity to the max.

Updated: 14.11.2014 — 03:56