Hey Studio founder Verònica Fuerte on the importance of self-initiated projects and how to survive a crisis

Barcelona-based design studio Hey has made a name for itself over the last decade for creating bold, brightly coloured, forward-thinking design work. Whether working for corporate clients or on self-initiated animations, products or prints, its marriage of design thinking and an illustration-centric approach has made its work always seem fresh, and always, always feel very “Hey.”

It’s hard to believe that the studio is celebrating its tenth birthday this year, and as it does so its client list has swelled to include the likes of Apple, Vodafone, The Wall Street JournalMr. PorterDesign Studio, Penguin Random House and Oxfam.

Over on our magazine, Creative Boom, we caught up with Hey’s founder Verònica Fuerte to find out how it all began, and where she wants it all to go next. Here's a snippet of our interview.

How did you first get into design? Is it something you always wanted to do?

"It’s something that I always wanted to do from a very young age. When I was young I always painted after school, so when I was 18 years old and decided to study at university, my first option was cinema, so very much related to creativity.

"My second option was design – I couldn’t go to the cinema school as there’s only one in Barcelona, and they only take 80 people, so my second option was design. But I really loved it, so I was happy. I loved anything related to creativity."

When you started studying did you have any particular art or design heroes?

"No, I didn’t know anything about it at that age! When I started university, in my first year we studied everything – graphic design, interior design – but in my second year I chose graphic design. When I was studying I really loved a lot of designers; I discovered Vince Frost, Spin… I had a lot of graphic design references that I started to love."

How did you go about building up your client list?

"I decided to send my portfolio – a very small, physical one – to places in Barcelona, companies and museums or cultural places. That was in 2007, and it went very well – maybe three or four replied to me asking me to do a job for them.

"It was just before the financial crisis so I think it was good because in a time of crisis, companies want small studios as they can afford their rates. When you first start up a new studio you can do whatever job for whatever money."

Now that you can afford to be more picky, what makes a great client?

"I think it’s good when the client believes in you, and we can fit together. Sometimes the client puts up a wall – something that shows they don’t believe in you, or they don’t want your advice. Ideally you can collaborate with the client to create a good connection. It’s good when there’s a sort of freedom, that’s when we make our best projects – when the client allows you that freedom, believes in you and helps you."