We were first introduced to the work of Sean Hotchkiss back in the Summer of 2014, while working together on Faculty Department. Our first time meeting Sean in person was at the book launch at The Apartment by The Line. From our conversations at the launch, we definitely remember Sean’s energy and authenticity. Sean is personable and approachable with a dose of swag, and this is all apparent in his writing. We then learned of his prolific portfolio and impact on Mens fashion as a successful writer based in Brooklyn, New York. Yet Sean’s work extends beyond just words but includes creative thinking, art direction, and brand consultancy. Sean has become a good friend of the studio and it was really enjoyable to work with him on his new creative consultancy, Boy.
From our discussions with Sean, we understood the benefits of starting ‘Boy’ as it offered Sean the opportunity to venture into different areas of creative work that was not limited to copywriting alone. Our challenge was then to represent this visually in a brand identity that reflected Sean’s personality, values and aesthetic, but stood as an entity of its own. We started identifying some key words for the brand as “classic”, “American”, and “refined”. Sean had already began the process of identifying the art direction early on so it became a smooth transition for us to continue the work. An important aspect to the personality of the brand was this sense of refinement, luxe taste, balanced with an easy-going, casual approach—also called “high/low” in fashion. The name “Boy” felt like a perfect fit in this case.
In regards to visuals, we felt that the most effective tool to embody these aspects of a classic, luxe yet casual brand would be in the typography. The look and feel of the brand identity needed to be minimal yet ‘classic’ in a sense, as though it has been around for awhile instead of a sterile modern look. Together with Sean, we decided to move forward with Graphik, designed by Christian Schwartz and Berton Hasebe (Commercial Type). Graphik proved to offer the right balance as a contemporary sans serif inspired and referenced from sans serifs of the mid twentieth century. With such a simple treatment of a wordmark, the details then becomes especially important. Between the bold and medium weight of Graphik, we felt the right weight for the wordmark would actually be in-between the two and proceeded to create a “semi-bold” weight. The boy wordmark was set in lowercase to take advantage of the balance created from the ascender of the “b” and the descender of the “y”.
One of the issues Sean had shared with us was the challenge of showcasing copywriting projects, or making words visually appealing. This was an aspect we considered a lot during the design process. In light of this slight dilemma, we began looking at type specimen books for inspiration. We were particularly drawn to the “waterfall effect” that would naturally appear when specimens showcased the full family of weights in a typeface. This became our inspiration for the brand system of Boy—to create a system of using various weights together depending on the scenario or amount of text. We were quite happy with the idea as it was a fairly simple idea though still unique to us.
With copywriting as the primary service from Boy, a deliberate approach we took for the design of the website was to limit the amount of text on the site to a minimum. In doing so, it gave the text on the website a greater value and elevated hierarchy. This approach also helped us to create an online presence for Boy that is not inherently word-based, but open to other creative fields.
To see the website, visit: