This project started in the fall of 2017 when we received a phone call from Auckland from someone who - while at the Viaduct - saw the PAC 52 Invisible Hand sail by while out on its sea trials several months earlier. He liked the graphics on the Hand, so we sent him our portfolio and soon set to work on designing the graphics for this custom 62 foot catamaran to be named Kinetic. The boat was already in build at the former Harvey Yachts in Knysna So. Africa.
The design brief focused on the concept of kinetic energy with visions of Newton's Cradle dancing in our heads. We set about working on some sketches for the name and accent graphics. We concentrated at the outset on building a set of characters for the name that would convey dynamic movement. We wanted to create an a la carte concept that would allow for picking pieces out of the 'menu' of graphics - maybe a name only on the hullsides - maybe some small accent graphics on the hullsides with name on the boom. We'd need to make it flexible and build a set of components that could be multiplied or divided.
We built out a set of characters that took geometric shapes from Newton's Cradle and added striping for movement. Once the characters were built we began to experiment with color adds. Jewel colors were not going to work, we'd need something a bit more modern.
We always try to hit the edge with the initial set of sketches. It is infinitely easier to scale back on creative concepts than to move out from simpler lines and concepts. It's a great way to gauge client sensibilities when words won't do. For the initial sketch pack we developed some complimentary graphics that could stand alone without the name or work in union with the name - whether in color or black and white. We liked the idea of 'tatooing' small shapes in groups that could run the entire length of the boat or be 'spot' located along certain areas of the hull.
With a series of mockups pulled together - all signs were pointing to not having the name on the hull unless in a very compact form with a very small graphic accent. And the color scheme would need to be amended - less colors - and less whimsical. We compacted down the name in conjunction with a graphic accent - stripping detail from the characters.
We kept the razors sharp as it was time to shave down more on the graphics and lettering. The graphics would be jettisoned altogether and we'd focus on just the name with a view to positioning it on the boom and perhaps on the transom. For the hullsides we shifted to doing a boot stripe only, and for the name we shifted to a very simple mid-cen typeface with a bit of striping.
Getting the key color desired involved some 11 different color trials and it wasn't until a photo of a 1948 Fleetline came across my FB feed that we settled on a key color. I'm frequently at classic and hot rod car shows to get paint and color ideas and this particular paint job caught my eye in its subtelty.
The mid-cen typeface had enough heft to show well on the boom and the color would work on both light and dark surfaces without being overwhelming.
The boat splashed in July 2018, but at about the same time the owner acquired the HY boat yard and would have his custom 62 become the standard bearer for the firm, so we remained under wraps until the company was officially launched.
She's a gorgeous boat - well thought throughout - local woods for the joinery - lovely accommodations, yet a sailor's machine! All carbon, long boarded and sleek. The tops in systems and rigging. A careful sense to visibility and rigging location. A quite beautiful blend of high tech, comfort and performance!