A lovely client had purchased a Dufour 512 located in Charleston, SC - as part of a big move from the West Coast in CA to the East Coast.  The boat was originally of Dutch registry and named MOKEN after one of the last - if not the only - remaining nomadic seafaring tribes that plies the waters in the Andaman Sea between Myanmar and Thailand. They are seasonal in nature, taking refuge in stilt housing on the beach during the monsoon and spearfishing over sizable distances using all hand made apparatus - boats, oars, spears - everything.  Their renown derives from generations of spearfishing - without the aid of masks or googles. They have developed eyesight unique in the world.  They can see 75 feet underwater with the naked eye.  The owner wanted to celebrate this special group of people.
The creative brief was pretty straightforward - honor the notionality of the Moken tribe, and make it vibrant and colorful!  So we set to work researching the culture and art of this unique tribe. We put together a portfolio of some sketch notes, and photos related to the tribe, then met with the client to discuss themes.  A couple of ideas stood out, the hand hewn spears used to fish, and a haunting photo shot from 15' below the water's surface of a tribe member on the hunt for fish. These ideas would frame the comp's we developed.
To work for this composition, we'd need to refine some elements of the profile view of the swimmer.  In the photo, the flowing water made the delineation between his hair and head and neck indiscernible. We'd need to correct that, along with the shape of the hand holding the spear and non-symmetry of the bottom of his shorts.  There were artifacts as well in the photo of his toe shapes.
We didn't want to interfere too much with the photo, but needed to give this bloke a neck and some shoulders.  We created a head profile with him looking downward into the water surveying his prey. and redefined the shorts to give the notion of a complete article of clothing.  We fixed up some items in his feet, and separated the spear from the feet to make it more balanced.  But we kept the rough hewn depiction of the spear.
Over the course of evolving the comp's, the spear took on a stronger meaning than the swimmer. While it would have been great to maintain the rough hewn look of the spear, we had to keep in mind the FUNCTION of this graphic, which was to adorn a naming treatment.  So we set up the spear symmetrically to work as an adjunct article to the overall graphic, and created some selects of spear treatments.
In some ways, the cart had come a bit before the horse, so we packaged up some full sets of comp's with the various spear treatments to get to the client, before we went too far down a well of over focus on an adjunct item.  We needed to present a range of treatments to narrow down this client's sense of lettering, color, and form.  We had three.  A very color-palette oriented treatment with engineered lettering, another with intricate tribal patterns on engineered lettering, and one with hand drawn lettering in black with colored tribal pattern overlays.   We really liked the first one with the lettering split by the trident and center sections in opposing colors. The palette was bright and vibrant.
The owner liked the color array, but wanted tribal patterning on the letters.  We fashioned up a tribal pattern set and created whipping for the trident handle.  Initially we had done each letter in a different color, but 5 different color sets plus the patterning detail were too much.  We standardized on a single color set for all 5 letters.
We also presented the hand drawn lettering version with patterned stroking in vivid colors and naif forms. A few renditions of this treatment were created and the owner settled on a pattern set that included a combination of simple and intricate patterns.  Each of the patterned lines were drawn with the pencil tool to give it that look of imperfection, and over 40 different brush patterns were created to apply to the pencil stroking. Some tweaking on the size of the trident and pushing the CMYK values in the color palette to the brightest levels possible for each hue. The bright orange and cyan were balanced out with a chartreuse and plum for the final palette.
We also did a T-shirt design with angled lettering and an extended "K" and included the swimmer in the art.
Can't wait to see this boat done up. And I LOVE when people care about their boat, and provide very direct and meaningful feedback. This owner did, making her magic to work with.  
Back to Top