Previously, Nike had flagged up its NIKEiD service with grids of product photography on the store walls. For this project, it wanted something iconic and abstract that also explained the service.
“We needed to tell the story in a single image,” says Schwarz. “Working in motion-based media, we literally have time on our side – which allows for a story to develop. Creating a single image meant we had to be smart in our approach and figure out how to embed a lot of thinking into one frame.”
After asking Hush to pitch, Nike delivered a crate of customized NIKEiD trainers to the studio, where Hush’s team photographed the shoes from many angles and positions, under a range of lighting conditions.
Nike also supplied cut-up Photoshop files of the shoes’ designs to ensure the team could make the most accurate representation of them possible.
This allowed Hush to focus on the big ideas, and avoid getting bogged down with microscopic Pen-tool surgery. Hush used these elements to create the low-resolution pitch submissions.
After winning the project, the team ditched everything they’d created for the pitch and returned to the elements supplied by Nike to create the final, high-res artworks.
But they needed more research to give the illustrations a slick, photo-realistic depth. For the Splash image, lead designer Laura Alejo investigated how liquids appear when they splash – so that the images would accurately represent the textures, lighting and viscosity of a real shoe hitting water.
The team then meticulously created each wave with its shadow and highlight, and each puddle of colour.
For Stitch, the team delved into the mechanics of shoemaking. Once the images were complete, Nike handled the pre-press production and colour separations, and dealt with the printing of the wall coverings for each store.
Soon after the artworks were installed in Hush’s local Niketown and NIKEiD stores in New York, the team visited the stores to see how the pieces looked.
They were pleased with the results – especially with the efforts taken to make the images fit with the appearance of the rest of the store.
“In the installations we saw in New York, they were printed on metallic surfaces giving them a slick, mechanical quality that worked really well in the space,” says Schwarz.
“Watching people appreciate and view the finished large-format, expertly installed, colours bursting-off-the-wall final product was a very exciting moment for us.”
Project: Two large-format illustrations for Nike stores
Studio: Hush, www.heyhush.com
Software: Adobe Photoshop