While recently trying to refresh our creativity, we stumbled on SanCrò, the company of a design duo in Florence that’s made rethinking the tourist t-shirt their main mission. It’s no easy task, considering the aesthetic chaos that currently reigns in the sector. We were curious, so we got in touch. What we found were two young guys and old friends who are trying to mix some meaning into the ink before screening it on tees. The graphics are colorful, contemporary takes on timeless Florentine classics: the David, Botticelli’s Venus, and the statue of Dante Alighieri in Santa Croce, the piazza for which the company is named, with its studio just a block from the square.
A print of the artwork stands out in our office as a trophy to good design.
While flipping through their work, though, we were most impressed by another technique SanCrò’s been perfecting: the use of hand-lettering to fuse together words into images. SanCrò has focused on using specific words to pay homage to classic Italian rituals like our favorite, which takes an Italian ritual par excellence, drinking coffee, and renders it into a fusion of words and shapes that are what graphic design should be about. The different fonts come together in the shape of an Italian stove-top coffee maker in a retro-modern masterpiece.
What the untrained eye may miss is the amount of attention that has to go into each detail. Each word has to fold perfectly into a shape, so the right words have to be chosen, and, of course, the right fonts. It’s all done by hand, just sketched onto a sheet of paper. The first sketch is font-less, just a size estimate. Once the image is balanced, the fonts are selected, which, as any designer knows, involves hours of online research. All in all, the process from idea to image is about 10 hours, not including its transformation into a silk screen for printing. The product is a soft, deep grey tee with an impeccably vivid print in white. Oh, and we forgot to say they print everything in the oldest silk-screening press in Florence.
We were so enthusiastic about their product we helped them make this video to give you a glimpse into their creative process and the birth of their graphic entitled MOKA.