A master of the graphic and visual language of Spain, creative agency Dvein thrives on art direction, live action, animation and CGI, all with a playful drive.
It all started as a game, when Teo Guillem and Fernando Domínguez entertained themselves by making drawings in high school. Their friendship continued at a fine arts academy, where they decided to create a signature name for the classwork they developed together. Fueled by both innocence and raw creativity, they decided to enter the work world together, and were later joined by Carlos Pardo Ros.
One of Pardo and Guillem’s first projects was designing the opening titles for Festival OFFF, Barcelona’s international culture, art and digital design festival, in 2006. The festival was attended by Kyle Cooper of Prologue Films, who after seeing their work invited them to Los Angeles to work at his company.
Eventually, the desire to devote their time to personal projects led them back to Barcelona to open Dvein.
“We were looking for freedom to create and this was the only way,” says Guillem.
Dvein is based on a set of letters from an invented title, Diseñadores venidos del infierno (Designers From Hell), inspired, in turn, by Pantera’s album Cowboys From Hell.
The agency’s first project came in 2007. It was the visual design for the runway of Diesel’s Liquid Space fashion show, and used holograms to showcase the new collection. The projections portrayed a futuristic world where underwater creatures merged with the models.
One of the Dvein’s milestones was designing National Geographic’s Think Again campaign that used an organic and liquid style to present different perspectives, creating metaphors via a journey that led the viewer into the depths of everyday objects. For example, different textures and strands transformed to reveal a kitchen sponge or an ice cube.
“The interesting thing for us was to narrow down our fantasy universe into something that could be perceived as real,” says Guillem.
“The task required having a great handle on [designing in] 3D that was perfectly executed by Dvein, which approaches projects with a comprehensive view,” says Mariano Barreiro, vice president Global Branding, National Geographic Partners.
Dvein worked again with National Geographic in 2017 for its global rebrand, based on the concept Further.
“The client wanted to demonstrate how humans reach ever further, choosing to continue on after achieving a goal,” says Pardo.
The concept was materialized in different worlds—inspired by Arctic, Martian and underwater settings—and shot in locations such as Iceland and the Spanish island of Lanzarote.
In each case, a 20-second fixed frame shows an individual walking towards a goal—represented by a yellow vertical line from the National Geographic logo—and crossing it.
The spots evoke a cinematic beauty, supported by a 2:35 cinemascope format.
“We sought to explain how the vastness of nature can overwhelm humans and how they can, in turn, overcome it,” says Pardo.
“The challenge did not involve a single technique, but a blend of creative resources. The IDs had to raise the quality and storytelling of National Geographic through carefully thought out and beautiful images. Dvein was key in the execution,” says Barreiro.
Another project that was instrumental for Dvein was conceiving and designing a branding campaign for Spanish cable channel Odisea in 2011. The campaign’s initial concept was “See your world differently,” which ended up evolving into “One world. Your view.” The idea was to represent the meaning of the documentary genre and its intrinsic take on discovery.
Dvein created a spot that symbolized the ability to observe.
“The periscope represents Odisea’s way of discovering the world, which, as a documentary channel, allows viewers to see further,” says Pardo.
The pieces are a mix of contrasting views between the periscope, the spectator and nature where places are not what they seem, such as in the promo below in which a forest turns out to be a fish tank inside a room.
Dvein also created idents s for the Science Channel in 2013, creating fictitious natural environments based on insects, erosion and different surfaces that, when combined, appear real.
“We wanted to go beyond the real world [of science] and take it to a more imaginary plane. The objective was to create universes that do not exist and that, thanks to the richness of their textures and the type of camera movements, the viewer can perceive as feasible,” says Guillem.
Expanding to Other Fields
Dvein’s portfolio also features artistic experimentation in other areas such as this traditional advertisement created for Adobe:
“The client wanted us to boost their brand, and we wanted its brand to boost our work, so we gave the project a twist to take it more to our side. Since we wanted to make a video clip, we created a music video for a band called The Vein, playing with our name Dvein, and we introduced Adobe’s logo in the spot,” Guillem says.
The piece illustrates a theme called Magma that uses liquid textures to evoke both a rocky mass and blood. As lava flows through the landscape, it becomes the face of a man, aligning with Dvein’s narrative, in which places are not what they seem.
Another project in 2016 for French fashion designer Jean-Paul Gaultier was a turning point as it included directing actors and leading a large production, which was new for the studio.
The client wanted to turn the tin containing Jean-Paul Gaultier’s perfume bottles into a factory, inspired by the magical world of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
“It was a very ambitious project, with a lot of post-production and three days of shooting with several actors on stage that had to be choreographed,” says Pardo.
Recently, Dvein collaborated with Spain’s Espadaysantacruz Studio for skincare company Shiseido’s Waso line of natural products, based on Washoku, a Japanese culinary tradition that seeks to harness the power of seasonal ingredients.
Dvein’s spot combined nature, innovation and technology to create sculptures, showcasing the power of Waso’s botanical ingredients.
“This fusion of nature and innovation is the intersection where Shiseido lies. We wanted to create a piece that would represent the luxury of the brand and its Japanese heritage and we needed a director who understood all this. Dvein are not only artists, but also innovators,” says Azsa West, creative director at W + K Tokyo.
Entering the World of Movies
Dvein is currently represented by production companies across the world, such as Garlic in Spain, and is pursuing cinematic experimentation. Pardo is working on his first feature film, while Guillem is presenting Mudanza contemporánea (Contemporary Moving), his first short film, in several festivals.
That direction is somewhat serendipitous,since Dvein’s logo resembles a celluloid film strip.
“We created the logo in a moment in which the studio was working a lot with organic elements and the paradox is that we are now moving towards cinema,” says Guillem. “It was quite visionary.”
Version español: Creative Review: Dvein