Foxall Studio’s Japanese-inspired identity for Castro Smith

Foxall Studio’s identity for jeweller Castro Smith features a striking logotype inspired by Japanese letterforms.

Smith creates jewellery using Japanese engraving techniques. He is a designer-in-residence at Alexander McQueen’s Sarabande Foundation (a charitable trust set up to support young creatives) and his products are stocked in Dover Street Market.

Castro Smith’s website features bold black type and a monochrome colour palette. Large-scale images of products show the details in each design and transitions feature a glitch effect inspired by the etching process.

“We were inspired by Castro and in particular his interesting relationship with tradition,” says Iain Foxall, who founded Foxall Studio with his brother Andrew. “He spent years training at a traditional engravers in London (the company that engraves the winners on the Wimbledon trophy) and then toured Japan learning from old masters. He also references a lot of ancient mythological stories for his designs but the output (and Castro himself) are the definition of the new. Last time we spoke, he was touring motorbike paint shops trying to track down for the perfect black enamel paint to engrave on. Its a really interesting and inspiring mix and we knew the identity had to reflect it.”

“The logo aims to look otherworldly, referencing Japanese letterforms, but purposefully not romantic or nostalgic. The line thickness is intentionally the same throughout. We’re looking forward to seeing it stamped into metal when the edges will become less defined. And when the logo is seen from different angles, it starts to look like shapes rather than letters,” adds Foxall.

Foxall Studio also made some promo videos featuring animated versions of the logo: “We just recorded the logo fixed on our iPhones [and rotated] them around in the dark with black gloves on,” explains Foxall. It is now working on a series of films for Smith which will be shot over the next few months.


Milton Keynes