There’s times within a brand building journey that you have to sit back and admire the creativity of certain individuals. This was no more apparent when I got the chance to work with Benjamin Critton. When I embarked on this brand’s journey over 4 years ago now, my first thought was building an identity that represented what Torsa stood for in the world. For me personally, this was the idea that training and fitness can be the foundation in which you can build your life upon. I wanted Torsa to inspire people to pursue their dreams, their greatness, and do so by creating technically superior products, that also, look and make you feel great. I first became aware of Benjamin’s work when a small US-based sportswear brand popped up in my social for the first time. This brand is no longer small, much in part due to the Creative Direction of Mr Critton. This athletic brand was valued at $110 million in 2018, many attributing it to the brand’s creative direction, in which Benjamin Critton laid all the foundations for.
Benjamin’s list of work is endless, recently designing this epic packaging for byHumanKind. He is one of the most respected graphic and type designers in the industry, and I feel privileged that I got the chance to work with him.
So, I did what any founder would do, I flew out to LA to meet him personally. I quickly learnt that not only is he one of the best graphic designers in the industry, he is also probably the nicest! We hung out at his studio in Silver Lake for the day brainstorming ideas for Torsa and the direction we wanted to take the brand.
Visually, I’ve always gravitated toward brands that are appealing on the eye. I gave Benjamin references from some of my favourite brands, Acne Studios, Aesop, Monocle, Sunnei, and we went from there. The process of creating a strong brand he explained was delving deeper into the why, and building out from there.
After returning to London, Benjamin got to work building out Torsa’s graphic identity for the next few months. The Torsa brand was built upon the concept the “Sun-as-O.” The idea of Ambition is represented by the idealized form of the sun in the sky—implying a seizing-of-the-day (Carpe Diem) via Productivity and Activity.
Torsa Graphic Identity, 2016
The O became the backbone of our graphic identity, and was implemented into our Torsa wordmark, and formed the basis of our logo mark. Although not our primary application on garments, you’ll still see the O used across our styles now, and, in the future.
The journey of the T stitch really only started when Benjamin set out to design the logo mark. This mark, an alternative to the wordmark, was again, built upon the concept of the Sun-as-O. A solid circle with a T intersect, using negative space. This wasn’t simply just a T for Torsa. If you look closely, the T forms the subsection of a track, court, or pitch—a clear nod to our activewear roots.
In essence, we now had two very strong marks that we could have applied to our products as our logo. As a new brand, your immediate thought would probably make yourself known by having your logo clearly articulated for people to see. This was never our thought. I always wanted Torsa to be unique, and in an industry dominated by big logos and attention grabbing slogans, we wanted to do the opposite.
I have always been inspired by brands that can grab you attention through what I like to call “identifiers”—no logos, no slogans, but indicators of a brand without having to see the name. Some of my favourite examples would be the iconic Maison Margiela stitching, Acne Studio’s face patch, Eytys purple tab, and Camper’s unique soles.
And thus, the T stitch was born. Its meaning runs deep—it represents someone who is dedicated to the pursuit of better, to greatness.