Fisher Classics | First XI
A lockdown project that grew and grew and started a whole new opportunity.
A journalist friend of ours happened to be travelling with the Ashes Tour and covering the 2019 series. HIs instagram was full of fantastic images that he was taking behind the scenes. He dumped a stack of images on us after we asked if we could have a bit of a play with them.
We’d been looking at all sorts of inspiration over the summer of 2019-20. A lot of the work of Matt Stevens and a stack of sports designers in the UK covering football, mostly.
Adam returned to cover the summer of cricket and I bailed him up with some initial layouts for the concept. Fair to say he was excited about the idea and wanted to explore it further.
This was the start of Fisher Classics.
March 2020 brought a screeching halt to almost everything in Melbourne and we found ourselves with a huge amount of idle time.
In between zoom calls and daily pressers (‘are we right to go?’) we ended up taking photos of paperback books and going deep on digital compositing channels on YouTube.
A few pitches with Adam over these months lead to the development of a brand name and identity.
This really had become a project that touched all parts of design. From the branding, to the social media and key compositing, we had a project to keep us occupied in lockdown.
Fisher Cricket bats were a hand crafted and unique cricket gear company that were huge when our artist Dan was a young lad playing park cricket in Melbourne in the 1990’s. The bat latherer created bats that were totally iconic and resonated individual craftsmanship.
Penguin Classics were the design and creative inspiration of the stories that these artworks would tell.
This simple combination would tell our audience what this project was about; creativity, craft, stories, sport, classic design.
We now had Fisher Classics
After using a number of Adams fantastic photos we got to searching and made contact with Treflyn, an amateur photographer and cricket nuffie from the UK. He was ok for us to use his images and we finally had a set to begin the series we decided to call our ‘First XI’
Growing up Dan has been surrounded by the books that his Dad purchased almost weekly from second hand book stores. This served as the inspiration for the layout and format.
A couple of tutorials from Matt Lamont (his insta accounts are well worth a follow) and it was time to fire of the designs.
This was easily the most foolhardy lockdown purchase that anyone could have made. With almost zero accumen, Fisher Classics bought a tank of a printer from EBay.
To say there was a learning curve is an understatement.
Printing anything is difficult at the best of times but getting what is produced on a bright monitor to look the same as on a semi-gloss archival paper is a long, considered and arduous process that we were totally under prepared for.
The good news (yep, we were still in lockdown) was that we had time to work it out. We were still in lockdown and still working on this project.
The excitement to see our test prints working is a joy that cannot be described. We were nearly ready to go.
‘Mate, just put it out there would ya?’ This was the advice from our dear friend. We’d tinkered with the designs, the printing, the site and the branding for an incredibly long time.
A quick email to Adam and a few tweets later we were live with our First XI on sale online.
The first 24 hours was incredible. Orders from Amsterdam, India, the USA and the UK came in.
A connection from one of our sales put us in touch with the Cricketer. Two weeks later we had shipped our first batch of prints to them to sell on their store.
Managers of a couple of players got in touch to ask for prints of their players.
A contact put an Australian cricketer directly in touch who was thrilled to receive a print. Was cool to have them get in touch to say thank you.
We marched on to Christmas of 2020 with a number of orders coming in to keep us learning about our (now second) printer and running improvements to the site.
Off and running
And so Fisher Classics was up and running after close to a years worth of production. We had the basis of what was required for an international art business and a concept that had gained some traction.
Fair to say the attention and engagement on this initial series surprised us a bit but we have been incredibly grateful that a personal project like this could bring so much learning and so much fun!