Meet the twin graphic artists shaking up the London design scene

With their bold aesthetic and colorful vision, the Yarza twins are putting their stamp on everything from buildings to vodka bottles.

By Garage Staff — March 13, 2018

When Eva and Marta Yarza were 18, they saved a bread factory in their hometown of Vigo, Spain. By organizing a campaign that gathered 5,000 signatures, the twins gained landmark status for the building’s brutalist architecture.

But eight years later, despite its sweeping views of the sea, the building remained empty. So the twins, now 29 years old and working as graphic designers in London, got busy again. They developed an imaginative branding campaign that cast the building as a cultural and arts center — including imaginary member cards, marketing for upcoming exhibitions, stationary, business cards and books — to help others see its potential. Spurred on, the city council launched a contest, choosing two Spanish architects to rehabilitate the building.

Their playful, vibrant campaign put the young duo on the map, generating buzz in the industry press and launching their independent design house, Yarza Twins Studio, in London.

Eva Yarza, holding her hair as a mustache, and her twin sister Marta in their London design studio.

Courtesy of Eva and Marta Yarza

Eva Yarza, holding her hair as a mustache, and her twin sister Marta in their London design studio.

Twin powers: Engineering meets graphic design

Art has always driven the sisters. They grew up drawing — by age 3, they say, pencils were an extension of their hands — and collaborating. At age 9, they decided together to create the longest drawing in the world, getting as far as three yards.

After Spain’s economic crash put the kibosh on their hopes of starting careers there, Eva and Marta headed for London — even though neither spoke great English. Marta, who had just gotten her degree in construction engineering in Madrid, joined Eva at London’s Central Saint Martins, where they each got a master’s in graphic communication design.

Together, the Yarza twins have tackled illustration, typography and branding projects. They’ve created the official typeface for the world’s first electric car street-racing series, a sound-reactive alphabet and 3D-inspired music posters.

When asked to describe their aesthetic, they laugh. “Some people have defined it as ‘bubblegum’” says Eva. “As designers, we wish not to have an aesthetic, but as humans, we know that’s pretty impossible. We would say we try to reach harmony in a number of ways to create new and unique results. Our work follows the K.I.S.S. Principle: Keep It Simple, Stupid!” That mantra has garnered them awards and landed them on Print Magazine’s 2016 list of the 15 most exciting visual artists under 30 worldwide.

It’s little wonder, then, that when HP went looking for fresh designers this fall to help the company showcase its new software  — created specifically to get the juices of independent designers flowing — the company reached out to the Yarzas.

Inspired by the classic Smirnoff 21 brand, the award-winning Yarza design team used the HP SmartStream D4D software to create unique labels.

Courtesy of HP

Inspired by the classic Smirnoff 21 brand, the award-winning Yarza design team used the HP SmartStream D4D software to create unique labels.

A tool with endless possibilities

In partnership with Smirnoff, Eva and Marta created a modern, color-popping concept to show off the personalization chops of Designer 4 Designers (D4D), a slimmed-down version of the HP SmartStream software used by major brands, such as Coca-Cola, to customize products. Riffing on the iconic Smirnoff 21 branding, the Yarza twins designed 21 characters, 21 hats and 21 bodies that they then mixed and matched using D4D software to dish up a virtually endless number of unique labels.

Using the Yarza twins’ work as an example, HP invited other indie designers to help test and provide feedback for refining the software. Soon it will be made available more broadly as an advanced tool to customize and personalize packaging. “Brands have to work harder to engage with their consumers these days,” says Nancy Janes, HP’s Global Head of Brand Innovation, Imaging & Printing. “This software has everything they need to help them engage more intimately with their consumers, and surprise and delight them.”

From cutting-edge software to their hometown bread factory, the Yarza twins see inspiration all around them. “We really want to make emotional connections in all our projects,” explains Eva, who says their design ambitions range from big dreams, including designing a building and making a movie, to more intimate ones, such as crafting just an element of a street, such as a street lamp or a park bench. “We don’t want to just do design, we want to make it exciting,” says Eva. “And we want to do that through beauty and concept,“ adds Marta.


Learn more about HP SmartStream D4D.