Brand identity is nowadays very important for the development of brands and projects, playing a key role in their success. Many aspects are going to be linked to that identity and occasionally not enough attention is being paid to it. No doubt, that is a big mistake and something that we would like to have a conversation about.
This interview, although might seem a bit off-topic compared to our regular editorial line, is directly related to what we like and are passionate about. For that reason, we believe it is very interesting and worth sharing it with our readers.
We are talking about Last Leaders, the alter ego of Victor Bercero. He is an illustrator, graphic designer, and creative mind with a never-ending list of projects related to sport and of course, cycling.
Artist by nature
Victor was attracted to everything related to graphic arts from a very young age, he confesses, and he found a clear path for his professional career very soon. He was very interested in music and immersed in the graffiti scene for several years. Just after he finished his studies, he went on to the professional world, working as a designer for several companies. Meanwhile, as he gained experience and grew professionally, he usually was helping friends as a hobby, with projects that they brought to him and captured Victor’s attention. Friendship and willingness to help was always the main reason, and he would end up being a very active part and dedicating big amounts of time and effort to make the best out of each idea that ended up on his desk.
“In my free time I was designing for my friends. They paid little to nothing but those were projects in which I gave everything. Not all of them, but indeed some of them brought me a lot of visibility and that, in a sense, helped me in my career.”
Among all these ideas that ended up in Last’s hands, there was one that without any doubt was an inflection point: Pedalea o Revienta. That was a very crazy idea, created by a group of urban cyclists (some of them, Victor’s friends) that would challenge themselves with very long distances on fixed-gear bikes. Back then, the fixed gear fever was at its highest and the project gained a lot of traction and drawed a lot of attention. At that point was when Last Leaders – the way it is known today- started being popular on social media, especially thanks to an Instagram profile containing a big part of Victor’s portfolio. A profile that was actually created by a friend without Victor actually knowing in the beginning.
The importance of values
Last Leaders is well known for the creativity and uniqueness that he applies to his logos, however, what really stands out is his ability to develop the complete brand identity. He has a special talent to understand his client’s inputs and the message that holds them together, later projecting an idea that would end up building a unique and tangible concept.
“I believe it is more important to be unique and real than just strive to be beautiful following a trend.”
He is loyal to his values and very energetic in the way he explains his ideas. He actively listens to his customers and works hard to advise, guide and discuss everything that is necessary to go past the initial idea of the customer and impress his dose of uniqueness and originality. His main purpose is to transmit his philosophy, building and maintaining a genuine identity, which is what will in the end represents not only the product but the team behind it.
“The values that I defend are culture, family and effort. Culture brings new capabilities, family protects you and also is worth fighting for, and effort is what brings you where you want to go.”
Victor confesses that he loves problem-solving. Most of the time, a client starts by explaining an initial idea, and as a professional, he has to be able to help the customer to express what she really wants and needs, which usually are not the same thing.
“Many agencies work very differently, always trying to be friendly, making a nice presentation so that they get paid quickly and can start another project. That is not my style, and those who have worked with me know very well. Sorry not sorry.”
The biggest challenge is bringing the client to understand which option is good for them and to make their idea shine. As part of the process, Victor strives to build a relationship with all the people he works with and, if needed, he adopts a critical approach in which the customer is not always right, because his main purpose is to help the customer’s project to become a success story. There is this Henry Ford’s sentence that Victor makes his own: “Had I asked my customer what they wanted, they would have answered a faster horse.”
Throughout all these years, we have seen logos, letterings, posters and designs of all sorts with Last Leaders’ stamp on them, because in one way or another, he has been linked to many projects that have had a remarkable relevance.
While we had this interview, Victor explained that he could possibly group most of his work into three big groups: sport, specialty coffee, and lifestyle.
In the sports category, he had the opportunity to work on projects such as Protour BCN, lead by the ex-professional cyclist Alberto Losada. Victor has invested much time helping them with the brand identity, clothing design, the shop itself and even organizing some events under the Classic Experience name. He has also worked for Akaw Surfskates and done some collaborations with Summa Branding, one of the most important agencies in the sector. Lately, he has also supported Gobik, one of the best seller cycling apparel brands, designing clothing and producing the communication campaign of the Mestizo collection, a new range of products focused on gravel and born from the collaboration with Juan Antonia Flecha and Gobik.
Even ourselves, as a magazine, had the opportunity to count on Victor as part of the team during a period of time and he helped us improve our image and strengthen the brand that we know today as RAW Magazine.
In the coffee sector, we shall highlight big names such as Café de Finca, a project in which he was very deeply involved for many years and a masterpiece of brand identity. Some time later, he also worked with businesses such as Hidden Coffee Roasters, Pantastic Ibiza, or Harmony Coffee Roasters.
Last but not least, some of the projects related to lifestyle include Terpy Barcelona, Leaders, Iván García Cortina, o Flecha, the personal brand of Juan Antonio Flecha, the ex-professional cyclist, commentator, and now also content creator.
In addition to everything that we have already mentioned, Victor is also an entrepreneur himself. Besides Last Leaders, he has some of his own personal projects that have also been part of his professional evolution. The most recent, with the name CUP Coffee (Coffee Union Place. Specialty coffee shop), was started just a few months ago, a small specialty coffee shop in his own town, Castelldefels. There you can find coffee, sport, and design. A very recommendable visit.