Husband and wife duo Chris and Terri met in New York in September of 2002. Chris was working as an interior designer and project manager for the owners of an upmarket gentleman’s club in Manhattan and Terri was busy launching a South African jewellery brand for Anglo Gold at New York Fashion Week.
"We were a couple of thirty something designers in New York, who would meet up at the Hudson hotel, just to hang out and have fun. As a result, we ended up smitten not only with each other, but also with each other’s good taste in art, fashion and design"
After a few months of long distance phone calls, the two creatives agreed to quit their jobs and set up a design agency of their own. Chris made the bold move to fly from London to Johannesburg and the following day, Terri handed in her resignation as Design Director of TBWA South Africa.
"You can never have too many dream projects!" says Chris. "But it was nothing more than a nice idea until we both returned home from New York feeling inspired, and Terri said ‘Let’s just do it, together, as a joint venture.’ We had no capital or a business plan, just the passion and drive to make it happen."
Since 2003, Chris and Terri have developed a reputation for doing business globally. Chris is originally a functional sculptor and a conceptual artist, making one off pieces of furniture. When they met, he had been designing wacky interiors for about 10 years. But Terri saw the potential of turning Chris into a brand developer and a creative director. The first thing the design duo did was find a good intellectual property lawyer. Then they began to craft a series of hybrid style brands of their own that gained them swift recognition, influenced by pop art and the various 90’s graffiti art expressed in Europe and New York. Since then, they have branched out, creating and producing a range of their own brands that they promise to launch in the near future.
"We have worked together for almost two decades on a multitude of commercial projects and self-initiated product lines and are now super happy to bring everything together into one world. Welcome to our universe," explains Terri.
Chris and Terri, aka Brand Republica, have designed everything from an Alessi style corkscrew for Portuguese tourism to an app that helps you find your keys. Now living together in a warehouse/art studio near Lisbon, they told us why Portugal is one of their favourite places in the world.
"We met in New York a year after 9/11. There were policemen running around everywhere and gun shots after dark. Then we lived together in Johannesburg, which made New York look like a kinder garden. Eventually we decided to up sticks and move to Portugal, which is like the complete opposite to anywhere we have ever lived. We can walk our dogs along the beach, go to sleep at night without putting the alarms on… and even help our neighbours rescue the odd goat!" they explain.
Today this husband-and-wife duo work collaboratively to create highly imaginative paintings and drawings for both illustration and the fine art market. They are obsessed with art and making thoughtful images. The fine art thinking feeds into the design process and helps to keep their brand work looking fresh and original. They are always available to chat and currently offer a variety of creative services, including graphic and web design, art direction, creative consultancy, branding, packaging, product development, animation production and illustration.
"Being from England, I love to discuss the weather - but Terri likes to put a happy spin on my dreary British rain clouds and adds the sunshine into our thinking. We are always up for a chat about creative communication, so call us anytime!"