Amber Day on illustrating the new collaboration between TAG Heuer and Malbon

Globe-trotting illustrator Amber Day, AKA VISBII, has created her own unique spin on the Malbon mascot in a new collaboration which pairs up the golf character with luxury watch manufacturer TAG Heuer. We caught up with her to hear how she created it across time zones and how the pitch went better than expected.

We’re big fans of Amber Day at Creative Boom, having previously explored the psychology of her work and how she tackles the physicality of emotion, so we were excited to hear that she’s back with a new project that pairs luxury watches with golf in her inimitable style.

Titled TAG Heuer x Malbon, the collaboration involves the creation of a luxury watch for golfers and a small capsule collection of athletic wear. To help bring it all to life, Amber was asked to create a character based on Malbon’s mascot, Bucket, as well as design a fully illustrated world for him to live in.

“My goal was to fuse the timeless luxury of TAG Heuer with Malbon’s innovative, yet classic, golf aesthetic to create a vibrant and funky universe that appeals not only to golfers but also to non-golfers like myself,” Amber tells Creative Boom. “We ended up creating animated videos and ads combining illustrations with lifestyle photography and giant storefront displays. It was amazingly fun!”

Amber’s involvement came about after being approached by Alter Bureau, a creative agency based in France. “I believe TAG hired them to direct the project, and they thought my style was striking and versatile enough to blend the two brands to create something new,” she explains.

“I’ve been a fan of TAG Heuer forever, but I had to look up Malbon as I am not heavy into golf. It took about a week to get final approval from both brands, and all the paperwork was signed, and we kicked it off.”

To Amber’s surprise, the brief for the collaboration was surprisingly loose. She suspects this was because they wanted to give her as much freedom as possible to put her stamp on the character of Bucket and the world he would live in.

“I was thrilled to hear this after our first meeting, then realised I didn’t know anything about golf!” she adds. “I spent a few days watching videos about properly swinging a club, how golfers move with the equipment, and courses in Palm Springs.

“I was all teed up to pitch the first round of sketches to both brands (about 40 people across the globe), and I was mortified when Malbon told me I had Bucket’s glove on the wrong hand. I had also just flown from Bangkok to Phoenix, was jet lagged, running high on caffeine, and was talking so fast I had to stop mid-presentation to catch my breath. I remember getting off the call thinking I had completely blown it; then the art director texted me a thumbs up and a smiley face. Saved by the art.”

Amber’s art ensured she landed the pitch, but as she suggests, it wasn’t a pair of gloves that proved to be the most challenging part of the process. It was making sure she didn’t miss the all-important meetings. “During four months working on this project, I was living in Bangkok, Lisbon, Manhattan, and Phoenix and was constantly updating my time zone,” she reveals.

“I was also working almost daily with teams in Paris, Switzerland, Manhattan, and LA, as well as a design, photography and animation team all running different parts of the project. I got used to taking conference calls at 2 am and turning revisions around at breakneck speed to ensure I didn’t miss a deadline or slow anyone else down.”

On the other end of the scale, Amber says that the best part of the collaboration was that both Malbon and TAG Heuer wanted her to draw everything 100% in her style. “Sometimes I have clients who will send over briefs with other artists’ work and explain that they want something similar drawn, but in my style, which can be extremely confusing,” she concludes.

“I’ve actually started to turn down work where clients do this or present art they created using AI, which makes my blood boil a bit, honestly. I loved working with the teams at TAG and Malbon as they really focused on making it as VISBII as possible, and I became as much a part of the project as the brands themselves.”

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