David Mesfin Art Production
Wade In The Water
Into the Depths
Logo, Main Title
A Storied Legacy
Inspired by his undying love for surfing and experience of being confronted with racial issues both on land and sea, award-winning creative director and multidisciplinary designer David Mesfin embarked on a mission to inspire the next generation of Black surfers by connecting them to the powerful, resilient roots of their storied legacy. And thus Wade in the Water: A Journey into Black Surfing and Aquatic Culture was born. Upon completion of his film, Mesfin sought out help on the creation of a main title sequence and logo alongside a light graphic package. And that’s where Royale stepped in.
Spiritually In Tune
Surfing has existed along the coast of Africa from Senegal to Angola over a thousand years ago, but this forgotten past has been tragically overlooked by the modern world. With such a rich history at Wade in the Water’s core, we knew the main title sequence had to encapsulate the spiritual connection that is present throughout the documentary. At one point in the film a surfer mentions his rejection of the surface and intention to go deeper, highlighting a key theme of looking deep within yourself to find your identity. Together with Mesfin, we embraced this idea in our visual narrative of a surfer baptized by the water who navigates the depths of the sea and encounters the African water spirit Mami Wata (Mother Water), who helps guide them on their journey of looking deep within to find themselves.
We looked to African and African American Art to influence art style, landing upon a minimalistic painterly style that evokes harmony and peacefulness. There’s a visual contrast during the surfer’s journey with the surface of the water depicting a bright, flat, and sunny composition, but all that changes underwater where things get richer and more complex as they descend deeper into the ocean – a metaphorical representation of our central theme.
Past the Point Break
In many ways, the intention for Mesfin’s Wade in the Water documentary was to connect the African American community – specifically, the Black surfing community – to their 1,000-year-old roots in Africa. As such a powerful educational tool, our main goal was to metaphorically amplify the film’s multi-layered themes during its introductory moments on screen.