Design Legends - Andy and Rusty

It’s such a common phrase now, I’m sick of hearing it, “the new normal”. Working from home, Zoom meetings, home isolation, and more than healthy amounts of emails. The Loyal Workshop’s been doing it longer than what COVID forced upon us.

For over 5 years, The Loyal Workshop has had two designers corresponding across the oceans. One in Motueka, New Zealand and the other in Sydney, Australia.

Andriano (Andy) and Russell (Rusty) have been the geniuses behind the last 5 products we call the Activist range (Rosa, Oscar, Dorothy, Laptop Sleeves and a Key Fob coming soon!).

Andy is a creative mastermind. His creative scope seems like it has no end, yet he can reign in that wild imagination and work within the tight constraints we face in Kolkata. Andy has been part of the  Loyal family from the very beginning. He created our branding, logos, and our first website. A total legend. Find him here!

The Loyal Workshop gives Andy a design brief and from that he produces concepts and initial sketches on Adobe Illustrator with specs for Rusty to convert into laser cutter files.

Russell is one of those rare humans who can make anything. If you can think it, he can make it. He builds the product design files with a combination of KeyShot and Adobe Illustrator. He’s also been using Solidworks to develop a custom made hardware which we’ll be using on our upcoming Key Fob. While being super talented, Russell also happens to be an incredibly nice guy. I know, some people are just too much!

The Loyal Workshop receives the cutting files from Rusty and converts the files to our CAD program that drives our laser cutters. Our laser cutter technician, Tapas, completes the first prototype with cardboard. From that, we check if it matches up and fits together. Every single stitch hole is cut, counted, and paired with its corresponding piece to match perfectly. From this cardboard sample we can give feedback to Rusty and Andy about any issues that can be seen.

Once early issues are resolved, our production manager, Mithu, selects some rough low quality leather and from that cuts the first leather prototype. That’s when we start getting really excited! Again, the various leather pieces are paired, holes are counted and if everything looks right the leather parts go to our master stitcher, another Mithu, for the first prototype to be made.

Sometimes these first samples are almost perfect but more often than not some editing is necessary. Stitching holes need aligning, the design needs scaling or something just doesn’t quite work. Back to the team in the Southern Hemisphere. Andy and Rusty put their long distance digital heads together and problem solve the challenges and create new files for The Loyal Workshop to cut. This back and forth can go on for months, add lockdowns into the mix, and it can stretch out for over a year!

Throughout the struggle, Rusty and Andy have shown incredible resilience and extraordinary patience. Their creativity, skill and commitment have created beautiful, artisan quality products which we’re truly proud of. Their work is an important part of our fight for freedom and the healing journey for our women.

As our new designer Erika settles in Kolkata and begins to bring her own flavour and touch to the process, we want to honour and thank these two legends, Russell and Andy, for all the hard work they’ve poured into The Loyal Workshop. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you. Not that they’re going anywhere, they continue to be part of the Loyal family as they offer their support and expertise. Once Loyal family, always Loyal family.

- Paul

 A personal note from both of them;

"Having being part of the Loyal story from the word go has been a special journey indeed.  From the early days crafting the logo, the first website & finally culminating in a product range with a clear design language is worth a mention. Most of all it's the friends who are now family that we have made along the way that we treasure most. A big shout out to Russel in particular who has poured in hours in refinements behind the scenes that ensures every piece from the activist range remains true to TLW values." – Andriano

"Design has been an interesting intersection for me. When it comes to ‘products that make a difference’, usually the designer and the end user are quite far removed from each other. There’s little interaction between the two. That’s what’s made Loyal special. During my trip to Kolkata in 2016, I was able to meet the women who stitched the products, and see the impact firsthand that Loyal has made in their lives. This, paired with meeting kind-hearted, talented people who have now become my Loyal family, such as Andy, Paul, and Sarah, have been an absolute highlight." – Russell


Paul, Sarah, Kay and Russell meeting in Kolkata
The first time Russell met us in Kolkata.
Russell and Andriano working on the Rosa Tote
Pretending to work on the Activist Range in Andy's home.