As part of a graphic design contest issued by Mercedes-AMG Petronas, Formula 1 driver Valtteri Bottas let his fans design the helmet for the 2018 season. No-one here at Mecca Studio ever had the chance to design a graphic for a racing helmet, so we decided to give it a shot.

Before getting our hands dirty we tried to understand Valtteri as a person more than a racing driver. Interviews and footage found online were instrumental in getting to know him better. From this material the love for his home country was a consistent matter, so it was quite natural for us to dive into this topic.

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Still from Valtteri's interview for Sky Sport F1

The research part then focused on mainly three topics: Finland with its customs and traditions, Valtteri's persona and his helmets during the years. Browsing on the web, it was really interesting to surf on visitfinland.com to read, see and feel what Finland is about. Northern lights were everywhere of course, but also snow, iced lakes, wild forests. Colours are amazing, especially the strong contrast between the snow white and the ever-changing tones of the northern lights.

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A screenshot from visitfinland.com

Regarding Valtteri's past helmets, the recurrent design features two main colours, white and blue, with a red line that contours shapes. It's plane, simple, silent. We wanted to keep this simplicity, while introducing a little flair to reference his homeland and at the same time add a little bit of dynamism to the design. The intuition that a gradient between the Petronas green and Valtteri's signature blue was a clear representation of the northern lights was instrumental in going forward. In the end the helmet features this gradient, along with a strong presence of white and blue, to reference not only Finland and Valtteri, but also the team itself with its colours. We also noticed that Valtteri didn't have a strongly characterised logo, so we decided to borrow from the finnish culture the hannunvaakuna and united it with Valtteri's signature and number to create a fresh new one.

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The result is both essential and energetic and tries to tribute Finland while representing the driver's attitude of being quiet and reserved as a person as well as cold-blooded and cutting edge as a racing driver. The winner of the contest will be announced on the 29th of January. Fingers crossed!

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