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Kiwie Bubble Gum Collection

By Charles Purdy

Self-described “hybrid artist” Kiwie says that when he was a child growing up in a small village in Latvia, receiving a piece of Turbo Bubble Gum was a special treat. He remembers, “That one day I received three Turbo Bubble Gums from my father, I went around the town to show off to all my friends, as if I’d received the newest iPhone before the release.” Memories like this fueled his Kiwie Bubble Gum collection—a fun, personal visual identity system, based on the original Turbo identity. Kiwie used the identity to create posters, packaging for custom stickers, apparel, and even a video commercial. 

In a recent post on Behance, Kiwie, whose graffiti artwork is well known on the streets of Riga, Latvia, where he makes his home, explained why and how he created the Kiwie Bubble Gum collection—a project that involved Adobe After Effects CC, Illustrator CC, and a fair bit of spray paint.

The idea for the Kiwie Bubble Gum collection arose from Kiwie’s need to create new stickers. Wanting a fresh concept for the stickers, he remembered that the bubblegum brands of his youth used to come with collectible pictures folded inside the packaging—so what if he used that gum packaging shape as a way to deliver his stickers? Then he realized that “Kiwie” and “Turbo” have the same number of letters. He says, “That was the point when the chain reaction started, where the first concept seed was created by simply connecting two dots: new Kiwie stickers and Turbo Bubble Gum. The same day I found on eBay, and ordered, five original Turbo Bubble Gums. I had to see them in my hands.”

Turbo Bubble Gum was originally manufactured in Turkey; it ceased production in 2007.

As Kiwie immersed himself in research into Turbo, more ideas came. He says, “I wanted this collection to be contemporary in the very core and pushed my limits to make it look different from anything I have done before.”

When his eBay order of original Turbo Bubble Gum arrived, he analyzed every minute detail of the packaging. He wanted to stay very true to the original design.

Turbo Bubble Gum came with pictures of cool cars inside; Kiwie wanted to deliver his custom-artwork stickers the same way.

Kiwie felt that it was very important to stay close to the original design—he challenged himself to retain the Turbo look and feel while making something that also felt modern. 

Kiwie ended up creating a whole line of Kiwie Bubble Gum products—T-shirts (that come in a bubblegum-inspired box), posters, pins, and more. “While designing the first items, again and again I came up with new products and new item ideas,” he says. “I’m always amazed at how the mind works.”

Kiwie was even inspired to create a Kiwie Bubble Gum collection commercial reminiscent of old Turbo ads. (Click to watch.)

Learn more about this project (including how to get your own Kiwie gear—not the skatebord though: it is one of a kind), and check out all the Kiwie sticker inserts, too, on Behance.