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We [heart] Musicians

September 16th 2010

OK, full disclosure: Although RJane loves designing no matter the industry, we have a soft spot for music. Maybe it's because the CEO is a musician. Maybe because musicians don't mind going off the beaten path. Whatever the reason, designing for the music industry makes us feel all warm and fuzzy. So it should be no surprise that we've had a very fun couple of months, designing playful album packaging for two bands and one music label.

Singer-songwriter Early Umbrella (a.k.a. Josh Misner—also 1st violinist with Laurels String Quartet) seriously dug our in-house art project in preparation for his solo release, which is a beautiful introspective and organic sound experience that highlights Misner's comforting voice. With Early Umbrella playing in the background, Natalie went to town painting expressions of the music onto blocks of spare wood, developing a family of images that reflect the textures in Misner's arrangements. You can see the version he selected, as well as more info on the project, in our portfolio.

In stark contrast to Early Umbrella's light, gentle album, Balkan party band Orkestar Bez Ime's new release, Mahala Drive, is a darker, more meaty-sounding album than their previous four, in part due to the addition of two new members after one of the founder's departures. The design required a much more gutsy approach than their past trilogy, which had been more folky. With the awesome work of artist Doug Padilla as the backdrop and inspiration, Natalie developed a new look for OBI—both for the album and for their entire brand—that combined the old (tape headings) and new (edgy layout) in a way consistent with OBI's new sound. Check out the portfolio for a peek.

Developing a new album wasn't enough for OBI, however. With all of the changes in the group, they also decided it was time to establish a new independent label, Crackberry Field Recordings, named for the band's tendency to use their smart phones to record folk musicians for stylistic reference. The band wanted something tongue-in-cheek to fit the name of the label. See how we did!

We're always looking to forge new relationships with folks in the music industry and provide design support, so if you are a musician or knows one that could use a brand-smart designer, give us a shout! We'd love to hear from you.