When you create a great piece of music it has to be packaged right! Not just the sound but the way you give it a look, from keeping it in line to your brand image to setting the tone on the type of track you want it resonate with the listeners, what it symbolises to the artist and setting the tone on what is music that will be in the world forever. Its the artwork makes it part of a timeless piece and the right piece at the right time can end up being from exported from your laptop to being on billboards worldwide.
So we decided to sit two talented designers who have created artwork for some of the UK’s rising talents and for some tracks that get played in daily rotation from Lancey Foux to SNE.
Both Jojo Sonubi & Ranae Kaira (Pictured above) are graphic designers that have created pieces of work for great UK artists and their music campaigns and they also have their views on how important it is to them creating each piece and they give you examples of work they have made which happen to be some of their favourites and you can take in the contrast in style and the process from both and how they make some of these amazing pieces and who knows one of them could be the one that created artwork to one of your favourite tracks.
What is the first thing you notice when looking at a piece of artwork? Jojo: The title of the project, it’s gotta be the most obvious thing unless there’s imagery that takes precedence. However, I feel that if an image is gonna be more prominent than the title of the project, it has to be relevant. That’s just my opinion though.
Ranae: The first thing I usually notice when looking at art are the colours used. I feel as if certain colours put together can either make or break a piece. Also the overall composition, and how well it works and conveys the message.
When creating a piece of artwork what is the message you intend to reach and how do you put your own stamp on the pieces you make? Jojo: I wouldn’t say there’s a message, I just want people to enjoy looking at the artwork you know? Like, if it was printed I’d want them to be inclined to buy it and cherish it. I’d like to think to I’m a minimalist. Well, not by definition but my main aim is to use less text as possible so I guess that’s how I put my stamp on things. Less is more.
RK: I always try my hardest to create meaningful art, so conveying a particular message is very important. I’d say my main aim is to show passion and emotion through each piece – At the moment, I’ve been using a distinctive paint style to try and put my personal style on my work, however I’m planning on changing it up a bit soon.
How important is artwork to you when taking in something like music?
Jojo: If the music is good, it’s got to have the aesthetic to match. An artist would be doing an injustice to their music if the artwork isn’t up to scratch. Good artwork draws people in to pay attention to your stuff – that’s how I found Lil Yatchy.
RK: I think artwork is very important in the music industry as it creates the very first impression before even hearing a song or album. Personally, bad artwork prevents me from really giving a chance to certain artists and listening to their stuff, as I’m expecting the music to be as bad as their cover art.
What have some of your favourite pieces been that you have created and why?
Lancey Foux – PINK (2015)
This is one of my favourites because the title can be understood (for obvious reasons) even though only certain angles of the letters are visible. It took me about 3 drafts to get this result though. This is definitely one of my pieces I’d love to see printed, especially as a vinyl cover.
Once Acen – Beneath (2016)
Ace hit me up with a set of photos he wanted to use for the artwork. Usually when this happens, I’d opt for turning the photos into a stack of polaroids but I had already used that technique twice in 2015 (I don’t like repeating techniques too often). So at the time this job came through, I was listening to TheWeeknd’s old stuff and used the cover art of ‘Trilogy’ as my inspiration for Acen’s EP cover.
When my parties were called #Jojos, I made a conscious effort from #3 to not have my name on the flyer because I felt it didn’t look great to be honest. Therefore I always tried to make the iteration of the party known via the design but in a subtle way. So I made the ‘VI’ in ‘Vibes’ stand out because VI is the Roman numeral for 6, as this was the 6th iteration of #Jojos.
La Braya – Sanity (2016)
As the cover perfectly reflects the movement of the song and portrays the message instantly.
SNE – Tiana Major (2015)
The colours used work so well together and her image adds to make the overall cover really visually pleasing.
Frenzy – Bloodflow (2017)
But the artwork made for the ABOE Project which inspired Frenzy’s Blood Flow is very powerful and has got to be my favourite cover so far.
How do you think the artwork process should be handled by the creative that wants the piece and the one making it?
Jojo: They have to work in tandem. The designer has to feel the music and the artist has to make their vision clear, this is important. It helps the designer because it saves a lot of back and forth, unless the artist gives the designer full creative control.
RK: I feel as if it really depends on the artists, but the ideal setting would be in a creative environment together, sharing and bouncing off of each others ideas. That’s how you get both of the artists’ full potential out in the open.