One of the things that was most important to me when I started putting Open G Records together was a modern, strong, and distinct art direction. I wanted to emulate great pop labels from the past - labels like Stax/Volt
and Sub Pop
All of those labels had (and in the case of Sub Pop, still has) a really distinct look to all of their releases. Obviously, in 2015 it's not as easy as designing a cool record spinner, but I still wanted to emulate the idea in a fresh and modern way. Ideally, I want people to look at a new release from Open G Records and know that it had to have come from us.
I also believe strongly that the best art comes from singular voices, that the more people you add to the committee of making art, the less special it becomes. I wanted to find an art director I could just hand projects to and be happy and surprised by the results. It takes a special talent and an enormous amount of trust to make that happen.
Enter Chris Glass. Chris is the best kind of art director for an idea like Open G Records, in that he works on projects on his own and then delivers options that are varied, interesting and best of all, beautiful. Chris has been in charge of all of the art for the label, from all three of our releases to the website, as well as the different looks we use on social media, podcast art. Everything art related, really. I'd like to take the next few blogs to talk about the art direction for the label as well as all three releases, not only because I'm always striving to show the process, but also because there are a few beautiful things that would otherwise never see the light of day.
I'm hoping Chris will chime in on some of this. Chris, if you do, use a different color or some super-hype design shit so we know it's you.
This is pretty important. I knew I wanted a logo that was easily recognizable. I also wanted it to be modern - strong, simple, flexible. Once I decided on the name Open G Records (actually about a month-long process - a lot of really great names have already been taken) the idea for the logo came to me pretty quickly. I had the idea of a fingering chart. On the clarinet there is a note I was taught to call "open G" which you play by blowing through the instrument without putting any fingers down. It's the first note you learn to play. On a fingering chart it usually looks like this:
The left hand is on top, the right is on the bottom. No holes are filled in, which means no fingers on those holes. Open G. That image is still too complicated, so I used only the left hand, like so:
Move the offset circle to the right side, color in one of the circles, add the name of the label and here's what we ended up with:
Now, because that's (ostensibly) a depiction of a left hand fingering, that means that the finger I'm using to close the hole is - wait for it - my middle finger. Yes, it's cheeky and yes, it's intentional. What I didn't expect, however, was for Chris to make it a really flexible look for the brand with the use of color in the dots. It's a really simple idea, and we can use it in pretty much every case. Here are a few examples:
Simple. Clean. Elegant. At least I think so! Over the next three blogs, you'll see lots of examples of the logo used this way. It turned out to be a better idea than I thought, filtered through Chris' lens.
Tomorrow, the process for our first release, A Function of Memory.