Designing a boxed vinyl album set combines four major practices in graphic design: branding, publication, systems, and packaging design. This project took a personal twist, where I wasn’t only branding the band’s sound across the four albums, I was branding my association with the band. The new aesthetic reveals not only the loud, wayward sound of the ska band Streetlight Manifesto, but also the sophisticated roots of jazz that the genre grew from.
Music was a significant part of my upbringing. I played the trombone for seven highly invested years, from ages 11-18. There was a time where I had to seriously considered whether I’d be happier pursuing a career in visual arts vs. jazz performance.
This project holds some particular sentiment in my portfolio. By choosing to represent a band like Streetlight Manifesto, who already has a strong brand to compete with, I set myself up to push my graphic design skills outside of my comfort zone. I broke grids with experimental typography in ways that I hadn’t allowed myself to do before, attempting to align with the organized chaos that is the musical sound of the group. I approached the refocused brand identity to echo the group’s boldness in sound with my softer and often hesitant experience in jazz. The theme “classy chaos” stuck inside my head as I iterated on the designs.
In the catalog, I wrote a reflective essay that dives back into my former involvement in jazz performance. While I felt like I was a strong player, I didn’t start projecting the confidence needed to perform solos in our concerts until I met a trombone tutor who introduced me to the ska genre. This formed my key connection to this band, where I started practicing their solos in private as a catalyst to signing up for more solos.
The essay required me to carefully consider the story that I had to tell through this piece as a whole. In that sense, I realize that the band that I was packaging was only a vessel in my personal story, and the brand that I established came to represent my own image, as influenced by the jazz and ska scene.
I love the craft of building things by hand. The box measures 12.25” x 12.25” x 1.125” and the catalog book measures 6” x 10” with 28 Pages.