Saturday, June 4, 2011

Friendly Parrots

As much as it pains me to be one of those "oh I blogged about that last year" bloggers, I am genuinely happy that Sølve Sundsbø's Perroquet series has found a way to be immortalised and seen by a much wider audience.

Last year I came across the amazing PERROQUET SERIES, which Sølve Sundsbø shot in collaboration with Nick Knight's SHOWStudios. XL Recording's Art Director, Phil Lee, must have been equally taken with the images, as they have been used, or rather incorparated as the art work for Friendly Fires new album, Pala.

In an interview with Creative Review, heres what Phil had to say about the art work:

"Having spent time with the band during the recording process and discussing with them the inspirations and influences for the record there was an obvious theme that ran through it," Lee explains. "The title, PALA, comes from the Aldous Huxley novel, Island, which is about a doomed utopia. It ties in with how they felt about making a second album and being in a band. How things don't turn out how you expect, and how that can be a good thing.

"We looked at various ways utopian life has been represented and visualised in other contexts. We found a wealth of minimal architecture, sterile communities and futuristic worlds but this all felt too cold and clinical for the record – which sounded really warm and full of life.

"During one meeting with the band we were discussing the book and it was mentioned that parrots inhabited the island and how they symbolised tropicana. This seemed a natural progression from people's perception of the band from the first album and their live shows.

"A friend, photographer Tom Beard, mentioned that he had seen some beautiful images of parrots by the photographer Sølve Sundsbø. On seeing these images it was obvious that they would be perfect for this record and the material needed to promote it.

"We approached Sølve's agent art+commerce with our proposal which they then took to Sølve. As this body of work was a personal project for him he was understandably very cautious as to how they would be used. To help our request I mocked up some roughs of how we proposed using the images in the context of the album cover and our campaign."

"While striving to keep the sleeve impactful and making it work on the varying scales from iTunes packshot through to LP and large scale marketing, I needed the logo to be easily visible but not destroy the power and impact of the raw images.

"Choosing a light face (Neutra) and widening the spacing allowed the logo to cover the width of the sleeve, be very prominent and sit comfortable with the image. Deciding that the legibility of the album title was secondary to the strength of the image and awareness of the band name allowed me to propose printing it as a spot varnish."

"The beauty of this was that up close you get the impression of something hidden and play with the angles to get the light to hit it in the right place and reveal the title. This technique combined with the few letters used again allowed me to place the text over the entire width of the sleeve which in turn made it even more effective.

"The choice of a full coverage UV varnish was an obvious choice to enhance the vibrancy of the images and then contrasting that with a matt varnish for the title was an effective combination.

"Not having the luxury of being able to wet proof the job with these 2 finishes was a slight gamble but having a close working relationship with Think Tank who specialise in high end production I felt comfortable that they were confident that what I proposed would work exactly how I envisaged."

And there you have it. The overall end product is a really solid piece of design, and most importantly for album artwork, it is so eye catching and inviting. I imagine it would be quite hard to walk past this cover in a record store, or more likely, on the iTunes website.


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