One X One
Shiseki — CD Packaging + Art Direction / Japan
ひたすら森と畑と街灯が続く千葉の平野。音民と74、OneByOneはマイペースに田舎道切削。遊びの上に成り立つスタイル。Japanese hip-hop duo, One X One (Onmin + MSTQ Beats a.k.a. 74) hired me to provide Art Direction and CD Package Design for their first release on the KDP label. Now, it's been quite some time since I took an introduction to Japanese language course—about 18 years to be exact—fortunately for me, the group spoke just enough basic English to make our discussions on Facebook comprehensible.
With a client supplied track listing, a basic brief, and a couple of good sketches, I was able to present some additional ideas / concepts to the group without any need for Google Translate. Once they approved, I began setting the visual tone for this project by designing a custom logotype; then, I advised on the group's photo shoot, which was performed by their photographer, Yuasa Tora. My instructions to Ms. Yuasa were quite simple: please shoot the subjects (One x One) in a noir style; with intense highlight, illuminating from behind to produce a deep ominous black cast shadow in foreground. The imagery provided just enough dramatic overtone to allow room for playful type in both English and Japanese (Kanji, Katakana, and Hiragana).
In the final stages of the project, I employed additional art services from a local Philly artist—and longtime KDP affiliate—to simply produce a more sinuous writing (graf) of the word 'ONE' and letter 'X', which was used on the limited poster and sticker sheets.
The biggest challenge of this project (per the client's request) was the restriction to use only a black, yellow and white color palette, but allowing for use of silver in lieu of white on the CD label art—always my preference with glass mastered releases.