10th Annual Swag [Merch] Nominee
Nominated Piece: Giorgio – Party of the Century Pin
Design – Swag/Merch Nominee –
Kevin Calleau / iKev Création Multimédia – Giorgio – Party of the Century Pin
Bringing together 30 of “the world’s most influential and legendary musicians” (including players from Toto, Alan Parsons Project, Supertramp, The Who and many other jazz/rock heros) to create what’s being promoted as ” probably the most spectacular music record project (that’s) ever happened”, singer/songwriter Giorgio Onorato Aquilani’s knew he’d have to have visuals for his project that fed on the vibe of the stellar cast and their amazing performances. With collaboration as the keyword, designer Kevin Calleau assembled “the best international creators from France, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland” to create the designs featured in this nominated work…
How and when were you introduced to Giorgio for this assignment, or did he do the research and then contact you? Had you worked with the act or label before (if so, please provide some of the details)?
Giorgio and I had already worked together on a previous musical project. I think it went well and as he felt that we’d be on the same wavelength and do great together, he contacted me later when he was about to jump on this new musical adventure. I had never worked with a music label before, or even for someone in the music industry, generally speaking, so it was a first for most of us involved with this part of the project, and I do believe that’s part of the reason why we ended up giving birth to such a musical/artistic concept – we didn’t think or care much about what the industry would have wanted.
Did you know that this product was going to be used as part of a promotional campaign (i.e, were you hired to develop specific products for this act), or was this item chosen for that purpose after you’d produced it (as a work of art)? Had you already decided on the basic approach to the product’s design?
As the Art Director for all design/multimedia part, I knew exactly what the purpose of each item was, including the Pin. It was designed as a small collector gift for the buyers of the collector box. Of course, the box included more than that – the designs for the CD, a bonus DVD, a 48-page book, and this little collectible were all based on concepts that Giorgio and I worked on together.
What was the inspiration for the chosen design? Did the artist’s/band’s music, the venue’s reputation or performing/visual styles provide you with some inspiration as to how to develop the basis for the design? Did they let you hear any of the featured act’s music (for inspiration)? Do you need to like – or, somehow, connect to – the act/the music/the venue you’re designing the product for?
I indeed listened to the demos before starting the design. Another good thing is that Giorgio and I are great friends. We have the same philosophy and share the same tastes in music, and I think that’s a major advantage. Starting from there, it was a just a matter of giving life to The Concept itself. Party of the Century is not just a piece of random music, it is a concept. The idea was to rent a huge mansion to host a tremendous party and a revival of the best music style and arrangements we grew up with. There’d be a blending of 80’s Californian rock and 2000 pop music, for instance. Starting from there, we tried to picture a small universe, a little bit off from what you’d expect. We’d introduce vintage Pop style, vivid colors and other specific elements to give this party a cartoon-esque look – it had to look like it was a dream or something from “imagination land” – but you could also hear the music it and know that it was real. So, yes, music gave us the concept and main line, but I felt free to create a special universe apart from the music.
How involved was management in the process of deciding what you should produce, and did they provide you with any direction? Did they give you the resources to do what you wanted to do, and were you/they happy with the results?
I worked mostly and almost solely with Giorgio. We were totally free to express ourselves, since this was an independent production and meant to look and sound exactly as the artists wanted. When you gather such a crew and create such an environment, these are obviously the best conditions to work in. The music production took a very long time, but you can understand why when you see the list of people and the tough work. So we had time to build the graphic universe and shape it to the direction the music was taking. It was a 2 year process, but one that I keep as a beautiful memory.
How long did it take you to develop the finished design (from concept to final product)? Were there any special processes or other aids used? Can you let me know about the # of designs that were considered or submitted before the final decision was made? How do the chosen materials/processes effect the way you approach a design?
It is actually very funny because the Pin was not that much work compared to the rest of the designs we made. We were all finished with the production, the collector box, DVD, CD and book were all done, and we still had that little pin to design. We took the main elements of the design to include along with the logo and voila!, we a had a POTC Pin, recognizable and fun. We did one design and we were done.
Was the design for this product (or other products you created as part of this commission) also used in related promotional efforts, such as for album packaging, stage props, etc.? If so, were you asked to adapt the design for each use, and how did you go about doing that? Do you consider these alternate uses for your work (and the different audiences they must appeal to) as you approach your work (and does it, in your opinion, affect how you approach certain aspects of your design development)?
It is actually the opposite. The designs that I made were used ultimately on the pin. So, actually, the design used for the pin and the record were adapted for use on multiple formats for advertising. I knew we had so many different formats to do, so when I started designing the record, I didn’t just do the cover – I started creating a huge Visual Identity file. It was from that huge comp that I was able to create the album cover, the collector box, the website template, the video interfaces, the various magazine covers and ad pages and, of course, the Collector Pin. It was a huge time- saver.
Tell us why you submitted this particular work for consideration for an IMA.
Even though we worked hard to gain recognition for the musical aspects of this project, this album contains a major dose of design work – it’s a complete music and design effort. Because of this, I believed we should all deserve to be recognized for our contributions. But I have seen the TREMENDOUS amount of work done to record the music, and I only hoped that being nominated in a design category would just bring more attention to the music, because in the end it is what deserves most attention.
For your bio – in addition to the basic info about yourself and your career, can you give me some details of some of the other work you’ve done, particularly if there are other music industry-related images that folks will be aware of?
I’m Kevin Calleau, a french artist and CEO of the Agency BeCom Concept in my hometown of Bordeaux.A few years back, as a huge fan of the band Toto, I was in charge of their French fan club. That’s when I started getting involved in the music field, doing interviews, designing websites and creating promotional videos for that purpose. I worked as a freelance designer for 5 years before starting my company. My job lead me around the world to places like Los Angeles, where I took charge of Web Projects for a local agency. Now, I’m indeed getting more involved in the music industry, but not much as a designer. Most of my work is in video shooting and production, whether it is for a TV clip or a multi-cam concert shoot. Still, I’m back in the saddle with Giorgio for his next record – as an Art Director again – and this feels good.
Of course, I would appreciate any other anecdotal info you’d be willing to provide. As you were going to be creating or updating the image for the act/venue, did they provide you with any special incentives (or threaten to kill you)? Again, anything you’d be willing to share would be treated with the utmost respect!!
We say that the fun in this job is when the client starts to threaten you with death… I honestly didn’t get a single injury from the producer or the artist. It was all in good fun and serious thinking. I have a ton of magical moments and anecdotes in mind but I believe it was all because of the surreal feel of the project. Can you believe the crazy number of music legends who joined us in studio to make this record?????? That’s the amazing environment we were living in every day.
Lastly – what are your views regarding the future of graphic/visual design in the music industry as it moves on to the many new distribution platforms? Are you seeing new opportunities for your talents?
We are in a field where things move fast and, unfortunately for the industry, not everyone is able to keep things moving at that pace. I recently started my own company because I had that feel that something was not right – that there was a gap somewhere and I could fill it, and so I did.
For instance, one of our strengths is our video service. We are one of the very few production companies in France to shoot solely with HDSLR equipment like the Canon 5D MKII and 7D. We produce movies, short films, TV advertisements, and corporate clips, following the same process and quality assurance standards as cinema productions, only for 10 times less money.
And as far as design is concerned, I do feel that inspirations from the Orient and, mostly, Japan, are to become very important and very pertinent. And if there’s a vibe I’d go into, it’s that one. It’s is – for its purpose, its pertinence, the design and artistic feeling – one of the most underestimated and most promising areas in design. And I think that is a great motivator for us Occidental designers – we will back in school soon enough… And I like it because, as I say, “an artist is always a student.”
Learn more about Giorgio’s Party of the Century by visiting their web site at
To see Kevin Colleau’s iKev Creation Multimedia on the Web, please visit www.ikev.fr/
Interviewed in March, 2011 by Mike Goldstein of RockPoP Gallery, Portland, OR www.rockpopgallery.com