Take Notes

Album cover rendition 1

Ive had so many projects over the years, for fun, publication, paid, and just leisure in some cases. And dare i say my graphic design work has gone and gotten way better from back when i started. One of the projects i spent a considerable amount of time working on was related to Tewey. a fledgling rap artist.. and also my cousin. (everyone has to start somewhere)

Tewey’s debut mixtape was called Take Notes. Which i remember he was spelling “TaKe NoTeS” It was 7 tracks of a 14 year young man trying his hand at something that was his biggest passion. Exactly how the title of the tape came about, you would have to ask him about. But being as i had to analyze and think of the graphics for this stuff, i like to think that at the time, my cousin had hardly been doing this for much more than a year or two when the idea of a mixtape came about. i Remember his interest took off so incredibly fast, and he studied like a champion, listened to so much music, picked up a lot things, tried a lot of things, and wrote so much lyrics that whenever i came over or we had one of our haphazard recording sessions, he would have hundreds of lyrics and ideas ready that he had just been writing. to me thats where his take notes concept came into this

 

album cover rendition 2

As far as an art direction, there really wasnt one. we started from scratch on everything. I had not done much graphic design by the time this was made, i knew little to nothing about the software i was using, i just knew it was fun and wnated to do it more and get better at it. i however wanted to keep it simple, with my skillset being what it was. i stuck with one font, The Abandoned treasure which you can find on Dafont.com, and it was consistent for all things related to this project

The main motive, Tewey sitting down and writing on a note pad was derived from the title, simple as that. it was a basic shot on a Canon Ixus 100/200 camera, we kept it black and white on the final cover, i think it was just because everything else on the final cover was a either black or white. might have taken a bit of inspiration from Wax’s album cover for his Continue Album that had been blaring on my shitty car speakers for a good long time. or it could be a slick marketing tactic from me because my shitty logo would be displayed somewhere prominent on the design. I was co producer after all!

That picture went through a few renditions, first one being as simple as possible, where Tewey had drawn out the cover himself. (rendition 1) and that was the intended photo we were going to use, until i realized, “oh shit. the picture needs to be square or it wont fit” and so i had to adjust the canvas size accordingly. which created an excellent space at the bottom to place the title. Thats when i started looking for fonts that we could use that looked alright and handwritten.

 

(real shitty one at that)

Album cover Random rendition

And boom. i found the before mentioned Abandoned treasure font. To be fair i had used it on a different project from before and might have had a certain bias towards it as a result. (to be published later)

Further, i thought, well that picture is good and all, (i snapped it myself, duh) but what if i make something more out of that notebook? and so i experimented with a picture i had taken of him more recently, even borrowed my moms dslr for that one. but i knew nothing about photography, ligthing, hell even masking in photoshop was at this point foreign/newly aquired knowledge to me. i just noodled around with whatever i understood. and i understood marking an area and pressing backspace would remove stuff. and also the liquify tool came in handy as illustrated in rendition 2. the idea behind it was, illustrating his lyrical content in a way that made people think a certain way, you could end up having thoughts like “this guy is drawing a picture of a different version of himself,” or “he is providing his mind to people his way, in a way that might be different. because the image on the paper is colorful, everything else in his world is seemingly black and white”

More noodling ensued, and photofilters also were something i tinkered with, aswell as the standard gradients in photoshop. Along with my shitty logo that i had cooked up in illustrator and was so very proud of XD but thats where the random rendition come from. it in really had nothing to do with anything. and me and the artist settled more or less on rendition 2…. well

Until 2 days before the mixtape would open for download. i sent him a new version, where i had incorporated pictures from a previous photoshoot. i had changed the main motive a bit more, so the picture of him holding his head in his arms was still there, but not as visible, along with the original “Tewey” that he drew on the piece of paper, along with the lyrics to the first verse of one of the more lyrical and socially conscious songs on the mixtape, “I Wonder More”. And i decided more or less myself that this was the best version, also i incorporated his new logo that i had created, because everybody kept pronouncing his name incorrectly, the logo was supposed to look like the number 2 and the letter E combined. thats the way you pronounce it. though my graphic design and illustrator abilities at that point were very much… not good.

The mixtape was published on August 25th 2013. And is propably one of the most interesting projects ive had, because graphic design is one thing, i also did two full music videos, all promotion, social media packages, produced on some of the tracks, did physical copies, printed everything, and all in all, beyond the musical content, i contributed a whole bunch to this project. It was a massive learning expirience and i’m happy i did it, because it opened my eyes to so many routes within media, and opened my mind to being resourceful without prior expirience and with little to no money.

The Artist himself i remember was all smiles and enjoyed the process, being cousins and bestfriends at the time, we never had as many arguments with one another as we did when making this and his other projects that ensued, but if you don’t but heads with anyone, you wont progress in your field. and if you give up, you close the door entirely. Thats what this project ended up being.

HMK

I picked up a brief interest in gaming videos back in 2014-2015 When Pewdiepie was white hot and gaining subs like noone ever before him. Among the things i kept up with and searched a lot for was content concerning the new Legend of Zelda game that they started teasing in 2014 ish. That content was scarce at best back then, but has gained a lot of exposure, views and attention before and around the time Breath of the wild Finally released. 

Back when i started looking for this content. I stumbled across this guy by the name of HMK on Youtube. a relatively new youtuber at the time with less than 40k subs at the time i started watching. because the new Zelda was becoming a more and more hot topic, he was garnering a lot of attention and positive reactions for his content. and his very unique physical appearence easily distinguished him from just about anyone else on the platform. While skeptical to begin with, i subbed to the guy, and kept up with his Zelda videos.

At this stage id say my photoshop skills were getting quite adept, i could replicate or create just about anything with a little time. in HMK’s case, his graphic design package consisted of a metal plate background with flames of various colors burning in front of them. While this was an interesting visual, it was distracting, and perhaps not the most aesthetically pleasing thing you could use for a video background and or social media branding.

2015:

One day i was watching his Twitch livestream. and i thought to myself. “im making that guy a new goddamn twitch layout, because i just god damn want to.” and one hour ish later. I had this new layout ready and rendered. Whats interesting here was that i had not consulted with him at all before making the layout. i just made it because i got inspired and threw something together. and as shown on the images, it.. closely resembled the layout he already had, but a bit more and dare i say a bit more structured than the layout he had. Shortly after finishing, i sent him the files over a business email that i found on his youtube channel.

Not thinking at all about him perhaps using it or whatever. Because “how dare this norwegian stranger come in and tell me that my shit looks bad and the shit he has made is cooler.” was my attitude. Much to my surprise and with no prior notice, next time i tuned into his twitch stream, the layout i had made was the one he was using. i remember spontaneously pointing at the screen and yelling, “THATS MY SHIT!”  And he gave me a whole bunch of shoutouts and got in touch with me over email. We exchanged pleasant emails and the work was cool enough, at one point, after i had done his new twitch layout, i had made a pattern consisting of Zelda and Kingdom hearts pictograms (His channel focuses on these two series primarily) That replaced the metal plate flame graphics he had been using. The pattern with the various logos was a consistent aeesthetic that many others in his circle were using, but none incorporated zelda and KH in one thing. That pattern is being used to this day in videos and on his social media marketing material. Interstingly, he put his own spin on the pattern and made it red, which made it even cooler.

2016:

But once the Pattern became such a staple of his videos, i thought, “well now his twitch layout is the odd piece of content.” and so i sketched out a new one. That incorporated the pattern, and also added a new element. a clean 8 bit font called 8bit Wonder, that you can find on dafont.com. while the Digital Alarm clock font that is on his logo is fine, it isn’t an as pleasing font to look at when there is a lot of it. aswell as 8bit is derived from gaming and classics such as super mario or zelda. so it was a perfect fit. i think he dug it, as he still to this day uses this very same font on virtually all of his youtube thumbnails.

This layout went through a reskin at the end of the year to tone down the red a bit. but beyond that this aesthetic was his primary one for 2016 to the beginning of 2017. in 2016 i should mention, two more very cool things happened considering HMK and my working relation, he comissioned me to do a custom HMK Kingdom Hearts HUD. Which was prominently featured in his “Keyblade cut video.” in the live action portion of the video. link attached below. And after that, He was kind enough to also pick a suggestion i had for a series name. the series was called “Hypeotheticals” where he would ask and elaborate on questions that seemingly had no answer yet. I did the series logo and thumbnail motive. The video where he announces this can be found below.

 

2017:

In mid 2017. He reached out to me again, His livestream setup was about to take a production quality leap, and so his visuals had to be consistent with that. In came my finest piece of work ive done for him yet. it became a combination of all the things i had composed for him previously, with some added flare to it, we cleaned up a lot of the screen, and made a very cool design both for the instream layout, but also for his banners, buttons, and such. I still very much think it looks cool, sorta action movie poster inspired somehow.

Since this i have not worked with HMK. But working with him, and being part of the evolution of his channel from below 40k, to now over 120K subs. it’s been a very positive expirience. and one i’ll always appreciate. Go check out HMK on youtube by clicking this link