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Funk Is Good Ollie Saward


Once I had chosen Funk as being good, I set about generating ideas for product and packaging related to funk. I also brain stormed possible avenues for investigation. The included: Geographic / Nationality of funk. Waveforms and sound representation - to be used to represent famous funk tracks. Play-along-funk - album with percussion packaged so user could play along. After these initail ideas I found that my ideas generation ran out of steam as I didn’t have a solid statement.

Funk Is Good


I was struggling on settling on a decent concept so I decided to clarify and revise my statement:

‘FUNK IS GOOD BECAUSE IT HAS GIVEN BIRTH TO MANY NEW TYPES OF MUSIC’ AUDIENCE: music fans / record collectors / music historians. TONE: vintage - harking back to 70’s design. CONTEXT: informing anbou / promoting funk music. This allowed me to be more specific when coming up with a concept.

Funk Is Good


Refining my idea lead me to informing / promoting funk. I researched the history of funk in depth and arrived at producing and packaging a concept album celebrating the history of funk and promoting the fact it has given birth to many new forms of music. This format seemed to be the most applicable for my chosen area. The delivery of a LP / CD is designed to represent old and new as the album consists of vintage track (vinyl) and contemporary tracks that sample the vintage (CD) each disk running track for track. Happy with my concept I decided to look into vinyl packaging. I felt it important that the album should have something a little extra to it to make it collectable and desirable so I investigated vinyl packaging and folding techniques.

Funk Is Good


Once I had put my initial packaging ideas down onto paper I produced a series of scale mock-ups to test their interactivity and format.

Having taken these mock-ups to a crit it became apparent, from my feedback, that a collectable album was very applicable to my concept.

Funk Is Good


Final scale mock-up: tri-folded with vinyl in centre panel, CD and track publishing info on right panel and a short informative essay on the history of funk on the left panel.

As I didn’t want the paper sleeve of the vinyl to ruin the aesthetic of the album I began thinking of alternative ways to protect it. I had been experimenting with flock for the front cover and realised it was the perfect material to cushion the vinyl and prevent scratching of the disc (seen in the above picture). This final mock-up also provided me with accurate measurement for the two spine thicknessess - so that the final would close properly.

Funk Is Good


I found this shape iconic and that it has an intrinsic link with vintage funk vinyl, so I decided to incorporate it into my designs. I asked peoples opinions on the designs and short listed the 3 most popular (left) RPM in the first one stands for ‘Real Peoples Music’. Wax is a slang term for vinyl. Deep groove is meant to represent the ‘groove’ of funk and the triangle cutout the stylus of a record deck in the groove of a vinyl. I found ‘Deep Groove’ to look too corporate and that RPM wasn’t obviously a record label. Wax Record it is! Or so I thought...

45 adapters

A eureka moment occured whilst sketching out my record label initial ideas - I got thinking about funk and particular 7 inch vinyl. Then I remembered the shape of a 45 rpm adapter use to play 7 inches on a turntable.

Funk Is Good


I decided to change the name from Wax Records to Wax Vintage as it better connotations for my product. I also rounded the corners of the type to soften its appearance.

Funk Is Good


As I wanted to the album to look a cut above the rest and collectable I decided to try my hand at bespoke print finishes. I started off with some foil blocking. The screen print of the glue onto the substrate went ok but I think the work needed longer in the heat press to ensure that the foil leaf sticks to the glue better. I also learnt that the larger the glue area, the wavier the foil becomes in the press (left). So if I wanted to use this technique for my album cover I would only realistically be able to use it on small areas to prevent waviness. From this I concluded that only being able to use it on small areas would be pointless on the format I had chosen as it would lose all of it’s impact. As my intentions were for the title text on the cover to be a special print process Itried my hand a flocking.

Funk Is Good


As you can see the flock went far better than foil blocking. I tired flocking onto canvas whilst testing and liked the tactile nature of the combination of flock and canvas (rough canvas and smooth, velvety flock). From this I decided to cover the outside of the album with canvas and flock directly onto it.

Funk Is Good


In conjunction with testing print processes I was researching ideas for the cover and inlay of my album. As part of my research I paid a visit to Jumbo Records in town and they were kind enough to let me take photos in their funk section. From this visual research I gathered there it became apparent that custom ‘psychedelic’ bubble type is quite a key to 70’s funk graphics. So I aimed to design some for the cover of my album. I was also able to get some good context shots inside the shop. These would provide me with a backup should those ever illusive hi-res 70’s funk images not turn up.

Funk Is Good


I started drawing up page after page of custom bubble type (a lot harder than I thought it would be) until I had come up with something vaguely attractive. I then took it into Illustrator and developed it further. I tried many different stroke weights around the type and decided on the above as it had the best proportions.

Funk Is Good


Designed the inlay for my album and limited myself to two spot colours: Pantone Black U & Pantone 485 U (red) - I chose this red because it was the closest I could get to my chosen colour of flock - 181707 Rosso. This use of limited colour was also informed through my research because lots of old 70’s funk album covers work to a limited colour pallet. My hope through using limited colour would be to create a vintag aesthetic. As all of the old funk images I managed to collect were low resolution and tiny I decided to use images from my Jumbo Records photo shoot for the inlay and add a halftone effect in my selected Pantone red (485 U). I managed to get them printed alright and, as you can see, assembled onto my canvas covered sleeve. Whilst assembling it I noticed that the white of the stock the inlay was printed onto didn’t really match the cream of the canvas cover and I found myself disliking it more and more. Perhaps more importantly though was the type on the third panel (left) Once printed the type seemed to lose itself in the red halftone pattern of the photo - bad for legibility. The combination of this glaring mistake and the unsympathetic combination of cream and white lead me to re-design the inlay.

Funk Is Good


Re-designed left inside panel:

The position of the type was fine, it was the halftone that was causing the problem, so I decided on using the same technique I did for the disc labels - black & red spot colour duotone images with white text reversed out of them. This not only looks far better and adds clarity it also ties together the whole album with colour scheme (disc stickers - duotone, cover flock etc), it also adds a strong frame to each of the inside panels (no horrible clash with the cream canvas cover and white stock).

Funk Is Good


During one of my final crits with Lorenzo he suggested that I investigate a different colour mode to Duotone. With this in mind I decided to produce a full colour advert promting the album for use within music magazines (like Mojo or Q). Alternatively it could be printed as a full colour poster and displayed in record shops. I brain stormed what I could put in the frame of the photo shoot and landed on the idea that it should look ‘big pimping’ - big fat cigar and a glass of spirit. I think it the advert definitely has a retro feel to it. The cigar and whiskey (actually tea), have strong connotations of the 70’s and funk as well as, of course, the vinyl. Quite a stressful shoot but at least I had a big fat cigar to smoke after.

Funk Is Good


The finished article:

Funk Is Good


Funk Is Good  

A brief history of my 'What Is Good?' project.

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