Graphic Design 102: "It's Like That"

My homeboy DJ Darrell D (of the previously mentioned Jamille Records) recently asked me to do some design work for his label. The first job was a fold-out cover for the special edition version of Two-Tone's "Time to Rhyme/Jazz It Up" 7-inch vinyl record; the full piece folds out to a 22" x 14.5" poster. And the second job was for a Jamille Records promo sticker.

As you can see, the record cover (above) features a vintage photograph of the Two-Tone crew taken with one of those cheap, portable camera's that most of us had back in the day. The duo never really had a logo, so I roughed out a few designs and went with the one that I thought best reflected a crew named "Two-Tone."

The fold-out poster concept was based on something that Darrell sent me which was originally used by a UK pop duo–who shall not be named. All I will say is that it was not Wham. Since I was basically working off of a previous work, I was able to take some shortcuts on the front, hence the clip art-style images in two frames.

The dollar sign in the bottom frame was inspired by the large gold charm dangling from the chain of D.E. Fresh. Continuing with the gold theme, I added gold lightning bolts to the radio antenna. The name of the crew was also added to the cassette, but I decided that a blank tape worked best.

The front side has six sections that measure out to 7.25" x 7.25" squares, and it was a bit of a challenge initially to get the layout balanced for the actual folding. When I printed a miniature proof version, though, it came out perfectly–and that's mainly because I am a genius on the DL.

With the exception of the front and back covers, the secondary point of a production like this is the poster itself. As you can see below, another vintage Two-Tone photograph was used here, but the final version has the name of the crew in gold near the bottom right corner.

With the much bigger job out of the way, I moved on to the sticker designs. I actually wound up designing five of 'em, but I'm only posting the two primary stickers here.

As is the case with many DJs, Run-D.M.C.'s Jam Master Jay means a lot to Darrell D. Because my client is also a friend, I know that Fat Albert is his all-time favorite cartoon character. So, I went with an idea that incorporates those elements, remixed with the Def Jam Records logo. (The black bar at the bottom hints at the Run-D.M.C. logo.)

Who wudda' thunk that Fat Albert would look so fresh in a fedora? ME, that's who.

Taking the previous sticker design one step backward, it was only natural to try something using the actual Run-D.M.C. logo. Yes, I know that there have been countless permutations of this "remix" over the years, but I wasn't going to let that stop me from doing one to see how it would look.

When the layout was done, I thought that the "Jam Rec" abbreviation worked out perfectly and went ahead with it as my secondary design. D actually loved it when he saw it, and I was glad that I didn't let the fact that it's already been done deter me from what I thought spoke to Darrell D as a hardcore fan of Jam Master Jay and the Hollis Crew.

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