• Wallzo2
  • Wallzo1
  • Wallzo3
Graphic Design

Wallzo / Hot Chip

Posted by Will Hudson,

Yesterday saw the launch of the fourth Hot Chip album, One Life Stand and with it saw London based designer Wallzo successfully design the third consecutive album artwork. With rave reviews filling many of the weekends papers and music press we thought we’d check in the Darren Wall (aka Wallzo) to find out more about the artwork.

Evening Darren, following on from The Warning and Made in the Dark you’ve just designed the latest record from Hot Chip, One Life Stand, does it get easier year on year?

Yes, I think I was a lot less nervous about this one. When I did the first album, The Warning, I created a cover with no prior understanding that it would become so well-known. Of course this was a really wonderful experience for me and I was hugely grateful for the chance to get my work seen by so many people, but when it came to sit down and tackle the second album cover I must admit I felt the weight of expectation upon me. That pressure is good of course – it makes for good work – but now its much more self-imposed than anything else.

Is there a conscious effort to do something completely different, keep certain things the same?

After each two year gap, personal influences and tastes are always a little bit different so between myself and the five band members, we always end up doing something different. I work closely with Owen Clarke from the band on the initial ideas, and we have hugely overlapping tastes, so after an evening talking about ideas we normally get to a core aesthetic that we can then experiment with. The band are generally happy if Owen is happy, so its good that we share such similar tastes. That said, we always seem to gravitate towards ‘mysterious objects’ that invite interpretation; the blocks from The Warning, the artifact from the Made in the Dark campaign, and now, of all things, a suspended marble head.

What’s the idea behind the current artwork?

When statues are installed or transported they are often lowered into place with large, colourful canvas slings. Owen had a few photographic examples of this in action and they seemed to create an interesting theme; classical forms intersected with bright stripes of colour. The idea of a head seemed to appeal to the band most of all, and from there it all came together after lots of experimentation. There’s plenty of Giorgio de Chirico and Hipgnosis reference in there too. I think its essentially quite an over-the-top image – like a prog-cover reduced to a screen-print. The most enjoyable part of the process was working with the Vinyl Factory who created the 12" versions of the album. The special edition is a 2-disc gatefold with an art print and we’ve even printed a pattern hidden on the inside of the sleeve.

What are you listening to at the moment?

A friend of ours; Rob Smougton operates under the name Grovesnor and makes music like a laser-guided Hall and Oates. He’s just been signed to Lo Recordings and his forthcoming album will soon be graced with a cover from none other than Non-Format. If his music doesn’t make you smile, then something has gone awfully wrong. You can hear his music here.

Wh-300

Posted by Will Hudson

Will founded It’s Nice That in 2007 and is now director of the company. Once one of the main contributors to the site he has stepped back from writing as the business has expanded. He is a regular guest on the Studio Audience podcast.

Most Recent: Graphic Design View Archive

  1. List

    This year for the first time ever Istanbul is to be included in the Venice Architecture Biennale, and will showcase the work of five contemporary Turkish artists as curated by Murat Tabanlıoğlu. So how do you go about celebrating your country’s participation in one of the greatest celebrations of architecture? If you’re anything like graphic design studio Future Anecdotes Istanbul, you put together a glorious identity and accompanying publication to celebrate the event.

  2. List

    Marcello Velho is one of a school of graphic artists subverting the forms of internet art that we’re becoming used to seeing, and doing something completely unanticipated with them. His abstract compositions are experimental and ambiguous, but that’s exactly what makes them exciting. He’s a pretty dab hand at design too, working on magazine covers, art directing features and just generally applying his magic touch wherever it’s needed. It’s only a matter of time until a global fashion brand with a wildly cool following happens upon his work and immediately has him applying his learned eye to look books, textile design and event invitations. Just for the record though, we got here first, yeah?

  3. List

    Behold! Dutch illustrator and designer Julian Sirre has a portfolio packed to the gunnels with beautiful futuristic design. His posters and prints take inspiration from 1980s sci-fi, Japanese printmaking and superhero comics, all amalgamated into a wholly unique visual language. He’s worked for Dutch science fiction magazines, London venues and a variety of extraordinary exhibitions including a group show with Jordy Van Den Niewendijk, Viktor Hachmang and Robin van Wijk – all exceptionally cool dudes.

  4. List

    Battersea Power Station is one of my favourite buildings in London (you can add that to the list of things-you-don’t-care-about-which-I-tell-you-anyway-in-these-posts if you like). Anyway this summer it’s hosting the Everyman Cinema and east London’s Bread Collective was brought in to create the branding and hand-paint all the on-site signage. Bread has previous experience when it comes to large scale design work that packs a personality-filled punch and it’s great to see them unleash their talents on such a famous landmark. The bright and lively visuals juxtapose neatly with their industrial surroundings and there’s a consistency that ties the site together without feeling sterile.

  5. List

    My favourite thing about Paris-based design studio Twice is that they continually combine texture and colour in such a way that I’m practically banging my hands into my computer screen with wanting to hold their publications in my hands. That’s the trouble with tactility – it’s not practical – but that shouldn’t mean designers abandon it altogether in favour of a wipe-clean, stark, sterile aesthetic that makes us lose all hope in print.

  6. List

    I was lucky enough to visit Istanbul for its inaugural design biennale back in 2012 and although I was blown away by its creative scene, I didn’t come across too much graphic design. Rummaging through Studio Sarp Sozdinler’s website this week, I had the nagging feeling that I might have missed out.

  7. List

    Belgian graphic designer Broos Stoffels has it all; great poster designs, great typefaces, great Dance Organ-powered drawing machine for the creation of custom vinyl sleeves – no really! The young designer is a former student of Sint Lucas in Ghent, a institution with proven design pedigree, and has spent the last few years honing his practical and conceptual skills into a fantastically coherent body of work.

  8. List

    If you aren’t familiar with The Casual Optimist blog about publishing and book culture then it’s well worth checking out (I’ll wait). Anyway last week its author shared these amazing posters created by the leading German graphic designer Gunter Rambow for the S. Fischer Verlag publishing house back in the 1970s. What’s interesting is that some of them tiptoe right up to the edge of being gimmicky, but always stay the right side of the line thanks to Gunter’s unerring image-making brilliance. I really can’t get enough of these.

  9. List

    When a studio does everything it can to get to the very root of a client’s working philosophy, it often leads to the most interesting and effective identity design. This is definitely true of Toronto-based studio Blok Design’s work for Dallas film production company Lucky 21. Created to mark the company’s new venture – “taking on the highly competitive LA market” – the identity takes into account the brand’s character, which the studio describes as “full of humour and fiercely passionate” to create a set of visuals that fall close to home.

  10. List-2

    Illustrator and longtime mate of ours Michael Willis is straying away from illustration and into something altogether more design-focussed. The elements at the heart of his images are the same; placing retro and contemporary influences side-by-side to create something so contemporary that it feels ahead of its time. He’s been working recently with Mood NYC, providing photographic manipulation and graphic treatment for their look book as well as helping create an overarching aesthetic for the brand, one which evades the recurring trends and repetitive styles that seem to permeate many designers’ portfolios.

  11. List

    Three years ago Milan studio Leftloft were commissioned to help iconic Italian football club Inter Milan with a ticket sales push, but the relationship developed into something much more comprehensive. Here art director Francesco Cavalli tells us how they came to lead an extensive rebranding of the whole club, from a new crest and a bespoke serif typeface to an exhaustive style guide for use across print and digital.

  12. List

    As of 6.30pm last night Airbnb looks a little classier. Having spent the past seven years growing a vast community of country-hopping collaborators, the world’s largest online accommodation marketplace has decided it’s time for a change. Gone is the awkward, dated logo that still reminds me of a bad ice cream parlour, likewise the cold, clinical blue that serves as the accent colour for all San Franciscan startups; and in its place is something entirely more exciting.

  13. List

    Massimo Vignelli was one of the most important graphic designers of his generation and his death in May affected the creative community very strongly and very immediately. The tributes poured in (some of which we included in our piece here) but for some the response to his passing would take a little longer to formulate. So it was with Colorado-based studio Berger & Föhr, who began this set of tribute posters when they first learned of his illness.