Bradley Pinkerton on tight timelines, tricky type licences and designing for Harry Styles

Find out how the Melbourne-based creative made the design choices for one of 2022’s biggest albums.

Date
3 August 2023

When designing for musicians, Bradley Pinkerton loves nothing more than getting to the heart of their story. This might be through investigating the history of an EP or uncovering the journey of a song, from idea to performance. All of this personal research helps Bradley achieve his main goal, to accurately transmit the feelings, sound and essence of the music into the visuals that will forever accompany it.

Not only do music projects tend to vary greatly (Bradley can be working on merchandising, album branding or tour graphics at any one time) deadlines are typically much tighter. But rather than stressing Bradley out or impeding his work, he thrives under it, with the quick turnaround helping his decision making, efficiency and overall confidence. “There’s an inherent beauty in this way of doing things,” Bradley says. “I love the immediacy it brings, which I feel resonates with musicians who experience a similar sense of spontaneity while making their music.”

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Bradley Pinkerton: Harry Styles, One Night Only poster (Copyright © Harry Styles, 2019)

In an exciting turn of events, last year Bradley had the chance to work on the design of Harry Styles’ third studio album Harry’s House. Collaborating closely with his “amazing” creative director Molly Hawkins, Bradley was tasked with interpreting the “world” they were trying to create through typography and colour choices. “For Harry’s House it wasn’t so much a particular look, it was more of a feeling,” he says. “A feeling of finding home when you are not quite home.”

In terms of colour, Bradley opted predominantly for yellows and oranges, for their “warm and secure feeling”, while pops of blue invoke the feeling of “searching and longing”. The typographic route, however, proved tricker. Bradley was intent on using the font Trooper Jazzerini; for Bradley, the sleek and retro type looked like it had been plucked straight out of a “70s cosy homeware book”. It was a perfect fit for the album’s cover – Harry standing in a gravity-defying living room, designed by Patience Harding and photographed by Hanna Moon. But, Bradley soon discovered Trooper Jazzerini wasn’t actually licensed. Undeterred, he went to great lengths and tracked down the designer’s late family to gain permission. “We all felt that the typeface was a very important and crucial piece to the album’s personality”, Bradley says.

On top of his freelance work, Bradley is currently teaching a Designing for Music class at Melbourne’s RMIT, while heading the creative side of Isle of Jura Records, where he designs the cover art for each of their releases. So while working in music may be daunting, and in Bradley’s words “unpredictable”, it seems he’s found his niche. “It’s equal parts scary and equal parts exciting,” he says. “You never know what project might be on the horizon.”

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Bradley Pinkerton: Harry Styles, Harryween poster (Copyright © Harry Styles, 2023)

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Bradley Pinkerton: Harry Styles, Harry’s House merch (Copyright © Harry Styles, 2022)

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Bradley Pinkerton: Confide poster (Copyright © Confide, 2023)

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Bradley Pinkerton: Confide poster (Copyright © Confide, 2023)

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Bradley Pinkerton: Confide poster (Copyright © Confide, 2023)

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Bradley Pinkerton: Vagabon poster (Copyright © Vagabon, 2023)

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Bradley Pinkerton: Gang Of Youths, Angel In Realtime (Copyright © Gang Of Youths, 2021)

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Bradley Pinkerton: National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne Now Poster (Copyright © NGV, 2023)

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Bradley Pinkerton: Elkka Poster (Copyright © Elkka, 2023)

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Bradley Pinkerton: Isle Of Jura, Bassline - You’ve Gone (Copyright © Isle Of Jura, 2021)

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Bradley Pinkerton: Wild Nothing (Copyright © Wild Nothing, 2023)

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Bradley Pinkerton: Hovvdy, True Love (Copyright © Hovvdy, 2021)

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Bradley Pinkerton: Harry Styles, Harry’s House (Copyright © Harry Styles, 2022)

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About the Author

Olivia Hingley

Olivia (she/her) joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in November 2021 and soon became staff writer. A graduate of the University of Edinburgh with a degree in English literature and history, she’s particularly interested in photography, publications and type design.

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