“It’s always been my desire to make a career that combines my love for experimental design and music,” says graphic designer and record label founder Jordanne Chant. Initially pursuing fashion design after school, Jordanne ended up in London, where she found she didn’t enjoy it as much as she’d hoped, and returned to her native Australia to begin a degree in graphic design. These days, alongside her full-time job as an art director and designer at a major fashion retailer, she runs Dinosaur City, an independent record label and her labour of love.
“Dinosaur City Records (DCR) started maybe three or so years ago with the launch of a mixtape featuring music by a bunch of friends – a lot of side projects from artists from more well-known bands releasing music under monikers, or artists’ first recorded works,” she tells It’s Nice That. “For the last two years, it’s just been Cody Munro Moore and myself running the label… we are still releasing yearly mixtapes (there’s actually going to be another one out real soon!), but also full releases from artists like Sunscreen, Greenwave Beth and Skydeck, plus regularly putting on shows.”
One of these shows is an upcoming night in New York called Berlin, with multi-genre musician Martin Rev of the band Suicide. Listening to his music, Jordanne says, inspired her design for the gig poster: “I see blue when I hear and think about his music, so I went with that colour… pastels or anything too bold or bright didn’t feel right,” she explains. “The design is textured and rough, unlike a lot of my other work that, while perhaps abstract, is still bold and poppy, much like the bands playing the bills.” This process of letting the music guide the work is one that Jordanne swears by. It “profoundly influences” her approach, choice of format, fonts and colour, and whether she opts for a maximalist, harsh or soft design.
Also influenced by everything from rave flyers, post-punk album art, scans from old encyclopaedias, to flower gardens and old shop front signage, Jordanne likes to experiment with a range of source material. Some of this material is often her own photographs: “As a film photography enthusiast, I frequently incorporate pictures of my own into my work; particularly those I’ve taken on my travels and at live shows,” she says. Finding herself drawn to the ones that she would have otherwise discarded, Jordanne gives them a new purpose in her designs by experimenting with the layers, filters and effects in Photoshop to obfuscate the original image and add her own personal touch.
Speaking on what’s next for DCR, Jordanne says she will be travelling to the USA for a month to explore the west coast and SXSW in Austin, before she crosses over to New York. During this time the record label has a new album coming out, a new annual compilation in the works and some exciting signings to announce. In terms of her design work, Jordanne would like the future to involve “more freelance design and art direction work in the field I love the most – music, including merchandise, record covers and of course, more posters.”
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