What does it feel like to hold a Grammy? Public-Library explores its texture with the award’s identity

Reinventing the well-known form of the award, the LA-based studio explores the weight, texture and feel of the gramophone.

1 April 2022

After being postponed due to the pandemic, the Grammys is right around the corner. This year, LA-based studio Public-Library has revamped its identity, delivering advertising, branding and its run-up campaign. For the 64th iteration of the identity, Public-Library knew there was one symbol they wanted to hone in on: the gramophone. Reinventing the well-known form through a series of extensive textural explorations, the studio came up with an identity that uses colour to envision music genres and motion to explore the emotional and physical weight of the gramophone.

Ramón Coronado, Public-Library co-founder tells It’s Nice That: “We played with the gramophone as an object: what is it made of, is it heavy, is it light, is it reflective, is it matte?” Trying out concrete, marble, paper, spray paint and illustrating it in “every way [they] could think of”, Ramón and co-founder Marshall Rake ran through a whopping “couple hundred different gramophone studies and explorations”.

The final result moves towards metallics and experimentations with light. As for the emotional aspect of the object, Marshall explains that motion design was crucial to creating branding that emotes. The co-founder adds: “[We] had a lot of different conversations with people who have interacted with the Grammys: talking about what the Grammys mean to them, and learning what we could draw from that.”

GalleryPublic-Library: The Grammy Awards 2022 (Copyright © Public-Library, 2022)

A new challenge for the studio was navigating the specific requirements that arise when working for an event with such a substantial reach. Marshall reflects: “How do we do what we do for an audience that big?” One of the main approaches was building a system “that was easy for both the Recording Academy and CBS to manage and to work with”, the co-founder adds. “For our studio, working with Helvetica is a foundational part of our practice, so using a really strong grid with a clear type system was something we wanted to make sure that we could do.”

As for representing the extensive sonic ground the Grammys covers, Public-Library wanted to visualise genres with this variation in mind. “We started playing with this idea of a wide colour system. Something that was more flexible and could start to feel wider and more visually diverse to reflect what The Grammys represents,” Ramón says. Stepping away from a singular colour palette, Public-Library aimed to visualise a spectrum of sounds as well as the “feel” of music. “That’s a common language with music, how it’s transformational,” says Marshall. "But we wanted to try to do it in a way that we hadn’t really felt it had been done before.”

GalleryPublic-Library: The Grammy Awards 2022 (Copyright © Public-Library, 2022)

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Public-Library: The Grammy Awards 2022 (Copyright © Public-Library, 2022)

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About the Author

Liz Gorny

Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. After graduating in Film from The University of Bristol, they worked freelance, writing for independent publications such as Little White Lies, INDIE magazine and design studio Evermade.

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