28 11 / 2011

The Making Of ‘impulse’

The process of creating the cover for Erra’s debut record, through Tragic Hero Records, titled “impulse.”

The concept behind this design was fed off the vibe that carried throughout the record musically, as well as a throughout the lyrics presented in each song. The album has this sort of ambience and melody you might associate or envision with the idea of space and time, yet cycled around this somewhat angelic and extraterrestrial presence. The band gave me free ground to design what I felt might fit for this album, as as much as I obsessed over it musically. The image you see here is what I had, more or less, aimed to achieve. My idea for this was to capture a source of humanity in an almost alien / foreign projection - one that would cater to the “unknown” and “curious” while subjectively displaying the source of an organism’s existence (this being centralized by the anatomical heart).

While this post isn’t intended to be a step by step run-through of how this was done, I do intend to share how I went about making it. I’ll start by letting you all know I had the help of two good friends, Abby Flatow (www.facebook.com/AbbyRobinPhoto) and Evan Warren (www.facebook.com/staykillerdesign). We shot the photo (raw form seen here in the article) of a very patient and gracious participant: miss Alexandria Gabrielle Angel. Her attire for this was somewhat of a makeshift mortal-kombat-mummy, constructed of shredded cloth and several rolls of athletic tape. With the shot being outside, we applied smudges of soil to dull the brightness of the white, and to somewhat portray this idea that she had been surviving in the woods for a period of time. The lighting set-up was simple and convenient. I used a boom stand with two Canon 430 flashes directed at an umbrella, and two other stands with 580 flashes - one with a diffuser cap and the other directed at an umbrella as well. One flash was for subtle backlighting, while the boom provided direct light and the other umbrella established an additional directional fill-light of sorts.

Several shots were taken around the location, but this was the chosen shot for the cover. When I brought it in digitally, I edited the Raw image to be lighter and more “flat” in terms of color dynamic so that I could layer it up and adjust colors in the cover without the layering causing over-saturation or loss of detail. I replaced the black background of the image with a subtle horizon line of another photo, and added a color stream and blur to showcase a sense of depth and space. The surreal-colored clouds and stars are also collectively photoshopped into the atmosphere to add to the eerie / spacey nature of the photo. This also created a balance with the negative space, and adjusted the weight of detail between the lower and top halves of the frame. The choice of colors, as well as the textured details in the sky and around the central object hovering above her hands, were an attempt to create this sort of galactic nebulae that you might find when surfing google for images of constellations.

Center to the picture is the heart contained in this sort of sphere, which is a photo of a rather large fishbowl photoshopped with the characteristics of a glass sphere (which adds to the iced-haze sort of appearance in the object). The heart was a stock photo from what I believe to be a cow, just to add to the dramatization to size and detail of the heart. I originally wanted the heart to look more suspended in the glass sphere, but it was becoming difficult to make look realistic to the image, and after trial and error, I ended up liking this direction more anyways.

There is quite a bit of layering going on with the color blasts, galaxy streams, and the faint line work of geometry. I wanted the impression to relay over to her ability to manipulate space to her liking, and give a rather strong impression to the power she had over the heart.

The band’s logo, while it’s only done for a textured effect, is comprised of mathematical graph images describing black hole theories and function. Of course, there’s no way you could actually ever figure that out just from looking at the image, but I thought it gave it an interesting sort of dynamic to the essence of where the cover was headed.

I hope you all get a chance to listen to this record if you enjoy the genre (metalcore / hardcore). Hopefully the cover relays a visual vibe to what you all also hear in the music. I had a lot of fun working on this cover, and hopefully it will sit well with everyone who owns the album.

Thanks for reading!

Aaron Marsh - @aaronofnero

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27 9 / 2011

Setting The Bar In Extreme Sports

It’s almost every little kid’s dream to someday work in sports. Whether you a ball player, swimmer, gymnast or skateboarder there is always an inkling of hope that someday that will make you famous. Growing up we see that being a pro basketball player and only 5’ 7” isn’t always logistical - however working in sports of some kind definitely is. We are honored to have been given that chance to relive our youth and work with 3 guys that made those dreams reality.

Skateboarding Superstar Chris Cole

Watching Chris Cole skate is equal parts excitement as it is wonder. Most if not all of his tricks are so jaw-dropping that even his peers and competitors can’t help but stop to take notice. Through his technicality as a pro skater to the raw uncompromising approach to his craft Mr. Cole is truly a ground breaking sportsman. It’s beyond inspiring to know this husband and father has the opportunity to do what he loves and loves what he does - all while changing the face of the sport. It was an honor working with him and his team on his official website. Be sure to check out his videos and we dare you not to be impressed with his skills. chriscoleskate.com

Dakota Roche - BMX Legend In The Making

Dakota Roche is easily the nicest dude on the planet. On top of that he’s extremely easy to work with, fun, excited and overall just passionate about what he does. Put that together with his insane BMX riding and you make for a true athlete. Watching Dakota ride brings us back to our youth and makes us want to drop our skateboards and actually take up riding BMX. You can actually see skateboarding elements in his performance and it’s easy to see why skateboarders and BMX riders alike are so drawn to DAK. Like Chris Cole’s site, we were honor to work with Dakota’s team on his official website. dakotaroche.com

Quinton “Rampage” Jackson - UFC’s Ultimate Bad Ass

Rampage Jackson was the first fighter to unify a UFC and PRIDE championship belt. He has a professional record of 31 wins with eight losses. Intimidating was the first thing that came to mind when being asked to build his website. Little did we know he’s a really professional and polite guy. Still, that didn’t ease our mind any so we tried to capture Rampage’s needs with a dark, intimidating layout and theme with a very easy backend for either his management or even himself to update with out ever needing any aid. We think we did a great job at that, but our only proof is that we’re still standing. rampage-jackson.com

29 7 / 2011

Maylene IV

Working with Maylene is always a treat. This is our 3rd layout with them and each time they bring a completely new idea/element to the creative table all while staying consistent with their previous designs. The story of Ma Baker is synonymous with not only the band but of our time spent working with Dallas and the boys and it’s always a project we look forward to each and every album cycle. Working with the almighty Ryan Russell’s photography is always an added bonus.

This time around we emulated the oldest of the old and went for a very classic/vintage vinyl look. Worn edges and stereophonic tags are just a couple pieces of this vintage project and we had a blast working on it. We’ll be posting the rest of the layout once it’s done, but for now be on the lookout for Maylene’s new release - it’s guaranteed to blow heads off.

22 7 / 2011

A Features Bonanza!

After a little less than a month of being up and running we have been smooth sailing, pumping out new work, and becoming slightly obsessed with the U.S. release of Spotify.  But most importantly we have been blown away by the humbling and positive feedback we have been getting with this new venture of ours.

Everyone has been more than kind and we have loved seeing everyone’s Tweets and features sprinkled throughout the web. From getting the ‘Site of the Day’ on Awwwards and also having our responsive layout featured on Media Queries just today, it has really been an honor.

So we thought we would take a moment and thank all the sites that have featured us and we can’t way thank you enough. Really!

Tune in next week, we will be posting new work to the Workshop. Until then..


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05 7 / 2011

Behind the Curtain

Well, well, the time has come. Finally, after 7 months of copious amounts of blood, sweat, and beers the official site of Forefathers is now live. It took us all working at 110% to pull this off and we couldn’t be happier or more satisfied with the outcome. Over the past 7 months we have learned a lot about ourselves and more importantly our newly formed brand.

So let’s take a little tour of how this all came to be.

Step One: Branding

We knew the branding with Forefathers had to be special. Something very unique and strong but with also a huge emphasis on the era / time period we were wanting to focus on. So we went straight to our branding guru Dan Gretta to get the job done. After rounds of revisions and tightening up the mark Dan finalized really paved the way of the Forefathers brand to come.

Step Two: Site Design

When it came to the design of the Forefathers site we really took our time on the layout. We knew as far as functionality was concerned we really wanted to try some new things, however, we still wanted the site to be very direct and easy to get to our work in the Workshop. After all, this was the biggest focus of the site. Revision after revision we hacked away until it was just right.

Step Three: The Responsive-ness

With Forefathers one of the biggest obstacles was going to be creating this site to be totally responsive and fluid. Trying to incorporate many of the elements that we wanted to showcase but at the same time the site could scale down to any mobile platform. This was definitely the most painstaking but unbelievably rewarding element of the site. We believe the payoff really shows and we couldn’t be happier!

 Step Four: Content & Launch!

With the branding, site design, and front-end development in place it was time to move onto the content and back-end content management system for the site. For the content we reached out to our great friend Devin at Word Refuge for the very stylistic, humorous, and roaring twenties themed content that pertained still to our industry of design as a whole.

Once the content was in place it was time for a Warrior to step up. We needed a guy whose brain capacity and speed was ten times all of ours put together. Luckily we have such a mastermind on our team to create the perfect Drupal based back-end for us. Of course we can’t show you this element of our site but take our word for it. It’s unreal!


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01 7 / 2011

Asphyxia Fiend and 10 other gems.

They say 3rd times a charm and we have to agree with them this time around. We were fortunate to work with Toronto, Canada’s beloved Dead And Divine on their new album ‘Antimacy’ and couldn’t be more excited by the outcome. This is our third album layout with the fellas and each time gets better and better. This time around the band wanted to really explore imagery that correlates directly with the lyrical content of the album. When reviewing all the band’s notes and song titles it made obvious sense to reach out to friend, colleague and veteran photographic bad ass, Ben Pobjoy, to do the photos for this album. His gritty, raw style really captured that unnerving effect we were going for. The raw photos alone were enough to make sure the office doors was closed before checking them out any further.

We worked hand in hand with the band while creating this package and the final outcome is definitely one of our favorite layouts to date. Once the album drops, August 2nd, we’ll definitely post all the images in our Workshop, but for now please enjoy the cover and be sure to head over to antimacy.com and pre-order yourself a copy of this killer album.