Case Studies

Michael Stec


Album Artwork

Michael Stec is a singer-songwriter, native to Pennsylvania and trained by Berklee College of Music. This logo and artwork was invented for his debut, self-titled EP, which to me evoked a combination of rustic and urban culture, with a soulful yet slightly whimsical expression.

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Adobe Illustrator

CONCEPT & LETTERING — No typeface was used, opting instead for a unique, handwritten style, implicit of Stec's own honest and personal approach to his craft. To add personality, the M and S were twisted into the shape of Stec's semi-profile, traced from a photograph of him playing guitar in the recording studio, and a few additional strokes were all that was needed to complete the minimalist illustration of Stec's facial features. These strokes were reduced further, as if his left eye was cast in a shadow by dramatic lighting.

ILLUSTRATION — The trace of Stec's hand and guitar neck were added as an option, with the intention of allowing the logo to work with or without them, and perhaps at times even without the face.

EMBELLISHMENT & REDUCTION — The flexibility of the logo elements creates an identity system that can adapt beautifully in widely disparate contexts—from an album cover (using the full, guitar-in-hand illustration), to a guitar pick (with only the abstraction of Stec's silhouette remaining, after completely reducing the logo to just his initials).


EP Album Artwork

Adobe Illustrator, Photography, Adobe Photoshop

The full logo is the centerpiece of Stec's self-titled EP album artwork, wherein it is set very simply in white over closely photographed woodgrain from the back of an acoustic guitar, while vignetting and drop shadow are cast to add a sense of dramatic stage lighting.