Case Studies

The Gravel Project

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The Gravel Project is the creation of brothers, (guitarist) Andrew and (organist) Jordan Gravel. Described by The Boston Globe as "a night of rocking blues and funk jams," the Gravel Project electrifies crowds with inventive original songs, creative interpretations of well known classics, and high-energy group improvisation. A distinguishing characteristic of the band is the absence of a bass guitar, with Jordan's organ instead covering that sonic range.

The band initially approached me needing a sharp, professional press kit. We hit it off and went on to completely redesign their then-problematic website, and continued with artwork and package design for their second full-length album, Wishful Thinking, as well as merchandise and promotional materials for the band.

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Wishful Thinking LP

Adobe Photoshop, Skylum Luminar, Adobe Illustrator

CONCEPT — Seeking a vintage, 70s-throwback vibe but with a modern treatment, The Gravel Project had selected an abstract painting by artist Angela Chvarek for the Wishful Thinking album cover. The complex colors and patterns of the painting indeed feel very characteristic of The Gravel Project's rich, rhythmic, and moody fusion of rock, funk, and blues.

OUTSIDE — Using a horizontal adaptation of the band's standard logo, the typography is arranged in a "stripe" pattern, bisecting the artwork and wrapping around the eco-wallet packaging, as a way of contrasting from the circular pattern of the artwork without heavily obscuring it. Different pieces of information are distinguished using alternating colors, adapted from those in the painting, as well as thoughtful use of spacing and alignment. A scaled drop-shadow applied to the album cover typography provides a sense of depth, further separating the text from the painting underneath.

INSIDE — The typography inside the eco-wallet continues the pattern of clean, stripe-like alignments, complementing the repeated vertical strokes of the background (lifted from the corners of the original painting), and again using alternating colors and spacing to distinguish different types of information.

ON-DISC — The circular nature of the artwork fits the shape of the disc like a glove. To work around the central hole, the on-disc typography returns to the band's standard logo, arranged side-by-side with the album title, instead of stacked.

Website Design

Squarespace, Customizations using CSS, HTML, and JavaScript
Integrations with MailChimp, Bandcamp, Instagram, YouTube, SoundCloud, and SmartURL
Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator

THE PROBLEM — The Gravel Project felt their existing website was outdated, visually unappealing, poorly organized, and most importantly, difficult to manage. It was built using the WordPress platform, which powers very many beautiful and successful sites across the web, but it can be prone to complex maintenance challenges, causing the band to rely on a web developer for general website management.

THE SOLUTION — For The Gravel Project's new website we turned to the Squarespace platform, allowing for rapid development of a beautiful, rich site, that's easily updated and maintained personally by the band, on a modest budget. It also provides a mobile-responsive structure with minimal effort, which means that everything looks and works great on any device. Using custom code and third-party integrations, the foundational template is easily tailored to the specific needs of the band.

THE RESULT — The resulting design showcases engaging content with immersive, full-width photo and video backgrounds, while the navigational structure streamlines curious visitors effortlessly to the content they seek: highlighting new music from Bandcamp and SoundCloud, tour dates from Bandsintown, tour photos from Instagram, video content from YouTube, news updates from the blog and social media, newsletter signup with MailChimp, and smart links to major music distribution platforms using SmartURL. A well-groomed digital Press Kit is also prominently located in the main navigation, ensuring that important professional networking communications enjoy minimal resistance.

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Apparel

Adobe Illustrator

For this T-shirt design, based on the Wishful Thinking album artwork, the band rehired original artist Angela Chvarek to create a special adaptation of her painting using only four colors. This simplified adaptation was then converted to vector art and integrated with the band's logo, and the design was screen-printed using five different color separations, including white.

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Sticker

Adobe Illustrator

A circular sticker design was a natural choice for adapting the Wishful Thinking album artwork, opting for the band's standard logo—instead of the linear album version—for better visibility at small scale.

 The Gravel Project at the Extended Play Sessions April 12, 2018

Promotional Show Poster

Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator

This promotional poster was created for a very special, triple-act summer concert with The Gravel Project and two of their contemporaries. At first we experimented with converting the band's photos to an abstract artwork style, inspired by the Wishful Thinking album theme, but the band decided they wanted a photographic style to capture the real-life experience of their show.

To solve the challenge of blending three very different images into one cohesive design, the apparent vertical streaking effect was created by applying motion blur to the image backgrounds. A similar affect is used on the artist names, and the result simultaneously adds visual energy and rhythm, conveying the excitement one can expect from the show.

The design borrows a few visual concepts from the Wishful Thinking album style guide, including informational content arranged in a horizontal stripe, using alternating colors, and contrasting vertical rhythm behind.

 

Client Feedback

 
 

"Tye went above and beyond…professionalism, thoroughness and responsiveness.

The product that he delivered with the [press kit] was exactly what we had in mind. …visually appealing with great use of space and colors, and also very organized…

…I was even more impressed with the website… After listening to [our priorities], he completely understood our motivation for [the redesign]…and shared many creative ideas. He helped us achieve our goals of a more user friendly and visually appealing site…that directs visitors to the pages that are most important. Even when the website was complete, Tye went above and beyond again…with instructions on basically everything I'd ever want to use the website for. 

…I’d recommend [Tye] to anyone and everyone who needs a graphic designer and/or website designer."

— Andrew Gravel, guitarist/vocalist and songwriter, The Gravel Project