For seven years I worked in-house as a designer for WOMAD and Real World, the group of creative companies owned and directed by the artist Peter Gabriel. My role involved providing the graphic design and animation as required by the various organisations, Peter Gabriel’s interest in technology and art giving the opportunity to experiment with emerging new media.
Creating leaflets, posters and educational materials for the WOMAD Festival – World of Music Arts and Dance – opened my eyes to new music and arts from around the world. Real World Records, Peter Gabriel’s record label, provided the opportunity to work with extraordinary recording artists and exceptional photographers, designers and fine artists.
One band that I particularly enjoyed working with was Joi, the musical child of two brothers Farook and Haroon Shamsher, both for their music and in the ways we tried to project their vibe through the artwork. For the first album One and One is One, the album design combined video and photographs taken at their club night in Brixton with a photoshoot by Tim Kavanagh.
For the 2nd album We Are Three sadly one of the two brothers Haroon passed away shortly after recording the record. To create the album Haroon met and recorded with a number of musicians in the Sylhet region of Bangladesh. To honour his memory and create visuals that would reflect the album I had the great privilege of travelling to Bangladesh with Farook to document his journey to meet the musicians Haroon had recorded with. My job was to shoot film and video of the journey to create material that we could use to design the music packaging, use as publicity photography and make a music video!
My impression of Bangladesh, was a beautiful and friendly place – with a colour palette of lush greens and turquoise which I tried to convey in the design. For the cover I used the idea of a reflection where Farook reflects upon the image of his brother Haroon – which in turn reflects on the album’s title “We Are Three”.
Each of the album designs I had the opportunity to create for Real World has its own backstory of different input from the artist and the flavour and atmosphere of the music, sometimes working with existing photography, sometimes using our own photo shoots or illustrations – each many hours of research, creation and thought to make something special and unique…