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complete album packaging / concept + design

When I was first asked to work on the visuals for this new recording, a title had not even been found and as we were discussing a stylistic approach to its presentation, the project’s name evolved in parallel. Repeatedly, the notion of communication, connection, people interacting in life’s many different ways became the overarching theme of what vibes player, composer and co-band leader Joe Locke had in mind for this second release of The Joe Locke / Geoffrey Keezer Group. 'Signing' - new album by The Joe Locke / Geoffrey Keezer GroupIn the liner notes and the album’s accompanying press pack, Joe explains how one day his late mother – a teacher, trained in international sign language – connected with a young man who lived in her building. He was deaf-blind and had been unable to communicate with the outside world in a long time. By spelling her name into the palm of his hand, she woke up a lonely soul and created a friendship that should last for the rest of her life.

It was this and many other untold stories that not only gave this album a title, but also stand for what makes this band (besides Joe and Geoffrey there are Terreon Gully, drums, and Mike Pope, bass) so intriguingly special and exciting to listen to and watch live. The effortlessness of creative interaction and musical understanding seeps out of every note.

The creative concept I proposed had to work on different levels:

  • a clear and dominant visual shape that stands out and works even in a restricted digital form
  • the communication of the meaning of signing in the sense of multiple methods and tools people use to sign, signal and communicate with each other
  • maintaining the Joe Locke brand identity, which we have gently established over seven years and six album designs
  • working with the renowned Motéma Music label by staying loyal to their high creative standards and corporate identity.

The hand came in as a natural metaphor for the original story, the shape that works even on a 32 x 32 pixel icon and an idiom for the connection between people, physical and otherwise. Humanities tool to feel, speak, create, sign… and make music. Embedded in the hand, and only clear at closer inspection and a benefit to those who decide to buy the CD, are images we all associated with the overarching idea of signing and signalling, communicating and leaving a mark. The centre piece of which builds a modern quilt, designed and created by deaf American artist Theresa Matteson Coughlan. Thanks to the team at Motéma, we had free reign about both design and type of packaging, as we ended up working all text, details about the music, production notes and legal content into a six-panel digipak, plus six-panel roll fold booklet.

The digipak untangled:

'Signing' - The Joe Locke / Geoffrey Keezer Group - inside digipak

'Signing' - The Joe Locke / Geoffrey Keezer Group - inside digipak 2

The roll-fold booklet/flyer:

'Signing' - The Joe Locke / Geoffrey Keezer Group - outside booklet

'Signing' by the Joe Locke / Geoffrey Keezer Group - booklet inside

The Joe Locke / Geoffrey Keezer Group also have a website, where you can find music samples of ‘Signing’ and touring details.

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