Stratosphere is the name of my new client. They’re a noise music duet who are constantly looking to recreate. They don’t know exactly what they want, but they do know they want it to be compelling. They don’t want me to think too much either. To move forward not blindly but with eyes closed. They want me to tap impulses without worrying if it is what I’ve done before, or if it is ugly. Ugly to me, as an adult professional, has been redefined as unsuccessful. “I don’t care if it’s ugly, does it work, or does it fail”? Common question at college. I’ll try looking at that in a different way for this project. So I’m seeking something more from an intangible, less defined state of creativity. I want to begin by collage. I almost named the band “The Fck Is Découpage?” but then thought that was too abrasive. Stratosphere is more about the memory of sound, the environment of dwelling, existing in emotion and space. It’s got alien audio, it’s got recordings of subterranean sounds; it’s got violins and cello and guitar; it’s got clock tower bells and tape loops of children’s voices and shoreline wave crashes; it’s got white noise and black noise, it’s got found music, it’s got original music, it’s got stolen music. Mixture is an understatement. Visceral is more like it.
Designing something without a framework, without guidelines or even a goal can ignite an artist, or completely terrify them. I’m in the later camp. I fear forgetting how to paint, or collect, or construct. In the case of collage, wonder is the key. One must be curious and patient. One must collect and absorb and see the beauty in sometimes regular things. I keep reaching for my tools for this project, but I do not know what the tools are. Do I draw an S as many ways as I can? Do I assemble all the bits and pieces of leftover scraps in my room? Do I escape into the world in the hope that I’ll come across something usable? Do I reach into my banks of collections I have stashed over time and design something out of those?
Stratosphere. What if it had to do with that incredibly vast bank of air and space that lingers and lofts above our layer of oxygen and flip it upside-down. I visualize the sea, and imagine all of its weight being lifted, the paradox of feeling buoyant in something so heavy that it’s unimaginable. A similar feeling to memory, or nostalgia at least. Fond memory. Beautiful but distorted.
For the beginning of this brand I’ll continue to use the inspiration board idea, above. It’s essentially a photoshop collage, but the content is just as important as the form. Colors and shape are sometimes not right; it’s more about the fact that this music reminds me of things like string, and bubbles and dirigibles and confetti and aluminum foil. It’s very textured, but calling out one texture isn’t exactly right either. The one thing that does resound for this particular project, as is typical with these boards, is the amount of layering. Layering is key to Stratosphere. How that comes across in the final branding is important.
Right now, thinking about how the brand manifests, I am considering a stamp. A “Stratosphere was here” stamp. Perhaps it is multiple stamps that can layer on top of each other. Maybe it is 22 stamps that can be layered in any order, any arrangement. A stencil might be a little too propaganda for them. They’re certainly not looking for letterhead, they’re the opposite of corporate. Show posters though. Yes, certainly. So difficult to think about a potential “logo” and the composition of something like a poster. I’ll get into some research next go, and hopefully get some sketches kicking for exploration. Until then, think visceral.