2020 CCMA Creative Director(s) of the Year [final nominee]
2020 WCMA Excellence In Visual Design [final nominee]
Photography by Ben Shillabeer
I developed the overall concept while on the phone with Ryan discussing his vision for the album and what it meant to him. He mentioned that he was working to bring more colour into his world and how he was emerging from a dark period after his last album. With that vision in mind, there was absolutely no question which image was going to be “the one”, this cover photo stopped us all in our tracks. Listening to the music fuelled the concept further, adding the coloured light streaks streaming into his face leads to his right eye which has filled with colour. I added a slight gradient to the title/name treatment to give the image even more depth as if Ryan was indeed coming out of the cover.
The treatment for the single stems directly from the album cover, in that each song on an album represents a unique part of the spectrum that makes up that collection of music. Ryan and I decided to assign each track a specific colour from those on the cover based on the narrative of the song and order in which they are to be released.
The concept for the show poster comes from how how Ryan is looking down at a darker reflection of himself while standing in the coloured light having risen above it. Even though it still remains part of him, he looks upon it with wisdom and strength, knowing all he has overcome to get here. The large light streak across the middle leaves ample room for event/promoter/venue information.
Inspired by the raw roots rock of the album I created a handful of t-shirt designs based on several of the tracks, but in the end it came down to a design based on a simple line directly from Ryan himself, live and dream. The final t-shirt was modified slightly from my design (more colours added to the rose), but the overall design remains the same.
Ryan’s brand has included his rose tattoo and that illustration made for a fantastic enamel pin. As the entire It Was A Song package began to take shape, the pin began to take on additional meaning. The Ryan’s Rose pin has now become a key part in his mental health campaign as Ryan explains, “I wanted something that people can wear as a reminder that they do not walk alone. Whatever they may be going through. Mental illness, physical pain, loneliness, whatever it is. You don’t walk alone.”