Responses by Matt Baxter, creative director and Lydia Fisher, designer, Baxter & Bailey
Background: Galya Bisengalieva is a Kazakh-British violinist, improviser, collaborator and leader of the London Contemporary Orchestra. The talented and innovative young musician has conceived and launched a new contemporary classical music imprint, NOMAD Music Productions. NOMAD’s ambition is to methodically broaden the parameters of contemporary classical music. Its releases are rooted in a deep knowledge of the classics but not bound by them, making use of electronics and technology as well as unconventional collaborations. Galya approached us to help launch the label.
Reasoning: Taking inspiration from Galya’s determination to defy boundaries as well as the often ebullient and kinetic world of electronic music, our challenge was to explore graphic systems that would allow for an intentionally eclectic visual approach, underpinned by a consistency of typography and structure.
Challenges: Balancing an intentional eclecticism in the design with elements of consistency and structure. It was our intention that the imagery should be willfully eclectic, reflecting the music for each artist and release, and that the typographic logo should roam and wander freely and differently on every cover. However, if we allowed too much variation and inconsistency, we risked a confusing and disparate set of covers. By simply anchoring the initial N in a constant position and by limiting some design choices, such as supporting colors and type choices, we struck a balance between eclecticism and consistency.
Favorite details: Our solution is a “nomadic” logotype which has the ability to roam freely across printed surfaces and digital screens. The underpinning system ensures that no two NOMAD releases are visually the same: a consistently locked initial N enables the remaining letterforms of the logotype to slip and slide across the physical or digital packaging. This design framework allows for an intentionally eclectic approach to imagery, with visuals reflecting the nature of the recording in each case.
Specific demands: Applying the identity to NOMAD’s vinyl sleeves was particularly enjoyable and demanding. With the label still in its infancy, funding for pressing the vinyl and printing the package was tight, so NOMAD couldn’t stretch to many complex special finishes when it came to print production. We had to ensure that these print production restrictions became a benefit, rather than a problem, which I think we achieved. One of my favorite elements of the design solution is the bespoke catalogue numbering system conceived for the sleeves.
Anything new: Having worked for clients in arts and culture for many years, we are familiar and enjoy this territory. We’ve worked with some of the world’s finest orchestras, including the London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris and the London Contemporary Orchestra. However, the contemporary classical nature of NOMAD’s output, which pushes at the edges of expectation and convention, really opened our ears! We always learn something new in every project. This time it was a sonic lesson.