Graphic Designer Earica Parrish Talks Importance of Artwork, Branding & More

September 21, 2018 | Interviews

Earica Parrish is a writer, editor, and graphic designer from Washington, D.C.

As a growing professional in the media industry, she has worked with brands like Nubian Hueman Boutique, Men’s Health Magazine, and Prestige Magazine Hong Kong.

Uptown Plug had the pleasure of speaking to Earica about her design inspirations working internationally, common artwork mistakes, the importance of design for an artist’s brand and more.

1) Who do you look at to get inspiration for your design?

I really look to my close friends as a main source of design inspiration. A lot of them are creatively driven in some way. I can talk to them for hours about everything, whether it be social issues or music.

Just hearing their thoughts, the things they care about and the type of knowledge they share with me really fuels my creative energy. It motivates me to do a lot more passion projects aside from my projects for my clients.

2) You’re from Washington, D.C but you’ve also worked in Paris. What are some of the differences when it comes to design in Europe vs. America?

The most obvious difference is the language usage. Depending on the audience you’re trying to target, you have to make sure your verbiage is clear and written in the language that they speak in.

I feel like a lot of the design work I’ve seen in Europe is a lot more minimalist and are really big on simple, yet impactful design.

As for America, I feel like it’s so diverse. You have a lot of people who thrive off of good imagery and photography, other people love illustrations, and others just love typography. It can be a bit chaotic, but that’s what art is all about.

3) Can you describe your design process for us? When it comes to a client like Nubian Hueman Boutique, what is involved from the initial brief to final product?

So my training is in journalism, so I use a lot of my interpersonal skills that I picked up through interviewing subjects in order to talk to my clients. First and foremost, we sit down and brainstorm.

I ask them a series of questions just to get a sense of what their brand is all about, the vision that they have for the project they’ve assigned me to, some of the images and colors that resonate with them with respects to the brand, things like that.

I then take notes from our conversation, and make a mood board that helps to conceptualize their vision. The client sends me whatever images, colors, fonts they like to add to the board.

I get their stamp of approval on the board, and then from there I sketch out some drafts.

After that, I execute the design, get the client’s feedback, and then we work together on the final product. So it’s a very collaborative process. I always want to make sure that I am bringing the client’s vision to life, while also implementing my own personal touch as well.

4) What is your favourite design that you’ve created?

Most recently, I helped one of my friends create an album cover for his new project. I had a lot of fun with that cover, because he gave me a lot of free range to be as creative as I wanted to be while also staying true to the message and the vibes of the project.

He’s currently working on his brand image, so it was a lot of fun helping him develop a cover that could serve as a springboard into his developing brand as an musician and producer.

Also it was my first time having my work published on all streaming services, like Tidal and Spotify, so I felt really accomplished!

5) What are some of the common artwork mistakes you see artists make with their music?

For me, some artists don’t have a good balance within a certain design. Like the elements within the design aren’t distributed evenly.

For example, sometimes the typography or handlettering can overpower the main image of the album’s cover art or vice versa.

It can be somewhat distracting. I think some people try too hard or overthink a design, and try to put everything on the cover when sometimes it can be as simple as an image or just wording.

Also, some artists don’t want to invest in high resolution photography and so some cover arts that I see that use photography isn’t good quality. That throws me off a lot, too.

6) How important do you think a strong album cover plays in an artist’s overall brand?

It’s super important in my opinion. Honestly, when an artist is coming out with a new project, nine times out of ten their marketing materials match the aesthetics of the cover itself.

Just take a look at Travis Scott’s branding with ASTROWORLD versus Birds in the Trap, for example.

Each project has a succinct theme and their visuals from the cover to the overall branding of both projects were very different.

When it came down to the marketing of both projects, you can see how everything from the merchandise, to the stage design, and the promotional material all mirrored the aesthetic of the album covers.

I think it’s pretty powerful how creative directors and marketing teams for musicians can come up with so many ideas from a simple cover design.

7) What’s next for you Earica? Where do you see yourself in the next few years?

I’m pretty spontaneous in the sense that I just let a new life happen for me. Right now, I’m gearing up to move to the West Coast to work, so I’m pretty excited about that for sure.

I still plan on designing and creating visuals for brands.

I want to be able to live out one of my dream jobs, and that’s to be a creative director for a musician or record label. It doesn’t have to be a big name artist or label, though.

I just want to diversify the demographic of the preexisting creative directors out there, who tend to be white men, and show people that women of color can do it twice a good, effortlessly.

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