Interview With Rich Lock, Director of Design Agency Devolution Designs

May 3, 2019 | Interviews

Rich Lock is the Director of design agency, Devolution Designs, founded out of a passion for music and design.

The company provides professional design services for the music and associated industries, including graphic design, website design and branding.

We spoke to Rich about his ambitions for launching Devolution Designs, where he gets his design inspirations, common artwork mistakes made by artists, and plenty more.

1) You launched Devolution Designs as an outlet for your combined passion of design and music. Tell us about the company and your business journey?

I started designing at a heavy metal distribution company called Plastic Head doing layouts and print work for metal bands.

I was designing merch and the odd album cover for their clients. I was there for a a couple of years whilst doing my own work in my free time as Devolution Designs which gained some traction.

It was through my work as Devolution that I landed a job as lead designer at Nu Urban Music a drum and bass distributor. I was there for a few years before leaving to work on Devolution full time.

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

All kinds of people. I like to try to draw where I can from classic design but artwork wise just the people I look up to when I was younger. Too many to mention.

I try not to look too much at other people’s work these days but a few people pout there encourage me to push.. Its good to have better people to look to to drive you.

Go on Behance and have a browse, there are so many amazing designers out there.

It’s always humbling!!

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

Unoriginality. I get briefs all the time that read ‘We want a logo like Skrillex… ‘ or ‘We want our artwork to look like X artwork…’..

Do your own thing. Also pay proper rates.. Your artwork should be an extension of your music which I assume you have slaved over and sweat over. Your artwork should be the same.

Not an after thought. Good artwork will pay for itself in marketing. Push things. Play with preconceptions, challenge people.

Off the top of my head I can think of Deafheaven, Jay Z, Queens of The Stone Age, Young Fathers, Dizzee Rascal as examples. There is a reason these people are successful and get attention, they take a genre and redefine it, from music to artwork.

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

Not as much as the old days. I used to buy records and still do if they have a cool cover.

But people definitely notice you more with a good cover also consistent styling and branding that has thought behind it is essential. If you have a crap logo and random shitty artwork how do you expect anyone to buy into you?

Branding is very important and that runs to artwork.

5) How do you think streaming services like Spotify have affected the use of music artwork?

Its workable still. Its just a different approach. Things are more brand focused as opposed to artistic. I do feel sad for kids who don’t have physical music releases in their life though.

It’s a whole other level of connection with the music. Physical artwork can really add a layer to what’s going on.

I think a lot of artwork is reflective of the more shall we say, throw away, nature of music now. The death of the album. Vinyl is here to stay so that’s reassuring. Its much more interesting to design a record sleeve than 3500px digital RGB square.

6) In addition to graphic design, you also provide web design services. What role does a website play in an artist’s marketing strategy?

Everything. You need to be self sufficient and a website is crucial. I like to approach a website from the point of view as an album cover or branding, its an extension of the music.

I work with a very good developer and we are pushing things forward in that area.

7) Even with social media platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc. would you still encourage an artist to have their own website?

100%. Social media is only ever going to be within social media. A website gets people out of social media and into your space.

You can create atmosphere with a site you can’t with a Facebook page. Use social media to get people to your site.

8) Where do you see Devolution Designs in the next 5 years?

​I always want to progress, so just improving my artwork, and getting it out there. I like to cross genres as much as possible.

I’ve been a huge metal and rock fan my whole life so jump at the chance to design in that genre its the most creatively free and exciting musical genre in my opinion.

No barriers, Just mental music that doesn’t take itself too seriously all the time. I also have a new side company launching called Artist Web that will be offering affordable web solutions for people.

So somewhere between horrible template DIY sites and high end sites. Kind of like semi bespoke, customised, professional designed sites without costing the earth.

Apart from that just still doing what I’m doing! If I can just carry on designing artwork for the rest of my career I’ll be happy. I don’t want a real job. I have tried it and I’m not good at it.

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