Case study

We have been collaborating with British record label ‘Chrysalis Records’ and artist ‘William the Conqueror’ for almost 5 years across most of their music releases. At the beginning of 2020 we were asked to collaborate on their artwork, marketing and overall promotion collateral for the upcoming release, ‘Maverick Thinker’. This is the Band’s third and final album that makes up a narrative around William’s (an imaginative character) life from his mother’s, father’s and finally his perspective. The stories are full of wonderful imagination from William’s childhood.

Visually we wanted to capture all three perspectives of William’s childhood on the album cover. The boy is William, he can be seen wearing his mother's clothes, displaying his admiration for her; he is holding a ship in a bottle that represents his father, because of his dad’s military roles around the world, his childhood was one of constant movement. This is further emphasised by the chosen dual background tones of white and black. The internal album artwork showcases colour to transfer the viewer into the dream state of William’s narratives, along with selected photographs from William’s memory.

Read Hide the full case study

Background

William the Conqueror are a British Rock band hailing from Cornwall in the South West of England.

Describing themselves as:

A character, a mythology, the flicker of a younger self, William the Conqueror is many things, but in simplest terms it is the name of a band put together by songwriter Ruarri Joseph, alongside his close musical conspirators Harry Harding (drums) and Naomi Holmes (bass) in the Winter of 2015.

Headjam are working with the Band and their record label; Chrysalis records in the UK on the bands third album artwork, music video and promotion.

The concept of the album' are stories and memories from Ruarri's childhood, the first album is from the perspective of his Dad, the second from his Mother and the third from William.

They have also recently recorded a podcast and stories based on a book Ruarri has written. This is how they describe it:

The podcast’s first episode opens with the eponymous protagonist hanging out of the 24th floor window of a south-east London tower block, high as a kite. As he teeters on the edge, his past rushes up to meet him and the listener is taken on a ride through the best his unravelling mind can serve up – the tale of a young boy dragged around the globe, educated by a mother’s silence, a father’s addiction to alcohol and Bob Dylan.

But there’s someone else here too. William is not alone on the journey through his muddled memories. A constant, nagging voice offers its own interpretation of the truth and an existential battle commences.

Before the podcast, there was the novel. Written by the band’s songwriter, Ruarri Joseph, it is the as-yet-unpublished memoir of a confused nineteen year old, searching for clues to help explain how he ended up so far from the wide-eyed ideals of his younger self, hoping to decipher the myth from the madness.

Through the podcasts and the novel, William always returns to the music - the band of Ruarri, bassist Naomi Holmes and drummer Harry Harding, represent the no-nonsense rock’n’roll trio that young William would have wanted them to be as he doodled logos and dreamt of conquering the world. There have been two albums so far: Proud Disturber of the Peace and its Ethan Johns produced follow up, Bleeding on the Soundtrack. Given that everything in William’s tale comes in threes, a third is surely imminent.

Objective

Sell the records and the band.

Target Audience

William the Conqueror's fan base and lovers of music.

Consumer Proposition

Stories from a childhood.

Desired Consumer Response

I am immersed in the music and stories.

Creative Solution

Visually we wanted to capture all three perspectives of William’s childhood on the album cover. The boy is William, he can be seen wearing his mother's clothes, displaying his admiration for her; he is holding a ship in a bottle that represents his father, because of his dad’s military roles around the world, his childhood was one of constant movement. This is further emphasised by the chosen dual background tones of white and black. The internal album artwork showcases colour to transfer the viewer into the dream state of William’s narratives, along with selected photographs from William’s memory.

To visually engage the reader in the stories of William’s childhood we decided that illustration was the best way to capture the imagination of William’s childhood memories. We engaged children’s book illustrator Liz Anelli, gave Liz the time to immerse herself in the books stories, Williams music, to chat and the team before ideate different scenes. A dark and grungy world was created by using traditional pencil and charcoal illustrations and on cheap scrap paper that were later scanned with all their flaws left in capturing the autobiographical narrative of Williams wonderful childhood memories.

The global pandemic stopped William the Conqueror flying to Australia to film a series of videos. To answer the clients brief for the band to be featured in the music videos the only option was to use a series of live clips recorded in the band's garage. Given the low production quality of the video clips we decided to highlight key lyrics from each songs narrative in beautiful typography. Echoing the autobiographical storytelling, the key lyrics were created using hand drawn lettering and typography. They were then scanned manually, digitised and then animated as an overlay over the video footage.

Hide the full case study
Headjam folio wtc 002
Headjam folio wtc 003
Headjam folio wtc 004
Headjam folio wtc 005
Headjam folio wtc 006
Headjam folio wtc 007
Headjam folio wtc 008
Headjam folio wtc 009
Headjam folio wtc 010
Headjam william the conqueror 1
'
'
Headjam folio wtc 011
Headjam folio wtc 012
Headjam folio wtc 013
Headjam folio wtc 014
Headjam folio wtc 015