Shutdown EP: Case Study

Team : Panini Pandey (Creative Director & Desginer) Gaurav Wakankar (Animator)  //    Timeline : 3 Weeks





The Visual Approach



The EP was created during the 2020 Corona Pandemic as an effort to maintain the energy of rap music during the mundane times, and kind of make-up for the lack of concert/physical presence through a collaborative project that included artists and producers from all different parts of India 🇮🇳 and America 🇺🇸. This was also a hectic project since all the visuals were conceptualized and executed within 3 Weeks.





To create the artwork and overall visual theme, I kept two factors in mind:



︎︎︎ Gully Gang (GG) x Mass Appeal India (MAI) Branding: This project was also one of the milestones in establishing the relationship between GG and MA and their mission to promote and publish local musicians, so it was important to inject their brand identities into the overall EP visuals.


︎︎︎ The general idea behind the EP - Collaboration and Energy. The music on the EP was a balance between the competitive energy of rap music and the entertainment aspect of the artform.



To make judicious use of the limited time and resources at hand, I wanted to make the visual identity of the album very inviting, communicative and easy to consume. I went with a Triptych approach to tie all pieces up.






The Artwork

The artwork was a product of 3 major inspirations:






Bars

Associates with both ‘Shutdown’ or being confined and ‘bars’ in lyrics.



DO NOT CROSS/ Crime scene yellow tape

Associates with the idea of ‘Caution’, restriction and ‘do not cross/mess with us’ (danger) competitive angle of the music and writing.



Shutters

Small local shops with shutters are extremely common in India, closed shutters are a strong visual indicator of ‘curfew’ and resonate with the targeted demographic more.




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Motion Assets




Due to the curfew, shooting music videos for this project was impossible, so we decided to make lyric videos/ youtube assets for each song. I extended the artwork’s tryptic approach to the video, but modified the bold and crisp aesthetic into something a little more organic to facilitate quick animations while resonating with the music production (distorted, loud, aggressive, energetic).

I worked with the animator Gaurav Wakankar and started with dissecting the message in each track into 3 key visuals, and then he created the looped animations for each of these elements. I then put these animations into a motion graphic video.



The three factors that guided video creation were:



  1. Raw, organic, grungy but inviting and fun illustrations. (Moodboard below)







  2. Bright colors (restricted palette), playful motion graphics
  3. Subtle but impactful motion in animations (all conceptualized and executed by Gaurav)




Videos


For each video, I made a list of elements that resonated the most with the song, keeping in mind both the lyrics and production.

*for the sake of this case study, I am summarizing the themes into the most basic and simple sentences to the best of my ability, however, all songs deliver way more than what’s mentioned and the visuals are meant to cohesively catch the essence of the sound and message.







1. Bag


Broad theme: Making serious money, getting paid for hardwork, selling out shows, and success in the music industry.

Elements:
  1. Suitcase full of money
  2. Show tickets selling out
  3. Stacks of bills








View Count: 1.7M 





2. Bass Kya Ba

 

Broad theme: A showcase of  flows and writing skills, collaboration of 9 artists on a track

Elements:
  1. Bread, butter (The catchy hook says ‘my flow is smooth like butter on bread’)
  2. Headbanging (The high energy production [electronic, dubstep] resonates with the movement)
  3. Loud Speakers (Artists speak about finally being heard and being fearless with their message)







View Count: 511K



3. Flavours


Broad theme: A track about the skills the featured artist’s possess, how they can deliver different flows and style, slap the bass with their music.

Elements:
  1. Slap (The hook says ‘Slapped the bass directly’)
  2. Ice cream scoops
  3. Tyre drift (inspired by the first line of the song about being ‘so fast that nobody can catch me’)








View Count: 1.7M



*2 More vidoes are scheduled to release soon, and will be added to the case study once they’re made available to the public.






Social media announcement & plan




In order to squeeze maximum engagement, our (GG & MAI) creative teams decided to drop some singles after a decent activation and introduce challenges, QnA etc. to keep the audiences glued to the project. My job was to contribute to this plan with mor subtle ideas that would generate more engagement.



  1. The ‘Bars’ DP was the first step towards activation, and was quickly noticed by the audience. There were conversations and discussions when they noticed how different artists from north and south had similar DPs leading them conclude that the long awaited collaborations might drop.







  2. Then the Cover Art was dropped- the cover art had names of all featured artists, thereby confirming the audience’s guess leading to the question - ‘When is it dropping?’








  3. The first single (the second track on the EP) was then announced through motion poster revealing it’s the second track, sparking the comment section with questions like “Where is track one?”, “How many tracks are there?”, “Are the artists featured in more than one track?”








    Translation: What is Track 1? ; You already know this is going to be hard



  4. The artists featuring in the first song changed their DPs to a more custom ‘SHUTDOWN’ DP, these DPs were also noticed and were mostly adapted by fans who made their own renditions of SHUTDOWN DPs.


















  5. Second single’s announcement surfaces, with a similar motion graphic poster revealing it’s the 3rd song, further making fans wonder where/what the first song is.








  6. The second single dropped with the associated artist’s changing their DPs, followed by the back cover, addressing all questions about ‘how many songs’ , ‘features’ etc.



















The End



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