Released in November, Robbie Williams‘ album, Take The Crown, demonstrates the need to design not just a cover for a new album by an artist such as Williams, but a coherent campaign that functions across varied media…
In August last year we posted about the Tumblr blog that Tom Hingston Studio, Anomaly and Harmony Park designed for Robbie Williams to promote the album (read that blog post here). The customised Tumblr site was the first piece of media to hint at the album’s artwork – it featured an interactive sculptural bust of Robbie at the top which visitors can spin around to select different areas of Robbie’s mind to explore. Click on a specific topic and the onscreen content is filtered accordingly.
When the album came out, the front cover too featured a bust of RW on the cover (shown above) and a booklet within contained images of further busts of the singer, each rendered in a different material or colour and each displaying a different facial expression. It is this fairly simple and uncluttered notion that forms the basis for the album campaign, from website to album sleeve artwork and beyond to ads and even the set design for the album tour.
The idea to create a bust of RW was, says Tom Hingston, born out of the album title Take The Crown. “We were interested in the re-appropriation of symbolism associated with the monarchy or Royalty,” he explains. “We created 15 individual busts of Robbie and each one captures a very different facial expression and character mood from one to the next. When seen all together the viewer is exposed to a whole range of juxtaposing mood swings: from euphoric, to sad, to angry to tired or subdued.”
The busts that appear on the album cover and within the booklet (further images from the booklet shown below) are all digital images created by first 3D scanning RW’s head and shoulders. 3D artist Oliver Fawcett created the final images working very closely with Tom Hingston Studio.
As well as appearing in the album booklet and on press and poster images, the 3D image files were also used to create moving image teasers and ads for the album such as these escalator panel ads:
…and this TV ad for the album:
But perhaps our favourite manifestations of the campaign are the huge mirror-covered RW glitterball busts created for the album tour stage set:
Photo by Ralph Larman
Take The Crown is, in fact, the eighth Robbie Williams album that Tom Hingston Studio has worked on (see some of their other RW campaigns by selecting ‘Robbie Williams’ in the left hand menu here) and Hingston is keen to point out that without the support of the artist, it simply wouldn’t be possible to execute this kind of creative approach.
“Robbie’s always been incredibly supportive in the creative approach to a campaign,” Hingston tells us, and with this album we were both keen to move away from anything we’d done previously and to find a way of of featuring Robbie but without taking a conventional photographic or illustrative approach.
“We undertook a one day scanning session, which was split into two parts: static 3D scanning and the 4D moving capture. Each static scan took around 45 seconds, enabling us to capture a whole range of differeint expressions and poses. The 4D data was later used to drive the animation of each head.
“Generating such a wealth of material meant that we could be much more playful with the campaign imagery – allowing the head to appear and behave differently across the various platforms – be it online, print, augmented reality or TV.”
Design and art direction: Tom Hingston Studio
3D artist: Oliver Fawcett @ Tom Hingston Studio
3D scanning: Inition
Show designer: Willie Williams
Production designer: Mark Fisher
CR in Print
The January issue of Creative Review is all about the Money – well, almost. What do you earn? Is everyone else getting more? Do you charge enough for your work? How much would it cost to set up on your own? Is there a better way of getting paid? These and many more questions are addressed in January’s CR.
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