How I Got Here: Designer Kenny Gravillis

From movie posters for Bohemian Rhapsody and BlacKkKlansman, to record sleeves for Def Jam and The Roots, Kenny Gravillis’ designs have reached millions. He talks us through his career

Kenny Gravillis first came across graphic design when at secondary school in the UK. He studied the subject in London but it was a move to New York in the late 80s that saw his career really take off. He first found his style working at Def Jam records for artists including Public Enemy and LL Cool J, before moving to MCA Records and continuing in music design for the likes of Mary J Blige, The Roots and Common.

After the music industry hit the skids, he made a deft – if not easy – move into designing movie posters and has since created striking work for movies ranging from Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman to documentaries such as Free Solo and kid’s films including The Kid Who Would Be King.

Here Gravillis talks us through his first discovery of graphic design, why it pays to be proactive in your career, and why Hollywood needs more people of colour; plus he explains how one of the most important pieces of design he has done is the poster for Alvin The Chipmunk: The Squeakquel.

GRAPHIC DESIGNER

London, EC3R

SENIOR DESIGNER

Guildford, Surrey