How We Got Here: Willo Perron & Brian Roettinger

As partners at Willo Perron & Associates, designer Brian Roettinger and creative director Willo Perron have worked on creative projects with some of the world’s biggest brands and musicians. We talk to the pair about their process 

Since working together on the artwork for Jay-Z’s Magna Carta album in 2011, designer Brian Roettinger and creative director Willo Perron have collaborated on a wide range of projects – from book designs to visual identities and creative direction for brands and musicians. Between them, the duo head up creative projects at Willo Perron & Associates – the Los Angeles studio that counts Rihanna, Pornhub and Helmut Lang among its clients.

The studio’s work is diverse, spanning live events, music videos, print design, branding, campaigns and interior design. Recent projects include tour visuals for Drake, Anderson.Paak and Tame Impala, album art for Mark Ronson, St Vincent and Lady Gaga and catwalk shows for Fenty and Alexander Wang. The studio has also designed retail spaces for Stussy and Adidas, along with visual identities for startups and cultural brands, and produced some beautifully crafted books and monographs for artists including David Black, Alex Israel and Henry Taylor.

Cover art for St Vincent’s album Masseduction. Creative direction: Willo Perron. Art direction: Nonot

Roettinger and Perron found their way into design and creative direction through music. Roettinger grew up in LA, and after playing in punk-rock bands, and experimenting with album art and music visuals, he enrolled at the California Institute of Arts. A few years later, he started working with the band No Age, creating album art, posters and visuals for them from 2007 to 2018. (Their collaboration came about after Roettinger met Dean Spunt – his former classmate, who formed No Age with Randy Randall – at LA music venue The Smell.)

Perron – who grew up in Montreal before moving to New York and LA – started out organising club nights and creating flyers. His love of music and club culture also led to him designing clothing and over the next few years, he embarked on various projects, setting up a record store in Montreal and co-founding the label Audio Research Records before working at outerwear and skate brands in Los Angeles and hip-hop label Rawkus in New York. In the early 2000s, he moved into retail design, designing stores for American Apparel and doing a brief stint at Apple. In 2006, he met Kanye West, who ended up inviting him to collaborate on his 2008 Glow in the Dark tour. Willo Perron & Associates was founded the following year and in 2017, Roettinger joined as partner, heading up the studio’s print and graphics department. 

With Roettinger and Perron currently working from home during lockdown, we caught up with the pair over a Google Hangout to talk about their work and creative process.

JUNIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER

Milton Keynes