Musica! Musica! Musica! Meet the artist behind your favourite posters

Design and music come hand in hand. Over time the importance of gig posters and album art has come to the forefront of musician and record label’s minds. Creating a visual identity for a show or a collection of music isn’t exactly the easiest thing to do. How do you make something engaging, appeal to an audience and make someone think, ‘hey, I wanna check this out’? Thankfully Glasgow based designer Raissa Pardini has the answer to that. With a unique style and an impressive list of clients, Raissa is preparing for her first social exhibition of work that will feature at The Social, London during October. We caught up with Raissa for a little chat about her art.

Hey Raissa, congratulations on having your first solo exhibition. How does it feel?

Hello and thanks for having me! It feels weird, my life has changed so much since last year that I’m actually losing the track of things! I feel very blessed and grateful. 

Tell us a bit about the history of your design work. What got you into it?

You know when someone tells you they’ve become what they dreamed of when they were a kid? That’s not really the case for me. I don’t remember much about me being a kid. I was hyperactive and curious, to the point where my mum wouldn’t have enough answers for all my questions. I wanted to be fed knowledge constantly. 

At my first day at uni, I realised I should have been a designer. “You need to be fed by your own curiosity if you want to be a designer, either you have it or not!”, I remember saying to myself - I’m attending the right course for me. I looked over tiny details of things, over and over again and I’d wish I’d created them. I used to zone out quite a lot, for hours.

Then music and zines came into my life. Zines were not as hip back then but they appealed me for many reasons. First of all, I’m from a very small town. Zines opened many doors of perception to me: music feeds, contraception advices, gender identity, politics, feminism. So much to read and so much to know. I started making my first zines on summer evenings, I’d sneak in my mum’s office and use her photocopier… which must sound like a familiar story to many. Music and design will always run parallel together. It was like they were partners and I was their mum. A great relationship set to start and to change my life.

You’ve got such a distinctive and bold style to your work. How did you come about finding your unique style?

It came by surprise, artists must say this all the time. I didn’t know I had a style, not until last year when I decided to go solo. I moved from London to Glasgow, left my old band, left my job and became freelance. I was alone! Being on my own and taking the risk made me find my style. You have no one to rely on. Glasgow has been kind to me too. A cheap city filled by people that try and take risks, I needed exactly that. Betting on myself and leaving everything behind allowed my style to reveal itself. 

How important do you think design is within music, and what makes it so important?

Music becomes tangible when it’s shared and sold. Music needs a face for its tangible side and designers deal with that. It’s a privilege to transcribe someone else’s music into an image. And it’s so difficult as it’s not your music most times. It’s like being a writer and write a great book about someone else’s thoughts. It’s not that easy, you have to make yourself and the musician happy. Different taste but one design to satisfy both. Big challenge!

Some of the names you’ve worked for include Cherry Glazerr, Idles, Snapped Ankles and Swim Deep. Do you have any stand out posters you’ve done that you’re particularly proud of?

I really enjoyed working on The Orielles poster for their tour recently. We have similar taste and it came out smoothly. IDLES were such a great band to work with, Joe is a very kind man. I’m very proud of the Squid or Wooze videos. I treat every work as the best one to date so I enjoy every job I get commissioned. I mean, almost all of them…

When working with artists do you normally get free reign, or do you tend to work off ideas they might have?

I’m lucky to have such a particular style, people tent to commission me work based on my way to design. I tend to listen to their music and look at their previous stuff though - we always try to define the band imagery as much as we can and adapt my style around their aesthetic. We combine ideas together and work step by step on font decisions, picture and design to use. Things come out organically if we have a good conversation constantly.

Some of the artists you’ve worked for will be DJing on the night, and we’ve heard there may even be a secret guest taking to The Socials intimate stage. Can you give any clues?

Two bands will play on the night and many guests will help with the music selection. The Social will be open from 6pm till 1am so get down and stay for a boogie. Unfortunately, one of the bands is kept as secret guest but I’ll reveal the names a couple of days before. I’m just very proud of this one as we worked together a lot so feeling like a very special event.

With your first solo exhibition and an impressive portfolio, what will be next for you?

I’m dreaming about opening a studio in a couple of years in Glasgow. I’d love to take up more studio projects and look after the Art Direction of the studio. But for now, lots of work and posters to design! Thanks for having me and see you at the exhibition, hopefully!

Raissa’s exhibition will run at The Social, London from 4th October till 2nd November 2019. The opening night takes place on 4th October. Event details can be found here.