Singer-songwriter Safia Nolin had only one stipulation for the visual identity of her first album: there had to be an orca on the cover. Safia has a great admiration for orcas. As we discovered the artist’s playful personality and immersed ourselves in her dark musical universe, we came up with the idea of playing with orca stickers as a cover concept. These simple stickers recall Safia’s childhood in Limoilou, a working-class neighbourhood in Quebec City, a theme that pervades the album.
 
The first visual that appears when the album is opened consists of several white orca silhouettes, each one numbered in the order of the songs on the album. Inside the booklet, there is a full page of orca stickers that can be removed and used to complete the cover, the booklet and the disk itself. For the artistic requirements of the album, 21 orcas were drawn in watercolour. The watercolour medium and the pale, washed-out shade of blue suggest the element of water and the album’s melancholy, intoxicating musical universe. This naïve, child-like concept is balanced by the spare, classic typeface.
 
The album’s cover visual of a lone orca floating in a wide open space is an indirect reference to the loneliness Safia describes in her songs. This image is also reproduced on the various forms of promotional material: launch poster, video animation, etc. The show poster, on the other hand, depicts a pod of orcas surrounding the artist—like her public. This design also recalls the page of stickers included with the album. 
 
A final detail in the album concept appears on the cellophane wrapper. The sticker usually used to identify the artist’s awards has been replaced by an orca sticker, completing the in-store visual. This “primary” orca is therefore visible when the album is purchased, but is inevitably removed when it is unwrapped. This tiny detail hints at the interactive sticker possibilities without affecting the album’s commercial purpose.
 
 
 
 
Credits:
Concept and illustration: Rachel Lecompte and Gabriel Lefebvre (ethos)
Production and computer art: Steve Desmarais
Animation: Misha Petrick
Printing: Transcontinental
Product photography: LM Chabot
Client: Alexandre Caron (Bonsound)
 
Listen to Safia’s album here: