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Designing Logos for Music & More with Paul Nicholson

An interview with
Paul Nicholson


Paul Nicholson designed the logo for one of the most celebrated and influential electronic artists, Aphex Twin, as well as a host of other musicians. But how has he been able to translate music into simple graphical forms? What does his process look like?

In this episode Ian interviews Paul to discover how he works with clients, his approach to experimental idea generation, and how he ultimately ends with mathematically precise, flawless artwork.

Paul Nicholson is a London-based creative designer known for his inventive, bold graphics within the music, art and fashion industries.

Interview with Paul Nicholson

Ian Paget: Looking back through your work, you’ve designed a lot of logos within the music industry. How would you approach translating something like music into a simple graphic, like a logo?

Paul Nicholson: Well, I don’t have synesthesia so there’s no visualisation of sound. So I think usually you listen to the music first, to get a feel for it.

When I work with people, I ask for a mood board, and this isn’t specifically designed. It can be anything that they’re into. So whether it be photographs from nature, plants, animals, it could be buildings they like, objects, machinery, artwork, anything. And once you get a feel for it, you tend to find that certain shapes just feel right.

It’s quite instinctive or intuitive, just something feels right for a given clients. There’s obviously rules in design that do apply. So if you use very lightweight fonts, it has a different effect on people than if you’re using bold fonts, and likewise with rounded edges or sharp edges. So there are tools in your toolbox that you can play with that visually denote a certain emotive response.