Ian Jackson

Senior Project April 2015


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Florida Gulf Coast University
10501 FGCU Blvd, South
Fort Myers, FL 33965-6565
(239) 590-1000 or (800) 590-3428

“Swear to god hip-hop and comic books was my genesis” was a line spoken by the rapper Slug from the Midwestern rap group, Atmosphere, on one of their songs. This one line tells the listener how a young kid went from being an ordinary person to one half of one of the most successful independent rap groups. Slug started down his path with hip-hop and comics, I started mine with hip-hop and graphic design. I remember way back in elementary school when I heard the first song that made me fall in love with rap. Oddly enough it was a song from the Insane Clown Posse who receives a lot of criticism for being one of the worst hip-hop groups in history and was once labeled “The Most Hated Band in the World.” But it was these two clowns that introduced me to not only the world of hip-hop, but graphic design as well. I dropped a lot of money on buying CDs and spent countless hours held up in my room listening to music and flipping through the booklets that came with the albums. I fell in love with the music and I fell in love with the artwork that came with an album and I knew one day that I wanted to be making art for the artists I loved.

For my senior project I wanted to go back to my roots and do a project that incorporated my genesis: hip-hop and design. Since it has always been one of my dreams to one day open up and run my own record label, I figured why not use this opportunity to create one.

Dirty Decibels Entertainment is the name of my fictional hip-hop record label. As the name suggests, Dirty Decibels is a home for the raw and unfiltered music that comes when artists have the freedom to say and express themselves openly. I wanted the logo to be simple and minimal while being instantly noticeable as a hip-hop label. What I ended up with was a logo that combines a bearded man icon and the Dirty Decibels type. The bearded man rocks a pair of dark shades and a rather large beard and is designed to look intimidating to reflect the competiveness of the hip-hop rap culture. The text for Dirty Decibels is kept clean and simple for a modern look and features a microphone as the “i” in “Dirty” to link the logo to music. The microphone also works to represent the wordplay and lyricisms of the artists signed to Dirty Decibels. I’ve created several video adverts and posters to help further illustrate the attitude of the label. Hip-hop is not just a genre; it’s a lifestyle that started as a way to bring urban communities together. I created a Dirty Decibels app that would bridge the gap between artist and fan. It allows users to stay up-to-date with their favorite Dirty Decibels artists while also giving them full access to their songs and videos. There are also several features that allow for interaction between musicians and fans via the forums and video chat. The last part of my project is a collector’s edition album for the fictional newest artist signed to Dirty Decibels, M.o.R. M.o.R., the Master of Rhyme, is releasing his freshman album “We Want M.o.R.” and wanted to try a new type of CD packaging that would push the boundaries of what an album can be. All these parts come together as part of a branding project that combines my two greatest interests to create one of my biggest dreams.