It’s rare to stumble upon an event flyer that really stops you in your tracks, but there are a few out there, and designer Collin Fletcher is responsible for most of them.
He’s also the mind and hands behind some incredibly textured record sleeves, cassette tapes, and band T-shirts. His work constantly pushes the boundaries of experimentalism, and there’s seemingly nothing he won’t explore to create the perfect piece. Just don’t ask him to use colour. Not gonna happen.
First things first, how did you get into design?
I’m a design student, so I actually do more boring, more straightforward design through that. I guess the design that I’m more associated with, the music stuff, doesn’t really feel like design at all.
Right. You mainly work on projects related to music. How come?
I’m actually not a musician at all, I kind of consider myself a fan slash supporter of music, and I’m not really sure what came first—doing flyers or booking local shows—but that’s kind of how I got into it, just on the local level, by being a promoter.
Do you have to be a fan of the music to get involved in a project?
I don’t necessarily have to be a fan to get involved, but I think the projects I’m most proud of are the ones where I’m interested in the music, too.
You make art for album sleeves, tapes, event posters, and t-shirts. Do you have a similar process for coming up with the concepts for each medium, or is designing a T-shirt completely different to say, a flyer?
They are all very different. To be honest, I struggle the most with T-shirts because I think the context is that you’re wearing it, and it’s supposed to be an expression of the person who’s wearing it, and I really overthink it for that reason. A flyer is kind of like an advertisement. But when it comes to releases—tapes and records—that’s the closest to art, and even though I do a lot of design, typography, and that sort of thing, I definitely consider that just as much a representation of the music and a visual interpretation of what’s in it. I honestly think I’m most experimental and try new things when I’m doing tapes or records.
Your work kind of feels like a window into some underground sub-genre I don’t even know the name of. How do you define it?
Oh, I guess in one word, “experimental”. That’s probably where I should stop [laughs].
Let’s talk about colour. You don’t use much of it. How come?
Because colour always has some kind of connotation, and it’s too complicated to do that. They always say red means angry, and if I know that when I make something red then apparently I’m communicating anger, and I guess that’s kind of my design school background, you’re taught that colour is just as much of a tool as any other thing that you might put on the work. I also think that when things are black and white you’re paying more attention to the form and the images rather than the colour making you feel some kind of way.
Let’s talk about fonts. How many photos do you take a day of signs you see on buildings or menus that you like?
I guess maybe an average would be three. But all those photos are of type that’s super fucked up and decaying and not exactly what it was supposed to look like at first, that’s always more interesting, and I think, ‘Whoa, I wonder if I could replicate that in some way.’ I try not to use too many fonts, because it’s very similar to colour where a font definitely conveys something and it’s really easy for you to just select a font on your computer and use it. But when it exists in the real world, it could really be conveying something that maybe you didn’t intend to. I’m more interested in taking the typeface and doing something to it, then letting it speak for itself.
What are a couple of projects you’re most proud of?
The first record where I really felt like it was successful was Rabit’s Communion LP. I was just really proud of it because it was 100% art, and I don’t really consider myself an artist. And just a few days ago, I put out my first music video, and I’m just proud of it because it’s something that’s not static—and I’ve never really thought that I’m the kind of artist, I mean designer, who needs to be in print or static, and I’m glad I finally made that leap over to a different medium.
I noticed twice in the last answer that you had trouble referring to yourself as an artist. How come?
I don’t know, I think it’s because here I am paying for a really expensive design degree, and I definitively got into it being very interested in the mechanics and science that is design, but deep down I know that whatever I’m doing is just fucking with whatever I have in front of me. I’m not really making calculated decisions, and I think that’s more of what an artist does, and I just kind of hate to admit it. That’s why I do correct myself.
I think you’re selling yourself a bit short.
I don’t know, it’s just hard for me to define what I do. I guess maybe artist/designer is what I’m doing, if I could at least be that. That’s an endless debate—when does design become art and when does art become design, and I think that I’m constantly throttling that line.
Get one-off Collin Fletcher graphic print (featured above), designed exclusively for Monster Children, right here.