Having designed and printed a limited edition poster for the event last year, this time round we were asked to take a decidedly more hands-on roll. So last Sunday we packed up as much of our studio as we could carry, loaded the car and headed to Sonos Studio, just up the road in Shoreditch, to run a one-day letterpress workshop.
Slightly bleary eyed and already wearing the scars of lugging heavy equipment about, we arrived early at our home for the day. All we needed to do then was unload, set up, run the workshop, clean everything away, reload the car, take it back to our studio, unpack it there and go home. Easy.
Things quickly perked up though, with the delivery of spicy bacon naans from the nearby Dishoom. An absolute treat, in case you were wondering. A cuppa was then all that was needed to complete the kick-start and we set about setting up our make-shift print shop.
Sonos Studio, it turns out, is also a bit of a treat: a cracking cafe downstairs is accompanied by a beautiful workshop-come-lounge-come-chillout room upstairs. Complete with, as you’d expect, a brilliant sound system and a host of musical odds’n’sods – even the toilets were equipped with abstractly sculptural fins of studio soundproofing on the ceiling.
Despite the numerous distractions, we were soon up and running and just in time for the arrival of our eager victims… I mean, participants.
Seven people, seven hours, seven 7” sleeves to design and print. Go.
Music and design have always gone hand-in-hand, so on the face of it typography and record sleeves should make for happy bedfellows. But the “secret” in Secret 7” means that the name of neither the song nor the artist can be used in the design, and lyrics have to be used with care so as not to give too much away. Tricky then, when all you have is type.
What we needed was a brief. So ours was to simply capture something very specific to the chosen song in 7 words (or fewer). It could be a review, a snippet of lyrics, a feeling, an emotion, or something slightly more abstract – as long as it reflected the song.
What happened next can only be described as a steep learning curve for them and a frantic and oh-so-short seven hours for us. A blur of questions, crazy typesetting, short-cuts and rapid hand-inking later it was all over.
The fruits of everyone’s labours are, for now, still a secret, but we hope a good day was had by all. Either that or these are just very well edited photos. Only time will tell.
And so slightly bleary eyed and wearing several more scars than when we started, we emerged into the dark Shoreditch evening. Wearily we loaded the car with our increasingly heavy load and slowly wound our way through the bustling crowds of Brick Lane’s bars and back to the relative calm of Bow.
Seven people, seven hours, seven 7” sleeves to design and print. Done.
Images courtesy of Secret 7" and James Medcraft