A magazine covering Atlanta's trap music scene
Visual Design, Branding, Experience Design
Trap music is an important part of the South's history and has made its mark on the music world and I wanted to pay homage to the genre and explore this through a visual approach in a magazine format.
Physical product, Product mockups & prototypes
Shuffle Magazine is a series where a team and I created a music-themed magazine where each edition covers a different genre, so the proposed subscribers would get an introduction to a new genre every month. I chose to cover 'trap' which is a local genre to Atlanta, GA, and has its roots in the Deep South and has now exploded to take over the entire world. I wanted to explore this genre in this magazine and in particular feature different elements that have been born and raised in Georgia. Trap has a lengthy history and a long-contested one that is only growing more and more.
I decided on a sketch type of effect on the overall logo to reference the street and rebellious nature of the trap genre that is present in a lot of its culture.
I also took a picture of a piece from the Trap Music Museum and edited it in Lightroom to create different lighting effects to get the best bold pop of color.
Here is a feature of the full spread of the front and back cover. The photograph is consistent from front to back and the back cover features a pattern of the Shuffle Magazine logo to help establish brand awareness and create some diversity and excitement in the design.
The spine features the title consistently with each edition featuring a different month per music edition.
*THE ORIGINAL PIECE ON THE FRONT COVER IS BY PHOTOGRAPHER JONATHAN MANNION*
"Welcome to the Trap" is the title of the main featured article. The article highlights the pop-up museum's addition to the Atlanta landscape that tells a visual story of trap through different artifacts showcasing different rappers and their varied stories. The museum was co-founded by Atlanta rapper T.I and Antwanette McLaughlin.
I highlighted different features of the museum like the initial corner store decorated entrance to the implanted pink trap house by 2Chainz, and different art installations using photography. I kept the color palette consistent throughout the article to help guide the reader and serve as a visual reminder of the starting and end checkpoints.
For the magazine, I included two supporting articles that highlight two important aspects of the trap genre, the new generation of women who are taking over the rap world and the producers behind these heavy major hits. I wanted to highlight their power equally to the rappers who have established this genre as this genre is always growing.
I utilized two different illustration styles to create a bold cover photo for the start of the article and referenced different cultural elements that have not been akin to trap music like old traditional paintings.
Ads & Complementary Content
For the supplemental content such as the advertisements and the "Need to Know" section, I created illustrations, photography, and recreated various brand slogans like Nike. The "Need to Know" section was included in each edition as the general vocabulary and terminology that a reader would need to know to understand this genre.
I centered the ads around Atlanta and made sure the content had bold pops of colors and still aesthetically similar to the rest of the magazine to make sure it was all coherent and consistent.
Pass the Aux
Pass the Aux is a section of the magazine where each editor places an "essentials" playlist of that genre for the readers to listen to. We also included a QR code that links to a direct Spotify playlist for the convenience of the reader. We also included a mockup of a Spotify advertisement next to it to show our potential collaboration.
I included a variety of different trap and hip hop songs that are old classics to newer additions and also made sure to include a variety of sounds and rappers that may not have started out the genre, but are equally as important.
Here's a quick overall look at some of the main spreads of the magazine to see the overall cohesiveness and aesthetic quality of each spread.
The magazine features a varied and vibrant color palette that refers to the confidence and vibrancy of the genre and all of its different players in it.
Trap Music History & Research
In order to understand who first created trap music, we must first define what trap music even is and how it's distinct from its other hip hop counterparts, and where it got its namesake. The name "trap music" came from the term "trap house", a place to create and deal drugs.
・In the early 90s, the foundation of trap music was built by rappers like Three 6 Mafia, Master P, UGK, and more
・Trap music began in Atlanta, GA in the early 2000s as more of a culture and lifestyle first
・T.I releases his second studio album called "Trap Muzik" and this is the first initial implant of the genre into the mainstream
・The traction of trap only increased with Young Jeezy's album, "Let's Get It: Thug Motivation 101" as it debuted on the US Billboard at number two
・Young Jeezy's album also shot producer Shawty Redd to fame and he is often characterized as the creator of the original trap sound
・Trap music is often characterized by the signature Roland TR-808 drum machine
Notable rappers & producers:
・The Trap Music Museum is still relatively new to the Atlanta tourism landscape and it was officially opened in October 2018
・It was originally envisioned to be an escape room called "Escape the Trap"
・Antwanette Mclaughlin and her company, The Spice Group co-curated the Trap Music Museum along with T.I., D.L. Warfield, and Petereson
・The museum is located in an old warehouse on Atlanta's west sid
Name & Layout
For the name, my team and I brainstormed a bunch of different potential names and then created a public poll and asked our other colleagues to vote on which name they thought was the best along with our own votes.
We ultimately as a team decided on "Shuffle" as it fit the theme of the magazine the best. We also brainstormed our general magazine layout for each edition detailing the different articles, transitions, and ad placements.
INITIAL MAGAZINE SPREAD LAYOUIT
These were some of my initial sketches about the layout of the magazine and I sketched a few different composition ideas for each spread.
I also featured a few sketches that didn't make it into the final magazine, like the possible "lean infographic" and a map of Atlanta's six city zones to serve as supplemental content in the magazine for the viewer.
Front Cover Iterations
The front cover of a magazine is one of the most important factors in convincing a consumer to pick up your product. I wanted a flashy, but thought-provoking cover, so I chose a piece that I saw in the Trap Music Museum by Jonathan Mannion as the front cover piece to highlight from the main story.
I went through multiple different color iterations and possible formats before I chose the final composition and color palette. I chose the final color palette for its contrast.
Trap Music Museum Visit
For the feature story, I took a visit to the Trap Music Museum. I went through each exhibit and really took inspiration from the spectrum of environments that were displayed, from the overall grungy feeling of a recreated trap house to the luxurious elements of a rapper who got big.
I did my best to showcase this range of feeling in the overall magazine's aesthetic.
Need to Know
For this section of the magazine, I enlisted the help of students at Georgia State University and had students write down different slang and their definitions for these words on napkins. I chose napkins for the makeshift appearance that is often present in trap music and since trap and hip hop culture is mainstream, university students were the best examples of this language that is found in music, art, social media, and more.
I then created a composition out of these napkins for the trap slang edition of the magazine ("Need to Know" section) featuring different handwritten definitions.
For the Champion Ad, I went out and purchased some apparel and set up a makeshift photography studio outside. I wanted to really capture the color of the product and create a focus on the main logo. I used an ISO of 400, an aperture of 3.5, and exposure of 1/80th of a second.
I used minimal lighting and went in during post-processing to bring back a lot of the color that faded in the RAW photos. I added a slogan and a mockup of a social media campaign afterward as well.
I learned a lot from this experience and one of the main things I learned was how important it is to get in the field as much as you can. I put myself into its environment and explored this music genre in all kinds of different ways, like going to the museum, attending concerts, car jam out sessions with your friends, and more. I learned it's difficult to portray the energy of something without experiencing it in its entirety.