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The Holographic Redesign

The Holographic Redesign

As you may have already seen, EPICA recently unveiled a new website in preparation for, The Holographic Principle, their seventh studio album. If not, have a look here: www.epica.nl.

I never wrote about the initial revamp for EPICA’s prior album, The Quantum Enigma, but it is where the design structure and content organization was first established and has been carried over to the current site.

The creative philosophy behind my music websites is nomadic – each incarnation is meant to be an experience, cyclic in nature with an ultimate death and rebirth. A work of resilience, it can be taken down, moved and re-adorned in a new place with fresh perspective and life. There is also alignment with what metal music means to me personally – authenticity, freedom, and adventure.

Playing with the aspect of cult-like devotion to music, the architecture is akin to a temple – a strong foundation supported by pillars, with an intent to contain the primal element of sound, yet be fully accessible to all who seek an escape from their reality for one that brings happiness and hope. It also tethers to the expanse of our own scientific knowledge, as we’ve come to learn sound may have created our known Universe.

DESIGN PROCESS

Before design began, there was first a wireframe. The diagram below was drafted during The Quantum Enigma cycle, where I not only created graphics, but also organized content for quick access to help visitors navigate with ease. Every page maintains this structure and ranges from 1-3 columns of content.

Design is the next phase, and the most rewarding part of the process. I have all creative files at my disposal, crafted by the talented Stefen Heilemann, and can extract any part of the compositions as needed. It’s magic to derive new life from a prior creation, and elating to see everything come together – to match the visual aspects of a band or musician with their sound.

First, I had to pick the proper elements to work with. When design begins, press photos are usually not ready, so I knew eventually the amazing visuals from Tim Tronckoe would need to be incorporated. At this point, I don’t know how the incoming photographs will affect the design currently being created, but as a designer, you learn to thrive in the unknown. 😉 What I am certain of, is band photos will be placed at the top and bottom of the site, so they become part of the fine-tuning process, as everything needs to blend together in a seamless composition.

With this understanding, I began with the slider, isolating the binary code black hole seen behind the figure on the album cover. This is the main portal to highlight and transport viewers to important announcements. The slides themselves are transparent PNG files so each perfectly blends with the background.

It’s magic to derive new life from a prior creation, and elating to see everything come together – to match the visual aspects of a band or musician with their sound.

The next step was new column colors, which are important because they are the backbone of the design and hold up the structure on every page. Looking at the cover, purple and red were instant choices, but the third column proved tricky to resolve. I initially tried a dark teal, but the contrast with the link color and bright blue polygons (from the figure at the bottom of the column) drew the eye to that area too much. The final solution was a darker blue that matched the intensity of the purple – it still provided a pop of color, was subtle enough to not distract, and visually integrated the final band photos. If you look at the footer, the purple and blue columns pair nicely with the center band image and really emphasize the figures and lighting.

lady_cosmos

With balance achieved, the next area to transform was the album art. For The Quantum Enigma, the island was the central graphic that created a visual break between information, so for The Holographic Principle it would become, who I loving refer to as, Lady Cosmos. If you zoom out in your browser and look at the design from a distance, you’ll see she is a central figure of brightness – the Source where all aspects of this creation are derived. At the very top, the newsletter area contains the polygons and constellations fragmenting from her mind, and the slider and footer have the elements of Nature that grow along her neck. The websites I design with Stage are experiences – you are to witness a visual of the album meant to create a deeper love and understanding of the music it represents.

The websites I design with Stage are experiences – you are to witness a visual of the album meant to create a deeper love and understanding of the music it represents.

REFINEMENT

The final act is refinement. Once the main elements are in place, the time comes to weave them all together. These areas are the center background, areas below the slider and above the footer, plus additional ornaments.

For this design, the center background is a seamless galaxy pattern. What I loved about this choice was it continued the artwork beyond the borders of the album cover to create an expanse of stars, allowing the artwork to be a beautiful focal point. It even has hints of purple that tie into the website color palette.

The areas below the slider and above the footer are important sections to visually address because with nothing there, the transition to the next areas of information become stark and vacuous. The grunge used in the footer and slider are placed here in triangular formations to aid the eye in focusing on the column content first (pointing down) and then open up to the footer information (pointing up). The top area is more subtle than the bottom because the slider and columns are visually saturated; the bottom area needed more warmth for color balance, plus more artwork to fill the larger space between and around content.

To expand more on these triangular shapes, they elude to the new EPICA emblem which is the Ouroboros, the snake swallowing its tail and a symbol of infinity, wrapped around the E in an inverted triangle. To dive even deeper, together these shapes create an hourglass, a means of measuring the passage of time.

I am Forever, the snake devouring its tail, in search of Eternity. –Universal Death Squad

This is also where additional ornaments come into play, as I utilized the EPICA constellation (seen behind the new logo and encircling the slider and footer), plus more of Heile’s artwork for finishing touches. Constellations are also in the central artwork with the Webshop button to bring everything back to Source.

THE HOLOGRAPHIC PRINCIPLE, OUT SEPTEMBER 30TH!

I hope you enjoyed this behind the scenes look of the new EPICA website, in preparation for their seventh studio album, The Holographic Principle. It releases September 30th, so be sure to pre-order the album now!


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