Daniel Caesar is an artist who resists codification. Borrowing elements from R&B and Soul, Caesar’s work ruminates on spirituality, and absolution, with a principal focus on contemporary expression of transcendence.
His works—and his brand—certainly don’t neatly fit within an easy definition.
Caesar approached us one week before his merchandise print deadline. He required a full complement of graphics for his soft goods before embarking on a tour, and a way to systematize his offerings.
He planned to release the full list of items through his online store, as well as make them available on site during his 40+ stop international tour.
The cost of production of such a quantity of merchandise was a capital risk for Daniel Caesar. He would incur significant losses if the product and the design were not suitably elevated and memorable enough for adequate sell through.
As a point of departure, Caesar asked us to turn to the lyrics of the album he was touring, CASE STUDY: 01. He wanted merchandise to harmonize elements of both conventional graphic design and illustration.
Each design was linked to a specific phrase or verse on CASE STUDY: 01, and the raw emotion and feelings evoked by Caesar’s lyricism.
Additionally, we considered Caesar’s personal history, development as an artist, and the overall mood of the album, seeking to authentically refract these elements through our design.
This resulted in a deeply conceptual yet intuitively understandable and distinctly elegant final product.
All designs were created to be as culturally impactful as they were commercially viable, equal parts accessible and sophisticated.
Throughout this process, we worked closely with Daniel Caesar and his creative director, Sean Brown.
Brown, who has his own brand separate from Caesar, communicates almost exclusively through iMessage when managing his creative endeavours. As such, executed the majority of our work—from emerging ideas to final approvals—through iMessage and FaceTime.
We presented Caesar and Brown with a plethora of ideas and initial designs, focusing in on the ones that resonated with the pair the strongest. Our collaborative process for this project was one of production through elimination.
Our designs were translated to t-shirts, hoodies, sweatshirts, tote bags, and hats. First and second runs remained in high demand long after they sold out, and remain highly valued on secondary markets.
The designs were such a success that we had to doanother colorway of designs that were only offered online and those had sold out after several runs as well.