Island Def Jam Music Group

Final home page design

Def Jam Recordings, twenty years after its inception, is still the #1 name brand in hip-hop culture. Having developed artists from LL Cool J, the Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, and EPMD (as well as more recent acts like Method Man, Redman, Ghostface, and more), the label was no longer representing its prestige with its online presence of 3+ years.
Starting from the ground up, the website was rearchitected to facilitate commerce and community features on every page. A gritty, underground hip-hop theme was developed to reflect the aspects of both the street and DJ cultures that continue to define the genre. Rather than follow existing conventions for label sites (and hip-hop sites in general), though, the new site takes a user-driven approach to the design, presenting a variety of mechanisms to access popular content and placing form squarely behind function.

Downloads content section

Photo viewer

In addition to overhauling the label site (and designing an as-of-yet to be released consolidated label site), my team produced dozens of artist sites, promotions, and campaigns, including the following gems:

Island Records, original home of Bob Marley and U2, was looking to develop a site that captured the esoteric lyrics of their new rock act, Thursday, while integrating the album artwork from the new CD. Hidden sections were added to allow fans to investigate the band’s lyrics, and label, band, and fan response to the design was tremendous.
Christina Milian
Christina Milian, previously a favorite with the Radio Disney and teen R&B/pop crowd, was looking to reinvent her official site. Fan sites around the globe had provided her audience with the most up-to-date information and largest photo galleries, but this was intended to change with the launch of the new site. By redesigning and rearchitecting her online presence, the new site made a giant splash amongst her fans who were reintroduced to the new and more mature Christina. Breaking from her teen-themed imagery of before, the new site presented Christina as a modern, sophisticated, and sultry recording artist, ready to compete with the likes of crossover artists like Beyoncé.
The Killers
Hailing from Las Vegas but explosively popular in the U.K., The Killers were set to make a splash in the U.S. with their first full-length album debut on Island. To build on offfline and radio marketing efforts, Island Def Jam needed an online presence that extended the band’s brand imagery, allowed for quick and easy content management, and provided a forum for fans to communicate with each other and with the band.
While Everlast’s latest musical sound crosses many genres, he wanted his website to target his long-time hip-hop followers. Heralding back to a golden era, this design solution uses graffiti and paintstriping to tie the Flash animation into the page content.
Andrew W.K. game
Andrew W.K. might easily be the most energetic performer alive. Known for his “Party Hard” anthem in 2002, the party metal singer was looking to create a buzz around his new album, “The Wolf,” amongst his online fans. Using themes common to his videos, albums, and performances (including the wolves, piano, and intense adrenaline-pumping racing sequences), this game captures the energy and quirky spirit behind Andrew and his ever-loyal fan base.


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