There are a few facts that equate to the sum of an individual. Certain things automatically come to mind, as in your typical introduction: Hi, my name is Amina. I am a designer. I am the youngest of seven, from Atlanta, Georgia. I am African-American, and stand tall at 6’4. Yes, six foot four. On, and on until it gets into specific mundane trivia. In my particular case, one of these core facts about myself may seem peculiar: I am a full-fledged purple hippie. I know that Paisley Park is in your heart, not some isolated mansion in Minnesota. I know that when Camille/Jamie Starr/Alexander Nevermind/whoever else Prince feels like being that day says dance, you dance.
This may seem odd coming from a woman who wasn’t even born when Purple Rain consumed everything in its path. Yet one of my earliest memories is my dad dancing to Controversy and every time I hear that record, I feel at home. The thumping drums feel like a heartbeat and I cannot remember a time when they were not there. He has been this omnipresent creative influence in my life that I didn’t realize the magnitude of until two years ago.
Thus when it was announced that he was touring again, I pounced at every opportunity to be there. After four months, I had four shows in four cities under my belt having had the pleasure to see the man himself, his talented band, and numerous special guests. I actually got to see Superstition, which is one of my top five wouldn’t change a thing perfect songs, performed by Stevie and Prince. Thankfully that show in Los Angeles with my sister was my last because I couldn’t imagine a greater experience than that.
This was, of course, before I had the pleasure of designing for one of his lovely and talented back up singers, Liv Warfield. One tweet put me in contact with a powerhouse, whose voice almost brought me to tears at my first show in New York City. I felt so honored to be working with her and elated to once again be faced with the challenge of capturing the amorphous quality of music into a visual. The task at hand was a logo, which provided me an opportunity to typographically explore. After a few conversations and watching her perform, my head was swimming with adjectives and metaphors to get me started.
The third option became a favorite but the qualities of the first two options were not discarded. The task became to meld the three into a graphically striking mark that could be dressed in any way. I wanted something that could stay with her for a while and be used across media. Yet I wanted to maintain a sense of play, so it can read as her name or her initials.
With a structure in place, we played around with colors taking inspiration from fire. The warm and cool palettes serve her well as she is a combination of soft and hard. She, like most of us, is a walking contradiction. A dynamic performer that can punch and caress with only her voice. The reception from her in regards to my work has been positively overwhelming. She is excitable and encouraging, which has been amazing to have the tables turned as I was first in awe of her talent. Thanks to her, I got to see my work in quite possibly the coolest place ever: a kick drum!
Part of my core affiliation with Prince stems from what he represents to me: a fearless dedication towards creative ends. I am so thankful that this surreal collision between parts of identity happened and fortified my faith in both. I’ll always proclaim as frankly as I would my own name: I am a designer. I am a purple hippie. Ooh wee sha sha coo coo yeah!