Grimes Miss Anthropocene

September 2019 ––
The merger of Fantasy, Science-Fiction and Climate Activism is a sweet spot for all of us, so when the ultra-creative Artist Grimes reached out for a collaboration – it was love at first sight. To get started, she sent us the creative direction for her upcoming album Miss Anthropocene – it was an epic fifty bible of absolutely beautiful creative that essentially told the entire back story of the album, including the narrative of all the various goddesses, simulation theories and the all-encompassing multi-media cooperation overseeing humanity’s pulse, and all the thought-provoking fictional passages around it.

It was the perfect merger of all the themes we adore, wrapped in a very impressive shell of pure creativity. She had developed her own mythological world and wanted us to create a ‘photoshop interface of the future’ that contained all the easter eggs and backstory from the creative direction of the album – which was a lot of content to include. The style was to be maximalist ‘Oblivion UI’ crossed with Grime’s grungy palette of Blacks and Pinks. The program itself was themed on simulation theory mixed with World and God creation – essentially a first person narrative where Grimes was logged into the program space and running the simulations herself.

The Concept

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Naturally when you think about Photoshop and effects software like Autodesk Maya and Houdini and all of their palettes, they share similarities in having all these palettes, shelves, icons and docks and their various tools for content creation. We took that interface structure and wanted to push infinite detailing into it to fill it out and establish a grid while coming up with all the icons, palettes, color pickers and simulation tools of this futuristic world. We wanted it to have optical texture as well, so we projected it onto a display monitor and photographed it practically – resulting in a nice organic layer of monitor texture, moiré and light bloom to make it look more optical and realistic.

Grimes supplied the illustrated hero image in the center – and essentially gave us a library of other line art drawings and 3d renders as well. We of course figured that she was the main Miss Anthropocene – and when we received the story of the album we decided that someone is actually working on this goddess creation within the interface. So we took the illustrations and altered them a bit, giving them texture and richness to integrate into the interface we were creating.

There is a ton of conceptual detail packed into this. Once we read the brief and the songs started to come in, we listened to “Violence” and “My Name is Dark” and had a very clear idea of what was going on in her head, which gave us the inspiration to just flow and design on impulse. Each module on the left and right side of this workstation, are all based on songs and the song titles. So on the left side you basically have a doomsday counter that’s incessantly tossing out functions. On the right side of the screen you have political apathy, and the violence tool. While everything is designed to look like palettes that would come from these establishedprograms, all the content is  derived from the songs and their messaging to place it firmly in the world that Grimes had created. 
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The Process

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The design process was very methodical. Working with frequent collaborator Peiter Hergert, we broke the composition into grids, sections and palettes – defining the interface grid structure while creating functional palettes within the system. We were essentially creating the photoshop tools of the future – and that was exhilarating creatively. In doing it and establishing this world, you let your creativity wander and lose yourself in that fantasy place where you are almost reimagining the software itself. As a result, you end up designing a palette that doesn’t exist, yet someday when our tools of the future become reality and you are combining photoshop and 3D-printing capabilities to create organic matter that breathes on its own – what would those palettes look like? And then you infuse a bit of mythology and mysticism into it as well and you have this very strange futuristic creative tool. 
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Design Director

for Miss Anthropocene 
Credit List

Design Director: GMUNK
Lead Designer: Peiter Hergert
Production: JOJX