There are some seriously talented artists and designers living in Texas, and most of them are here in Austin. While this makes it pretty nerve-wracking for a young designer like myself to even dream of succeeding in this town, it means I get to gain inspiration from some of the best designers active today. While checking out local design studios, I was suddenly transfixed when I came across the work of Austin-based Backstage Design Studio.
Looking through their body of work, it would be easy to think that Backstage Design is a fully staffed creative firm with a dozen or so designers working around the clock to create fantastic art. However, this team consists of merely three people – sisters Shauna and Sarah Dodds, and Nancy Bell. Not only do these three women possess an ungodly amount of talent (the two-time Grammy award winning kind of talent, actually), but they’ve collaborated with some big names in Country music since they formed their studio in 2004. Among others, you’ll find Reckless Kelly, Kris Kristofferson, and Jason Boland on the list of Backstage’s past partners.
One of my favorite projects of theirs is the one responsible for their latest Grammy win – the album art and packaging for Reckless Kelly’s “Long Night Moon”. Every detail is painstakingly drawn, and the CD’s packaging itself is packed with references and extras – The Austin skyline, actual constellations, and a lunar map complete with secret codes are just a few of the things Backstage sneaked into these designs.
This is the kind of success that most designers strive for, especially those connected to the music industry, but Backstage Design apparently hasn’t let it get to their collective heads. If anything, they’re working harder than ever, and they continue to produce outstanding work. It’s beyond impressive that such a small group has been so prolific lately, especially with such high-profile clients, so I’ll definitely be on the lookout for their next project. They also work with very talented musicians, so I’ve found some new music to listen to after looking through their portfolio, which is always nice. I’ve put some samples of their work below, but be sure to check out some more of their work on their website if you want inspiration from a group of truly talented artists.