Born and raised in the woody seaside town of Grimstad, Norway, Monica Birkenes spent her childhood immersed in music. This soon became an obsession, and then a career, as Monica came to be known as Nordic songstress Mr Little Jeans. Her breakout song was a moody and contemplative cover of Arcade Fire’s ‘The Suburbs,’ which has since racked up millions of plays on YouTube and SoundCloud alone. Since then, her music has appeared in commercials for companies such as Honda, TV shows like Gossip Girl, and in several movies – including 21 Jump Street and Celeste and Jesse Forever. Monica has also written and recorded songs for film soundtracks, including Iron Man 3.
Fast forward to 2017 and Monica’s manager picks up a copy of #boom001 in Skylight Books in Los Angeles. From here, the idea was sparked for the boom room’s most ambitious work to date; multiple single, remix and album artworks alongside various collateral to support MLJ’s world tour.
Initially given an open brief, we concentrated on tight logotype and typographic design to help provide an early steer for the first single, ‘Forgetter’ – it soon became clear that these would prove to be defining elements of the overall outcome. The calligraphic typeface Cissarz Latein NF provided the perfect skeleton for us to stamp the MLJ mark onto: robust enough to reference Monica’s singular voice whilst perfectly mirroring her strong, intelligent and courageous personality. A bright, punchy colour palette of primaries was strong enough to stand up to lyrics including “leave me for the wolves to drag me through the ditches bleeding, I’ll heal it back up, just give me a month, I am a forgetter.”
MLJ’s second single, ‘Unfollow,’ speaks of the separation of a relationship; an experience we chose to mirror by way of disconnection in the final artwork. Photography of Monica is split, reimagined and replaced – alluding to the experiences which often take place at the end of a relationship. Hollow text serves to anchor the separated images together, serving as a memory of former connection.
We’re currently working on the next phase of this project – keep your eyes peeled for the latest developments.