I love me some indie music. I encountered KCMU (now KEXP, Seattle) back in the late 90s, and I've been gushing over indie music and its artists ever since. In 2002 I got involved with college radio station KZUU (Washington State University) as a DJ and then eventually co-Music Director, running an indie variety show, reviewing music, and just generally having a blast. When I moved away from college I left that behind until 2010 when I ran a similar type of show at KBCS (Bellevue, WA). I definitely got the rookie time-slot, and just couldn't balance a full-time job with a show that ran in the middle of the night, so it didn't last long. I'm now at it again, this time with some friends. We started KRGB in 2019. This meant a lot of illustration, design, and user experience challenges that I have been excited to take on.
The “RGB” in “KRGB” is a nod to what most of us involved with the station do for work, which is to design and build digital experiences. For this reason, I accentuated the “Red”, “Green”, and “Blue” colors in the logo. To further reflect how RGB colors are used in digital environments, I made each character overlap with with the ones next to it, presenting a more complete color spectrum. The three RGB dots are used for small situations like an avatar or favicon.
For the first 9 months or so, the station’s offerings were just getting started, so the main feature on the homepage was the live stream. I designed the website to feature information for the currently playing song (album artwork, artist, and title) near a primary play button as the hero. This was achieved via Squarespace—using lots of custom CSS and embedded code blocks.
Fast forward a few months. We discovered a service called Mixcloud that could handle all the licensing issues with archived shows. Archived shows are a big deal because they offer listeners the opportunity to hear shows on-demand. It is arguably the most modern feature a radio station can provide. With this new capability now available to our listeners, I redesigned the homepage to visually split the hero into a live stream button and an action driving traffic to the KRGB Mixcloud page, where all (recorded) past shows are available on-demand. Once we figured out how to offer archived shows, we abandoned the large, current album artwork feature in favor of a split-focus homepage that features both the live stream and shows available on-demand.
Unfortunately, in August 2021 the licensing agencies that are required for a legal stream more than doubled our annual fees, effectively squeezing hobby radio stations like ours out of the game. The website you see in the images below is still live, but anything related to playing a stream or accepting donations via Patreon has been disabled. We are still trying to figure out what's next for KRGB.
I typically help new DJs get their show artwork set up, either by providing art direction on what they create themselves or by designing it for them. Below are examples of covers I designed and/or illustrated, including iterations of my show, Aimless, which I consistently use as an opportunity to try out new design & illustration ideas.
In addition to the music, the graphic works draws me to KRGB as a large, ongoing project. If you want to see where this goes, keep checking in here or directly at KRGB.fm.