Ashkan Khatibi

Ashkan Khatibi

Ashkan Khatibi is a renowned Iranian artist, musician and actor. He engaged Roo studio to design a cover and artwork for a single that he intended to publish digitally.

The song titled, “Cry Girl Cry” began with a slow tempo, progressively increasing to create a melancholic atmosphere imbued with perplexing thoughts, feelings of sadness, and rebellion while urging the female protagonist in the lyrics to break her silence and cry. Coming out at a time where a number of issues regarding women had surfaced in the media, the lyrics accompanied by energetic rock music, evoked feelings of power mixed with sadness and uncertainty in the minds of its audience.

Given the main message of the song, it was crucial for Roo Studio to not only illustrate what the song was about but to recreate the same sensations and expand on it. We came up with a creative solution to include a female model on the cover and to also evoke the same feelings that the song did through our artwork. Since the song was to be widely released on social media and digital platforms, we also had to develop a concept that would be simply understood by a wide audience and grasped at a single glance.

Our solution was to include a female model to immediately communicate the main underlying theme of the song. During the photo shoot, directed by our lead art director, we drew out the sensations that we wanted to achieve in the entire cover through our model’s gaze. We wrapped up her entire face leaving only the eyes for impact. We later digitally drew hair, strand by strand, to create a convincing realistic portrait. The monochromatic portrait depicted our character as if caught in the same web of thoughts and confusion as that conveyed by the song. Exaggerated, almost cartoon-like tears complimented the image to clearly emphasize the main message of the song for a broader audience. The typography and every other element were woven into this image with care to create a seamless portrait of a woman and her feelings as also reflected in the song.

Although only a cover, the client decided to use the artwork as the main image for the song’s digital video. An animated version with the tears rolling down and a single strand of hair swaying was also developed for the song’s teaser.

According to the fans and audience, the final cover was in perfect synchronicity with the music and its message, and generated positive reviews.