My First Project in Music
Eight years ago I completed my first project in the music business. It was fifty pixels square, under seven kilobytes, and made of pure GIF. I was designing around one of the most saught after properties of Internet marketing real estate: The AIM Buddy Icon.
In the spring of 2004, Sonic Youth’s manager approached me about designing the buddy icon to promote their upcoming release: Sonic Nurse. I was required to include the following:
- Artist name
- Album title
- Release date
- Album cover
How the hell was I going to fit all that within 50px and under 7kb?
I was young. I was nervous. Any future I thought I may have in the music business was about to be put to the ultimate test. I paused Half Life 2 and fired up Adobe ImageReady.
I searched for inspiration on [Badass Buddy](badassbuddy.com), the 21st fastest growing website , and decided to pursue recreating the band as buddy icon people. For typography, I went with a newly released pixel typeface designed by Yuji Oshimoto .
The next hour consisted of hand drawing thousands of pixels over nine frames of animation. I then used ImageReady to perfect the timing into something you might see in a Ridley Scott trailer. Finally, I threw in a bit of parody and completed my masterpiece:
[ ](aim:BuddyIcon?Src=http://i.imgur.com/9kgZp.gif “Sonic Youth Buddy Icon”)
Thanks in part to our buddy icon campaign, Sonic Nurse debuted at 64 in Billboard’s Top 200 . I went on to design for interfaces much larger than fifty pixels, but I’ll never forget my first.
 Noted at the bottom of their current website. Seriously.
 I have no idea how I remembered that.