We at All Black Everything decided to wait until February to properly kick off the year in celebration of Black History Month. Stay tuned every day this month for the ABCs of Black Design. Starting our alphabet soup of inspiring artists and creative minds is graphic designer, CEY ADAMS.
We often forget about the design of many of the iconic images and items we handle on a daily basis, not understanding the thought, planning, and artistry that goes into making them beautiful, simply, and memorable. That’s where graphic designer Cey Adams comes in, who has been designing logos, album covers, and music artists branding since Hip Hop was still wet behind the ears. He started as a known New York City graffiti, traveling in the same circle as Basquiat. After earning a degree in painting from SVA he landed a gig with Rush artist management. In 1984 he became art director at Def Jam and started his design company, the Drawing Board.
He was in charge of setting the aesthetic tone and creating album and performer print identities for many noted artists such as Public Enemy, the Beastie Boys, and Jay-Z. Adams then went on to create corporate ideas for Sean Comb’s and his restaurant franchise and the soundtrack packaging for Belly, Rush Hour and Next Friday.
The Drawing Board closed in 1999, allowing Cey to work on corporate advertising campaigns for Nike, HBO, Coca-Colo, and famed NYC radio station Hot 97. He also co-designed the hip hop wing of the Rock and Roll museum in Seattle. In 2003, he was hired by Dave Chapelle to create the logo for his new sketch comedy show, Chapelle’s Show. Recently, he has worked on the album designs, tour photography, stage wardrobe, and tour merchandising for acts like Maroon 5, the Foo Fighters, Enimem, Stevie Nicks, and the Beastie Boys. Throughout his career, Cey Adams has brought his unique urban stylings and strong design aesthetic to making some of the most iconic images of the hip hop generation. Check out his website for more inspiration!