Future Utopia ‘12 Questions’

Preview — Aug 18, 2020

Abbott Miller develops the design and creative direction for ‘12 Questions,’ the first album by Future Utopia, the new project from producer and songwriter Fraser T Smith.

Future Utopia is the new project from the Grammy and Ivor Novello award-winning songwriter, producer and musician Fraser T Smith, debuting this fall with the album “12 Questions” on the label Platoon. The collaborative concept album brings together a wide-ranging group of musicians, poets and spoken-word artists that includes Stormzy, Dave, Bastille, Mikky Ekko, Alysia Harris, Lafawndah, Idris Elba, Arlo Parks and Es Devlin, among many others.

Pentagram’s Abbott Miller and team have developed the creative direction and design for the album cover and accompanying campaign. Musically “12 Questions” is a hybrid that spans diverse genres and sounds. Smith wanted the cover to have a mystical, neo-psychedelic vibe that captured this interconnected world. Miller worked with illustrator Ori Toor and Smith to develop a vibrant, intricate landscape with distinct episodes based on the 12 songs.

Fraser is the co-writer and producer of Adele’s hit “Set Fire to the Rain,” among other producing credits with her. He produced Dave’s first two EPs, including the song “Question Time” and the Mercury Prize-winning album “Psychodrama,” as well as Stormzy’s BRIT Award-winning debut “Gang Signs & Prayer.” He’s also worked with Sam Smith, Drake, Gorillaz, Britney Spears, Celine Dion, Ellie Goulding, Florence + The Machine, Kesha, Lily Allen, and many more.

Each song on “12 Questions” is framed as an inquiry and is given its own distinct section and animation within the larger cover. The designers developed the dimensional typography for the title and animated lettering for each track. They worked with Toor on the different themes for the illustrations for each song/section, and both the illustrations and animations (by 1983) are filled with “Easter egg” details that tie into the individual songs. Typography is set in Supreme from Lineto. Miller has also designed a special double LP that will be available this fall.

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