Ever since he was a kid, Mario Hugo has always been captivated by elaborate album covers like Michael Jackson's Dangerous and what Hugo calls the "ritual" of opening up a new album. It seems only natural that Hugo, who is one half of the creative agency Hugo and Marie, has since become the mastermind behind iconic album artwork like J. Cole's Born Sinner, Rihanna's Unapologetic, and Lorde's Pure Heroine. Hugo recently opened the doors to his studio and discussed the creative process involved in designing these covers with Jay Z's Life+Times.
In the video, Hugo reveals how he and J. Cole developed the highly biblical narrative of Born Sinner, his love for thoughtful typography—evident in the subtlety of Lorde's Pure Heroine, and various, unused images of Rihanna that he and Ciarra Pardo had teamed up to produce.
"The physicality of music in the past versus how ethereal and ephemeral it can be today—I don't think it bothers me that much," he says. "Now, in addition to just a main record sleeve, there's a whole campaign that surrounds the album. I see a lot of new opportunity for us to tell broader stories over a longer period of time. It's just as poignant and potent as something that's on your screen as it is in your hand."
Watch Hugo's interview with Life+Times below.