Tyler Fortney

Digital Designer & Director

Exit Stencil Recordings

Exit Stencil is a DIY record label that features a number of artists with deep roots in the Cleveland music scene, as well as uses its resources to reissue influential albums may not have received the praise they deserve, but are more relevant than ever.
Given the increasing digital nature of discovering new music, Exit Stencil wanted to push their digital presence by featuring artists who may not have a national following, but deserved to be heard. However, the strength of their catalog is releasing collectable vinyl records with high-quality packaging that tend to feature unique printing processes and materials in limited runs. I wanted to marry these two extremes by always featuring the latest or upcoming releases via the mainstage, immediately followed by Featured Albums that allow users to stream sample tracks, all of which guide the user to the Store.
Not only is Exit Stencil a brand in and of itself, but its reputation is built upon the artists that they represent. The goal with the individual artist page is to introduce each artist with large images and instantly accessible music, while also showing all of the releases available in the Exit Stencil store. Touring is also an important aspect in supporting the artist's image and sales, so the tour dates and press kit are also prominently displayed.
The true test of the site lies in sales. Exit Stencil must not only work to feature new albums, but also continuously promote their ever-growing catalog. The user can see the full catalog at a glance, or use the simple Artist filter to find exactly what they're looking for.

Once on the Album page, the specific production details for each record are listed along with the various purchasing options. Each album also is supported by a short description on what a listener can expect, which may anchored by a review from an acclaimed source. Its also important that the user sees all of the additional releases by that artist that are available in the Exit Stencil store, as well as releases that are related either stylistically or linked by common members.
From the beginning of the project, we knew that a mobile experience would be extremely important. This experience largely centers around the Featured Albums section and its ability to stream new music. Rather than stacking these elements into a long-scroll as in the desktop view, users can swipe between albums. The single-screen view more closely mirrors the listening experiences users have with familiar music streaming services.
With all the weight that is given to a focused web experience, Exit Stencil is nothing without its core products: Records. They are the perfect opposite to the digital world — large, analog collectibles, both visual and sonic pieces of art. Each album becomes a stand alone piece, and I have been able to translate some of Exit Stencil's artist's musical works into a representative visual design and physical product.
Company's "Dear America," was the first album I worked on for Exit Stencil. The one-color printed sleeve features a simple, memorable illustration with an envelope die cut to capture the album's theme. We also utilized a one-color marketing sticker in the shape of a stamp to add an extra layer of meaning.

This album was featured in the 2012 Print Magazine Regional Design Annual for New York City.

Direction: Ryan Weitzel, Brandon Stevens
Photography: Supplied by artists
Created as a personal project