In media, the art form of illustrations can be found everywhere and all over the place. Especially in poster form, when ads try their best to stimulate a feel for the specific product, or movie posters that show a glimpse of the film’s content and atmosphere. A promotional tool or not, it’s also a way of art that can become a recognizable image, creating a bond with the viewer. Something that German graphic designer Sakis Dimitriou responded to in his self-made promotional artwork: The feel of especially movie posters, but then directed towards music.
In his official Instagram channel ‘Sakisgraphics’, the Hamburg-based artist with Greek roots showcases an entire collection of self-made posters, with effects and spaced-out designs. In some of them, Sakis demonstrates alternate versions of album and single releases of all kinds of popular artists. But most of all, and most striking, are the film posters that are based on music videos. Whether it’s for Doja Cat’s “Woman” where Sakis highlights the ancient feel of the video and the sensual atmosphere, Rihanna’s “Umbrella” where all elements of the video are bonded together, or Charlie Puth’s “I Warned Myself” – in focus with the dark and cool vibe of the video, which was later shared via Insta-story by Charlie himself.
But the great response from Charlie Puth is only one of many other artists that got flashed from Sakis’ visuals: Ariana Grande, Little Mix, Rita Ora, The Jonas Brothers, Madison Beer, Lil Nas X, and many others responded to the posters that Sakis made for them, while he also continuously gets praise from his fans for his video depictions, and self-made CD- and promotional artwork. Including not only still images, but even with interactive graphic technology, where some of his posters are partly non-moving, and partly video skits.
With a focus on aesthetic content, Sakis always knew that he wanted to go in the creative and musical direction, and found the passion for design early on when first owning a PC and discovering photoshop about 14 years ago: Starting off with small gimmicks, playing around what the program can do, like editing pictures of his favorite artists, and soon enough learning how to handle designs and graphics on his own. This eventually led him to share his own creations on his official Instagram account ‘Sakisgraphics’ that he started in 2017. Since then, business partners and order requests from various artists came through piece by piece, including for agencies and companies.
With the words “good karma, my aesthetic” on his Insta-info section, Sakis continues feeding the right karma by not only sticking to graphic design but also leveling up into other directions in music. Most notably as owner and founder of his company Synestima – described by Sakis as a place for creativity and passion, and acting as a multi-creative space where a music label (Synestima Records), a graphics office, and a photo studio are combined in one. Also in support of his cousin, the musician Rafa, where he’s intensely involved in the entire creative process of his music, from early 2020 on, being the base of the creation of Synestima in 2021.
Below, Sakis speaks with The Urban Twist about how his ideas came about, the inspiration and the response from artists, and the inception of Synestima.
With a background in design, what inspired you to create graphics and self-made posters about singers and artists?
I was always interested in graphics, visuals, and photography. Always loved the whole visual world around music like CD Covers, Booklets, and Posters. I was so fascinated about it, that I always wanted to see my self-designed CD Cover at a store one day.
What was the very first poster design that you made?
Honestly, I don’t really remember what poster it was but the first time I tried to make graphic design myself was probably a Rihanna Album Booklet. It didn’t look good at all tho.
You eventually started to share your designs on Instagram, around 2017. What was the turning point for you to start sharing your designs publicly?
Well, years after I finished school and started to work at my family’s restaurant I visited a private school in 2016 to get an actual easy certification so I can move on and finally study graphic design later. Because of all the stress, I did not pass. My cousin saw how frustrated I was about that and came up with the idea to post my designs on Instagram. That’s what I did and it was honestly the best decision ever.
Oftentimes you use concepts from music videos and present them like a movie poster – with credits, scenes added in there. Very cool and unique. How did this concept come about?
I always loved music videos. Most of them are telling a story or have beautiful meanings like movies do. The song has a cover, the album has a cover. So why not the music video too? First of all, I had the idea to combine the actual video with the poster. So a part of the video is actually playing on the poster. When you scroll down my Instagram profile (example: Ariana Grande – “No Tears Left to Cry”) you will see that this was the first concept of the whole music video poster thing. I don’t even know why I stopped doing this because it was pretty sick, honestly. Maybe I should bring this back.
Does a video/song have to inspire you to make a poster design out of it?
Mhh I would say yes and no. I can succeed in making a poster for something I am not really into but a concept for videos or music or whatever mostly turns out more genuine and better when I really love it.
Are you also planning to make printed versions of your posters and sell them online?
I get a lot of comments and DM’s with like “oh where can I buy this poster, I want to hang it on my wall”. This makes me really happy and I would love to do it but I am not sure if it’s legally correct due to copyright and stuff. But I already have some ideas and plans for a shop in the future.
Many artists responded to the graphic posters you made for them, like Little Mix, Charlie Puth, and Ariana Grande. Do you still remember the first artist who ever reacted to one of your graphic designs?
Oh yes!! It was Tinashe. I made a poster for her song “Me So Bad” feat. Ty Dolla $ign & French Montana and I didn’t even know that she saw it. A follower sent me a DM on Instagram saying: „Hey, congrats Tinashe re-posted your poster“. I was literally shaking. She was the first big one for me.
Since the positive responses you received from your designs, did it also open new doors for you? Like for example collaborations with artists or other related work?
It does. I had opportunities to work with a lot of different artists, labels, and companies around the world. I literally had my very first paid graphics job because of what I was doing on Instagram. I made posters for a film in the UK and it was overwhelming seeing my posters hanging on the streets of London.
For like almost 2 years now I am working for Huffman Creative’s Instagram account. It’s a production company based in L.A. They have done incredible music videos for a lot of great artists like Charlie Puth, Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj, Becky G, Kelly Rowland, and way more. I am really proud of that collaboration.
You also founded your own company called Synestima, a music label, graphics company and photo studio all rolled into one. Can you tell us something about Synestima? And also, how did you come up with the name?
Yes!! Synestima was founded this year. Me and my cousin both had a meeting with an independent label. He should do some music production and I should work on the graphics for them. The meeting ended up being a whole mess. We were so disappointed about their unprofessionalism and their visions and ideas, that we both just had just one thing in our minds: “If they can build a music label then we can do too and even better”. So we started to build this new space, this new home. It was important that Synestima felt like family. I just wanted it to be a home for creativity, for passion, and for the things we just love to do.
For the name we really wrote down a whole list with around 50 potential names and Synestima wasn’t even one of them. One day I was talking to a really good friend and she asked me what I associate with visuals, music, and creativity. I just said “emotions”. And there it was. “Sinaisthima” is greek and means simply “emotions”. We just changed the spelling a bit and it was just perfect.
Last but not least, are there any other plans or dreams you have for the future? What other fields do you like to explore?
A dream? Yes, it’s still to have my own designed CD at a store, haha. But for now, I want to focus on Synestima besides my graphic jobs as much as possible. It’s a whole lot of work we have to put into that project. It’s really like a 24/7 job but I love it.
You can follow Sakis Dimitriou on his official Instagram Sakisgraphics.
The Instagram of his music label Synestima records, you can follow here.
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