Program book, Hip Hop Honors

Program book, Hip Hop Honors

VH1, New York, New York, 2004


We created a program book that would be given out to show attendees at VH1’s first annual Hip Hop Honors show. The book was a pure image piece and, since it was not for promotional use, it could be much more experimental in its look and feel.

Since the show itself focused on the inception of hip hop and the pioneers of the movement itself, which was a melding of many different influences and styles, we wanted the book to reflect that same feeling. So we used a “mix” of paper stocks, styles and mediums, and we included comics, essays, photography and illustration in our design.

Our initial approach was complicated. The photo research alone was very labor intensive, but there were other complicated ingredients as well: original graffiti, obscure photos that had never been published before, and original, in-depth essays from a number of well-known writers. The designer took these unique elements and began to compose a “design” story. Many of the photos were in poor shape when we received them, as they were old and had not been kept archivally. This is why we decided on a raw paper stock—so that it would be forgiving and we wouldn’t have to over-retouch the photos. We wanted to keep the photos as authentic as possible.

Not only was the book well received, but eight hours after the show, it popped up on eBay. In fact, it was so successful that it led to discussions about a full-on consumer hip hop magazine for this year’s show. Considered a collector’s item around the company, this book will always be associated with the inaugural Hip Hop Honors.

Collections: AIGA 365: 26 (2005)
Repository: Denver Art Museum
Discipline: Editorial design
Format: Magazine


Design firm
Creative directors
Nigel Cox-Hagan, Phil Delbourgo
Art director
Nancy Mazzei
Julie Ruiz
Joseph Bukkingham, ChrisCross and Machine of Eternal Machine, Eyeball
Traci Terrill
Samantha Hunter
Director of photography
O’Neil Edwards
Project manager
Allison Geldart
Dejay Litho, Inc.
Printing method
Binding method
Perfect bound
International Paper, C1S Carolina, White, 20 pt., dull, Finch, Opaque vellum, 80 lb. vellum, text, French Newsprint, White, 50 lb. text, Finch, Opaque Bright White, 80 lb. vellum, text, Mohawk, White, 80 lb. vellum, text, Reich Paper, Chartham Translucent, 36 lb. text, French Newsprint, White, 50 lb. text, Finch, Opaque Bright White, 80 lb. vellum, text
Helvetica Black, Fette Fraktur, Trade Gothic Bold Condensed 20; tags, stencils and sketchbook fonts done by hand.