Graphic Designer Emy Storey Brings Art to Music


To date, Storey’s work on Death Cab for Cutie’s major album release has been
her biggest, as half a million copies were produced for initial sale.

"It was so exciting," she said. "The booklet itself was layered
with pages of different lengths. It was a nontraditional way to make a booklet
for a jewel case, so they sent me to Louisville,
, to the plant to see it
get made and give the final go-ahead."

Her most personal work, though, comes through working with Tegan and Sara.

"I feel like I have an understanding of their music that goes beyond my
understanding of other people’s music," Storey said, "because of how
I’ve been involved in the past and to this day still in their musical process,
hearing the music from the very day it’s written to the day it’s mastered for
the record, being so familiar with the music and so familiar with them as
people and what they want and appreciate visually and that kind of stuff. I
would say that makes it really exciting, though I’m not sure about easy because
they’ve always challenged me to keep working on things and developing ideas.
They’re great to collaborate with, and the way we work has really grown and
changed over the years.

"I feel like they give me a lot more freedom now. In the past I’d be
working on something and Sara would pull up a chair right behind me at the
computer and watch me work for an hour like she was watching TV or something.
Now I’m kind of on my own doing my own thing, and they really trust me with
that. So I don’t know if the trust factor makes it easy.

But say I get another random client who doesn’t know what
they want or doesn’t know anything about design or [doesn’t] even really think
about it all that much. They just say, ‘I need album art work, here are my
lyrics and here’s the music.’ Sometimes I come up with something, and they take
the first thing and it’s done. They make it easy, you know? But that never
seems as satisfying for me."

Now that she’s no longer on the road with Tegan and Sara (she has ended the
relationship with Sara and has trained someone else to work with the
merchandise), Storey has continued to serve as creative director for them while
also working on other projects. Most recently, her projects include work with
nonprofits like Project 10, a Montreal-based LGBTQ youth organization.

Storey said she works largely with gay organizations and artists "because
I’m gay, so [they] find me by word of mouth. I think it’s been great for me,
because personally I love to be able to help out my friends, and I think
they’re all amazing artists. I’ve been really fortunate to work with so
many amazing queer artists and to collaborate with them. I love working with
gay people!"

One thing Storey will also be able to do is concentrate on her own work, which she
sells on her website, In her personal store, she sells designs for
T-shirts, prints, books and pillowcases. Her work sells out quickly, and has
created more work than she was prepared for.

"The schedule is so unpredictable, and it’s just constant, constant
working" Storey said. "Working for myself is wonderful, and I feel so
privileged to be able to do it and make a living. I know a lot of artists can’t
do that because it’s hard to get a break to build your career that way, but it
takes a lot of self-motivating and self-discipline."

Given Storey’s work ethic, it appears she should have no problem.

Check out Storey’s
designs at

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