Deployed by Billie Eilish, The 1975 and 5 Seconds of Summer, custom-made Snapchat lenses -- effects that layer objects and accessories over photo and video posts -- have opened up a new front in music marketing. The wizard behind many of these lenses? Los Angeles-based designer Michael Nicoll.
The Boston native started digital agency Blnk in late 2017 after seven years as ESPN’s lead designer, which is when he discovered his passion for integrating music with 3D elements. His work got the attention of 30 Seconds to Mars’ digital team, which reached out to collaborate soon before Blnk launched. Six months later, the band’s label, Interscope, tapped Nicoll to work with Snapchat on the platform’s first-ever artist lens, created through its new Lens Studio software. He has since designed over 30 artist-specific Snapchat lenses for labels including Interscope, Capitol, Atlantic, Republic, Polydor and Concord -- all of which contract him independently, with rates ranging from $1,000 to over $15,000, depending on the complexity of the project.