Saturday, April 28, 2012

...Speaking of Cobain,

Some things are just timeless: as relevant  as when they first came out. Some great examples of this include George Orwell's 1984, the stand-up acts of Bill Hicks or George Carlin, and this cover for Nirvana's second studio album, Nevermind.

The balance and art direction are great, but I think at the end of the day, for a design to have a great amount of impact and staying power it needs to have a great message. The message here is quite clear; it is an image of humankind, and how we're distracted and lured in by material goals to the exclusion of the important things in life. I don't think this issue will ever cease to be relevant, unless we all wake up one day to find that worldwide corporations have stopped polluting and exploiting and making wars for profit, and have instead decided to focus on feeding the hungry.

...Or something like that. It's a timeless and thought-provoking message, which is why Nirvana is as popular with angsty teenagers today as it ever was.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Let's go retro: John Lennon

For me, sometimes the classics really are the best... And it doesn't get much better than John Lennon. The art direction is genius for this cover; so simple... Nothing but John Lennon singing. I think when it's someone as iconic as he, you really don't need much more than that; some of the greatest imges from music are just the artist's portrait, looking human and being themselves. I'll take iconic imagery like this John Lennon piece or Kurt Cobain's famous shoot(below) over a half-naked woman in 10lbs of makeup or a guy looking pretentious and trendy any day.

Listen to me, eh? Any day now I'll probably start rambling on about
"You damn kids with your music... Skateboarding on the sidewalk... No respect.."

But what can I say? Sometimes the older stuff really is the best. I'd wager anything by Lady Gaga or Katy Perry will be long forgotten a decade from now; but we'll still be enjoying songs like "Come Together" and "Smells Like Teen Spirit" long long after.

John Lennon album cover

If you don't know who this is just give up now.

Nine Inch Nails: The Downward Spiral

Trent Reznor was one of my favourite artists growing up... And Nine Inch Nails' The Downward Spiral, in my opinion, his greatest album. Here we see another tactile piece: a perfect blend of fading and decay. This says much about the album itelf, which has common themes like self destruction, hurt, anger and loathing... (Basically the perfect blend of angry angsty rock, if you're a teenager.)

The text is small, but powerful; dynamic above a big brown spot.

Awesome album and awesome cover.

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Show Your Bones

Here's a really neat tactile album cover from the yeah yeah yeahs. While the design itself is perfectly centered, the grain and imperfections of the material make it really visually interesting. Even the colours follow this same rule; all primary colours that make it look perfectly balanced, but with enough shadow and areas of muted colour to keep things dynamic.

Really awesome cover.

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Show Your Bones

Christina Aguilera- Bi On Ic

I think this is a really well designed cd cover. Its something really difference that you havent quite seen before. I love the white space that has been left there. It really makes you focus on the initial image. The only problem I have with this cover, is the font used. I don't  find that it really is fitting for this piece.

Maroon 5-Overexposed

This cd cover, is very overwhelming. The only positive I can give it is that the colour scheme really comes together as a family, and isn't too hard to look at.

Lily Allen-The Fear

I usually prefer a cd cover that doesn't feature the artist. This was an interested way to promote it and Its a successful cover. The colours are great and very eye catching.

Mumford&Sons- Roll away your stone

Another great cd cover by Mumford & Sons. It consists of the same style of design. The colour is a muddy green, which is paired with a few different grays. The illustration is mind blowing.

Mumford & Sons- Sigh No More

This is a beautiful cd cover. I love the use of burn yellow throughout it. The image is interesting and different, and the entire cd cover comes together as a family.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers-MOJO

This would be the opposite of a great red, white and black combination. I'm confused by the layout, and find that my eye is wondering all around the cd case. I think the bottom portion of the cd throws a viewer off.


This cover is a great way of using black and red. The font texture is amazing, and really creates a visually appealing contrast. I love the image in the background, and how it is mostly outlined, and not filled. Its an eyecatching cd cover/


i really love roses but this one is one of kind it has meaning  the buttles around  each other
tells you the life is going and depending on the others and relaying to it has the life it is


i like this style of photography it's kinda Dreamy simple but it has lots of meaning  the vintage texture tells me the life experience  hat she has  and no matter what defalcates she get she still enjoying her life

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Im not dead

Pink !!Pink  i love her style its not my style tho but i adore her personality she is nutty ,but in this album cover it shows how much fun ,innocent , energetic withe a bit of sweet by adding the pegon .

Plans death cab for cutie

I do like this concept  neither its a tree nor splash of bold  it is combusting but it did not give the vower Creepy feeling it i really neat idea

On letting go

this hand drawing album cover really net idea how the head burn  lead the eye to the balloon
 show  very confuse, lost . to much busy  ends up by buying  i lie it  really to the point messge

A day withe out rain

I do  like this photography style  vintage feeling  withe stylish personalty  plus it's go well withe Enya song performers  and the title of the album cover  blinds well the photo its the feeling of dryness !!

Daydreamer Dialogue

I like this one and how they use typography as a  hair and the  heavy stain  colour give it bit of drama blinds well the eye look
for the songs lyrics and the album title ad tiara 

The velveteen as diane birch

This album cover has special feeling  it's bring back the black and white movies  and it's reflects  the music background 
i end it really  intersted   and romantic 

The very best of Enya

i find this dramatic both in colour and in content i love how her and her dress resumable as poppy
i and the font really represents her personality and her singing style

Live it out

i really like the illustration style its very pop art, i like the combination of colours and graphics.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Classic Country Mug Shots

Every looked at a country music album cover? I bet you've seen this style more than once...the mug shot of the country singer with their name and album name neatly tucked in beside the photo. Take a look:

They're almost all the same basic layout. Name, title, head shot of the artist, and a couple smaller details. It's just interesting to think about why this is the standard layout for most country albums. Perhaps it is because country music tends to be personal and contain life stories, and it is personable to have a picture of the artist as the main focus on the cd cover. Just something interesting to think about...

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Oh How I Wish I Could Re-Design These...

So I went on a quest for some really yucky album covers. I really don't have much to say about them, because they do the talking for themselves. But here they are:

I'm not saying anything bad about the design on this one, however the readability kinda lacks. I almost get dizzy trying to read the title on this one. Makes me feel all shaky...needs more contrast between the title and the background imagery.

I suppose this one could work if you were looking for something with a comic book feel, but if that isn't it, I like to stay away from those exploding sunbursts and clouds!

This one just makes me laugh...maybe there's some hidden meaning in it, but wow...too many neon colours and weird...stuff........

Graphically "Busy" Album Covers that WORK

After finding some examples of simple album cover artwork that looked good, I found some examples of album cover artwork that has a lot going on in regards to elements in the background and foreground. These are examples of compositions that visually look appealing and make sense. They work together as a whole, but have more than a small image and text going on:

There is a lot going on in the background here, grass, flowers, clouds, etc. At first I didn't notice everything going on, that's how well done it is. The reason this works, is because of the monochromatic-ness of the background. Everything blends in, so that the singer stands out against the dark grey-ness of the background. The white of the text also creates a lot of contrast so it stands out well.

In this one, contrast is the huge contributing factor to its readability. There is a ton of type and words in the background, yet you only notice the artist's name and album name because of the contrast between the background and foreground. This is a pretty neat cover though, I think it's a great idea!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Hand-Made Typography Based Album Covers

Hand-made typography can be a unique and effective design for any media, but for an album cover it can really help to bring out the artist's personality and style. Sometimes a computer-rendered font just isn't enough; sometimes a design just needs the extra personal touch of illustrative hand-made type. The best ones tend to be relatively simplistic... Nothing but the type; a solid background to contrast with the dynamic typographic design. 

My first choice, by Cage the Elephant, appears to be a watercolour composition. The white background makes the busy type work; it is an excellent design.

The second piece, by Third Day, uses a juxtaposition of planes of typography and colour. The black, red and white creates a dynamic and exciting visual energy in the shapes.

The third album is a compilation not just of songs but of various objects that come together to create the typography. The result is a tactile sensation that is visually appealing and extremely successful.

Cage The Elephant album cover: Thank You Happy Birthday

Third Day album cover: Revelation

Songs from the 20th Century Compilation album cover

Green Day: American Idiot

For me, this Green Day cover has it all. For starters, the concept is wonderfully symbolic and extremely effective. The solid planes of the hand and heart-shaped grenade create an excellent visual energy when contrasted with the textured titles. The design itself is one of those "so-simple-I-wish-I'd-thought-of-it" designs, reminiscent of Saul Bass and just plain gorgeous. With just two colours, this design has achieved so much; it is truly an inspiration for any designer... Though again, certainly owes the invention of its style to the earlier Saul Bass posters. The bold and sharp planes, the simplistic imagery... See below to judge for yourself. 

Green Day album: American Idiot

The Man With the Golden Arm (Saul Bass movie poster)

Anatomy of a Murder (Saul Bass movie poster)

The White Stripes: De Stijl

I came across this album cover last semester during History of Design. This is The White Stripes' album De Stijl, which cleverly utilizes the early 1900s Dutch art style of the same name. 

De Stijl was all about harmony through order. Artists strove to create a pure abstraction through stripping a design down to its simplest forms; a juxtaposition of horizontal and vertical lines done in primary colours and with black and white. The cover is a great recreation of this Art Movement, as well as a good fit for the White Stripes' personal style.

The White Stripes: De Stijl

1924 De Stijl Composition by Theo Van Doesburg

A painting by De Stijl artist Piet Mondrian

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Simplistic Album Covers

Went on a search for examples of simplistic album covers. Covers that have few elements with a nice composition. Sometimes simple gets the message across. They can sometimes be the most memorable, for instance in the case of Pink Floyd's album cover. Whenever you see that graphic, you immediately know where it came from and who it represents. Here are a few examples:

This one is simple, yet the text of the band and album name stands out. The colours really work together to create a great album cover artwork piece. 

This one represents the band well, and would be easy to transfer to other promotional material, such as t-shirts and other items, and a website could easily be created to this style. 

Not much needs to be said about this one. In this case, the band is so well known, that the band's logo is all that is needed. And for Back in Black, what other colour but black needs to be used?

Same thing here. It's Pink Floyd. I love this one. 

Very simple, but very dynamic. There is a lot of movement in this piece for the size of it. This one was very well designed. The colours were well chosen and the shading looks great. 

Illustrated Album Covers

So I went looking for some album covers that were illustrated as opposed to using photography. This is what I found:

This one has a very unique style, kinda neat actually. 

This one has a very geometric style. Different from a hand-illustrated piece of artwork, however portrays a different image for the band.

This one here is very simple, but works really well as an album cover. I almost like this better than had they used a photo of the artist. It's a very clean look. Out of all of these, this one is my favourite.

This one is yet again a different style. Simple, yet catches your eye because of the contrast against the white background. Pretty neat rendering.