CD Cover. Inspiration

CD Cover

Inspiration »

Because the artists are drawn from the pool the CD cover must represent a variety of music.

The cover is for a compilation, hence something nondescript in terms of artist or music genre is appropriate. Symbol,patterns, textures are good choices. Not to dark (in terms of mood) as this may not be fitting in terms of the tracks on the compilation. By that same token not to bright which could be construed as overly cheery, or playful. Again it may not be indicative of the contents of the compilation

The key is to look for something universal. An opportunity to look at common ( boring I know ) graphic elements. Techniques which have become overused, but I think work well because they cannot be associated with one type of music. e.g.

Use of generic brushes, starburst background To create something that is ok. Not awe inspiring, but is easy on the eye, makes no assumption? about the type the music. Simple, clean

When something has been used a lot it is understood, sometimes expected and welcomed. Again these are just my thoughts.

Jacob Cass has written a nice article [1] about these repeated trends in current graphic. The prevailing view is that graphic design is currently stiffled ( at the time of writing ) due to the overuse of stock imagery, and whilst I understand that his point of view I also think

If it works, go with it !!

Other forms of inpiration

I also looked at other form of promotional material. The catalyst for this being Glastenbury. Current generations even though they may have their preference are not polarised are free to enjoy the experience of diverse musical expressions more openly. Staunch adherences to a single genre such as Mods, Rockers are less prevalent today.

As such festivals / compilations represent diverse acts. Festivals once the preserve of indie groups are now open more commercial sounds to the pleasure of some, the consternation of others. Due to its inclusivity I felt it was worth a look at past promotional material

Promotional Material

As you can see here all the common elements are present, producing a pleasant enough design, yet generic enough to have that has a far reaching appeal. serves its purpose

Theses flyer demonstrate how entrenched these design elements have become. My take is I like them. Tm guessing people like them or at least dont mind or they would not be so prominent.
I guess the trick here is to try to use these element in an original way. All of them with varied look and feel.

As a budding graphic designer these techniques are well worth knowing

Glastenbury Promotional Material

Jimmy Tirrell, in his this 2009 campaign achieves a universal feel by combining part of multiple artist to complete the whole, with use of halftone. The third makes use of the cassette, again a choose to provide that musical reference without attached itself to a particular genre.

iPod Campaign

We all know what it is, but it is hard to argue with its appeal. I like it as much now as when it was run. Highly successful, yet has all the traits of generic design i.e the silhouette figure and device, the injection bright colour which grabs the attention. screams youthfulness etc.

It works so well because how generic it is. The girl could be anyone listening to any music genre, hence has far reaching appeal. The main point is that she is enjoying herself as can be seen from her body language and its all due to here clearly detectable ipod.

As fresh as it looks this is an old campaign, and whilst these elements are commonplace today chances are it originates here. I would be unlike Apple to rehash something done before, and lets face it they have pretty much been the trend setters in many aspects of design for the last decade.

Even though they have been over used they have the benefits of generic and have universal appeal. All things which compilation cover must portray.

Little Girl Song. Implementation

Little Girl Song

Implementation »

Since there was no lyrical content in this song it a good opportunity to do something at little abstract. I out mark-making as a starting point. Nothing too fancy just red and yellow poster paints dabbed with a sponge.

Really wanted to try out some mark making in this card

I chose this A4 sheet as a starting point

Converted to a smart object. That way I could try out various filters and setting non destructively

I settled on this. The range of colours and round shape seem like little sweets, which I felt was a fitting backdrop

To add a bit of mood I added in this A4 spray paint and set the blend mode to multiply . It actually car spray paint available at any pound shop.

I had im my mind to highlight a central artwork with a vignette effect. hence added a slight radial gradient overlay to the layer. At this point the background still seemed to flat so I tried various textures in layers styles with just enough relief to give the backgrop more form.

Looking for a representation of a little girl.

I looked at some silhouette brushes. Not finding what I was looking for I opted to simple illustration and bring over Photoshop.

I found this rather nice tutorial demonstrating little illustrated figures. And used this as a starting point.

The figure on the left is from the early steps of the tutorial. Just a series of rounded rectangles joined with a square to form the body. I only needed the first few steps as my requirement was for something with less detail.

On the right are my additions. Simple use of the pen-tool, and pathfinder to merge shapes to form the hair and body

imported this into Photoshop as a smart object. This image is black stroke on white. I knew that using Multiply would drop out the white background leaving the black outline. But because the was so much white peering through the backdrop I thought having a white figure would better suite my purposes

Applying an invert adjustment layer and blend mode to screen did the trick.

I made a few subtle adjusts in layer styles just so it didn’t look so flat. I added a very fine outer glow, just 1 pixel. It acts more like a blur to soften the figure and a 1ps shadow to provide a little bit of lift.

Again the changes are hardly noticeable, but when you turn them on and off the difference is clear

To complete the card I added some vector shape, reduced the fill opacity, and worked them in further with a soft brush on a layer mask.

Now finally for the text. At this point the whole thing reminded of candy. In my mind I thought oversized swirl lollies.

Straight away I knew I wanted something curly and styled as though a child and written it.

I went to There were many to suit my needs. I settled on TS Curly

Finally, to give it a little lift I gave it a stroke selected on of the dark colours of the backdrop.

The back cover is just a copy of the first with the pointilize filter removed and the cell size in crystallise increased. The more I look at it it looks better than the front!.

Final Work

Timewhys. Implementation

Implementation »

The music had a strong psychedelic feel to it, with a twist. The instrumentation was all electronic. Probably quite groundbreaking at the time.

The video had may early computer graphic images, lots of geometric forms
with colourful random patterns. There was a limited color palette, then again early computers had a limited color range. The whole thing left me with images of old sprite graphic on early home computers such as Spectrums, Commodore 64s etc and electronic displays such as graphic equalisers.

Some of the pattern in the video were almost a precursor to the random graphics founder in iTunes Visualiser and other media players

My idea was to do something with incorporate geometric pattern or random forms

Because my intention was to produce something abstract in nature i opted to start with one of my mark making trials , with a view to trying something in illustrator next.

I used this a a starting point. The brush strokes were made long and deliberate. I worked the brush in two directions to get the criss cross pattern

First I converted it to a smart object. That way I could apply, remove, re-apply filter non destructively (and often!!) until I came up with a combination which would work for the card.

The extrude filter made this rather pleasing pattern. It was really in keeping with aspects I was looking for. It had strong geometry in the form of protruding columns and a a lot of variation in terms of differ and angles and the recesses of the columns

The A4 sheet is much bigger than the canvas so I was free to move it around attempting to get different variations.

I also varied the setting with the extrude filter to get different look.
I really liked the sharpness produced by the pyramid option. It conjured images os stalagmites and stalactites.

I tried applying other filters on top of this and stumbled across glowing edges.

I immediately thought wow!, fantastic! It had all the elements I was looking for randomness in colour, strong geometric forms, it even had that elaborate visualizer feel. Jackpot!

To finish I chose zekton font from dafont.coms sci fi collection A very clean, simple sans-serif with a futuristic touch. It
felt this was in keeping with the cover.

My only concern is maybe its a bit fine. Not sure if it gets lost a little bit in the graphic. AT the same time I didn’t want something to heavy as I was intent on placing the text in a single line so as not to obscure the design. On screen its seem alright. A test colour print will prove if its the right choice or not.

To give it emphasis I added a strong red underline. The purpose of which was to help distinguish it from the rest to the design.

There are no lyrics for this song so I opted to do a variation of the front cover. Just changed the extrude setting from pyramid to blocks to get a surprisingly different result.

Less cluttered than the front, yet a great design
Reminiscent of pixel graphic.

Final Work

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Lyrics

Fredrika Stahl. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

Lyrics »

Twinkle, twinkle, little star
How I wonder what you are
Up above the world so high
Like a diamond in the sky

When the blazing sun sun is gone
When there’s nothing he shines upon
Then you show your little light,
And twinkle, twinkle trough the night
In the dark blue sky
You keep

And trough my curtains often peek
For you never shut your eyes
Till the sun is in the sky
Then a traveller in the dark
Thanks you for your tiny spark
He couldn’t see which way to go

if you didn’t twinkle so
No, I don’t know
What you are
Twinkle, twinkle, little star
Twinkle, twinkle, little star
How I wonder what you are

Up above
the world so high
Like a diamond
in the sky
Like a diamond
Like a diamond

Like a diamond
Like a diamond
You shine your little (Like a diamond)
And twinkle, twinkle trough the night
Twinkle, twinkle, little star
How I wonder what you are