May 21, 2009
CoverArts.com is a new site that lets visitors vote up cd and book cover designs. You can view covers by most recent additions or by highest rated. At least one new cover design is added every day. CD cover design has it's own unique design challenges - sometimes conceptual, other times it's creating a style for an artist photo or photos.
There is some excellent design work represented there. I check it out for inspiration (actually their rss feed sends me new covers as they are added). Each cover is tagged with genre or type, so you can search for just Rock or Hip/Hop covers with a simple click. Cool.Posted by Eric Fritz | Permalink
April 28, 2009
Wilson Rothman published a neat article at Gizmodo about the ever shrinking packaging for music. I had almost forgotten the CD long box, the original packaging for compact discs. As he describes,
"They actually started shipping in long rectangular boxes, so they'd take up exactly 50% of the rack space of a vinyl album. I think this was on purpose, so record stores didn't have to retool their shelving. The upside was lots of surface area for cover art, and the early days of the CD were like a return of album art. These long skinny boxes had huge busts of Jim Morrison, huge prints of the famed Zeppelin explosion that launched a band into stardom. The boxes were also wrapped in easy-to-tear plastic, so getting into your CD, though it took a few steps, was pretty easy."
Those were the days. Here's the linkPosted by Eric Fritz | Permalink
March 16, 2009
Just unveiled, here is the album art for Bob Dylan's surprise release Together Through Life. He talks about the new release in this interview.
Posted by Eric Fritz | Permalink
March 09, 2009
But fortunately still not small enough to climb into a vacuum cleaner. Old comedy reference for a new article by Steven Heller at Wired Magazine about the shrinking space of music album art. This quote sums up the design challenge nicely:
"The space allotted to album art may be a fraction of what it once was, but that just sets the bar higher. If musicians can continue to innovate in the digital age, then designers must take up the challenge of the minimalist thumbnail."
Exactly. Check out the article herePosted by Eric Fritz | Permalink
December 23, 2008
Stanley Donwood has designed every Radiohead album cover and most of their posters since 1994. In this video he discusses his cover design art process. There are also many examples of his work.Posted by Eric Fritz | Permalink
December 09, 2008
Rolling Stone has published it's Readers' Rock List: Best Album Covers of 2008. Below are a few samples of the 25 designs they posted. Judge for yourself if you think they are some of the best. To me it's really more of a popularity contest than a statement of quality designs.
Posted by Eric Fritz | Permalink
November 25, 2008
Steve Heller of Print Magazine published a nice post about Jim Flora and his influential illustrative style. Flora produced jazz album covers in the 40s that set a style still used today. In fact some designers license Flora's work for modern CD covers.Posted by Eric Fritz | Permalink
June 03, 2008
Posted by Eric Fritz
Perhaps you've seen this album art while browsing the internets. It quietly makes all the worst album art lists out there. But in a shocking new report, gawker.com exposes the truth and the fraud behind this piece o fart. Wait until you hear the connection with The Simpsons. Go now.
May 07, 2008
The Columbus Dispatch has posted an album art quiz. In their Jacket Jumble, the band names and titles have been removed. How many covers you can identify? Lots of hints are given, answers are at the bottom of the page. Check it out the Jacket JumblePosted by Eric Fritz | Permalink
April 25, 2008
Storm Thorgerson, one of the greatest album cover designers of all time, originally created this sketch for the cover of Pink Floyd's Animals (1977):
It's hard to imagine that (or anything) replacing the final, iconic cover of the factory and flying pig.
In July, the Oxo gallery in London will be exhibiting Mr. Thorgerson's works in a retrospective entitled Mind Over Matter: Images of Pink Floyd. More info here
Thanks to Times OnlinePosted by Eric Fritz | Permalink
April 23, 2008
I suppose there's something to be said for consistency, but I'm not sure what it is. Weezer's self-titled release comes out in June in both US and UK.
Posted by Eric Fritz | Permalink
March 10, 2008
Vinylux transforms vintage LPs and Album Covers into a variety of gift items - coasters, bowls, clocks, trays, ornaments, notecards, sketchbooks etc. Artist Jeff Davis estimates he will recycle 150,000 LPs and 45s in 2008 alone. What started as his design school master's thesis project turned into a full time business.
related post: Vinyl Art by Daniel EdlenPosted by Eric Fritz | Permalink
February 24, 2008
Naked children and album covers do not mix! Don't let it happen to your son or daughter.
The real story of the naked kid on Nirvana Nevermind - [VH1.com]
Whatever happened to the naked kids on Led Zeppelin Houses of the Holy - [dailymail.co.uk]
The real story behind the naked girl holding a spaceship on Blind Faith's self titled album - [bobseidemann.com, photographer].
Photographer Bob Seidemann was hired for the cover design of Eric Clapton's new band in 1969. He titled his striking image of innocence meets human achievement Blind Faith. The name stuck for the group. The album art was changed (to a band picture) for the US release, but album art censorship is nothing new.Posted by Eric Fritz | Permalink | TrackBack
February 11, 2008
Seven famous Beatles album covers recreated - Lego style.
Posted by Eric Fritz
See them all: Bootlego Beatles
A great interactive promotion for Pink Floyd's 14 cd box set. The packaging is demonstrated nicely. One by one, each disc rises out from the box, leading to a jukebox style browser of each album cover and sample track. You can flip the cover art around to see the art on the back and the track listings. Arrows appear to let you browse forward and back chronologically through each release of the box set. The iconic prism-separated light streams pulsate with each sample track.
The screenshots really don't capture the coolness. Check it out: Pink Floyd Box Set PromotionPosted by Eric Fritz | Permalink
January 30, 2008
HISTORY OF SLEEVEFACE (from flickr pool discussion)
Carl Morris placed an old album cover of McCartney II over his face while djing in Cardiff, England. The crowd went wild. It caught on with other DJs who then did the same.
then a few folks opened up a Facebook group, and photo'd themselves a la Sleeveface and well, it's history.
definition: SLEEVEFACE: " one or more persons obscuring or augmenting any part of their boyd or bodies with record sleeves causing an illusion." according to Carl Morris.Posted by Eric Fritz | Permalink
January 23, 2008
Available March 25 - Panic at the Disco - Pretty. Odd.Posted by Eric Fritz | Permalink
January 11, 2008
The new Ford navigation system, being previewed at the Consumer Electronics Show, incorporates a new user interface that combines Gracenote's voice control and cover art offerings as part of an enhanced music library navigation solution. Ford drivers will now be able to enjoy cover art from Gracenote's database of hundreds of thousands of licensed cover art scans, all on a high resolution eight-inch display.
"The combination of voice control to navigate the car's music library coupled with the cover art we are providing will bring ease of use and enjoyment of in-car entertainment to the next level." - Jim Hollingsworth, SVP sales and marketing, Gracenote.
photo credit: Ford
OPINION: When I first heard about this news I was thinking something more like Apple's Cover Flow, so it was pretty exciting... you know we love to see album art spread to display devices of all kinds. But after seeing the screenshot above, I can't help but be disappointed. The cover is tiny and tucked into an odd location. The design of the whole GUI is just plain uninspired.
I know there are considerations for touch screen displays, but those buttons are just plain ugly. They look like bad Flash buttons circa 1995. The font looks to be Eurostile, which actually matched well with tech design... in the mid 70s. The kerning is so tight that the letters almost mash together.
Some button text is center-left aligned, yet others are top-left aligned, so as to accommodate the single 2-line button for 'Music Library'. That's their design solution?!? Wow. I'm sure the voice activation is cool, but man... even if that's the night time view settings, it's just bad interface design.
OK, rant is over. If you squint, the cover art probably looks pretty good.
January 03, 2008
As chosen by the readers of Rolling Stone, here are the top 25 album covers of 2007. Click image for a larger view.
source - [link]Posted by Eric Fritz | Permalink | Comments (2)
December 29, 2007
Introducing the best of the worst.
The staff at Pitchfork, the indie music site has chosen their 20 worst album covers of 2007. The ones above are personal favorites. It's always nice to see the motor city madman represent.
UPDATE: The folks at Idolator have been running their own worst album cover of 2007 showdown. and have announced their winner. Ted Nugent's Love Grenade takes the crown.Posted by Eric Fritz | Permalink
October 23, 2007
Not many surprises here... check it outPosted by Eric Fritz | Permalink
August 09, 2007
Illustrator and fellow cd designer Warren Flanagan recently completed a stunning design for Symphony X, a progressive metal band. The package for the release Paradise Lost includes a full color booklet, custom die cuts and packaging... Wow! It's some of the finest futuristic/fantasy art you'll find anywhere. Our congrats to Warren, whose other work includes concept illustration for X-Men: The Last Stand, Rise of the Silver Surfer and the upcoming 2008 movieThe Incredible Hulk .
Check out the detail and a revealing animation of Warren Flanagan's cd packaging design for Paradise Lost.
Mr. Flanagan describes the project:
"The project started back in may 2006...two years earlier I had purchased 'The Odyssey' - I thought that album was astounding.. very cinematic and inspiring ...I am a concept designer in the film industry (projects include: I, Robot, X-Men: The Last Stand and Fantastic Four 2: Rise of the Silver Surfer) and i would start getting inspiration in painting from their music!
When I heard that the band were releasing paradise lost as the new record I felt compelled to contact the bands manager-Gunter ford and asked if I could contribute the art direction for the new album.. fortunately for me.. both Gunter and guitarist Michael Romeo liked my work and agreed to hire me for the project!
After an initial conversation about the concept and tone of the new material - I set to work on the panoramic cover...and from there I elaborated on it by doing additional 'cinematic' images for the booklet, thus creating an overall visual narrative to compliment the music.
The main thing for me was to create artwork that had the feel of the classic albums of the late 70's-80's that I had grown up with and give it a modern feel - I was very influenced by the Dio 'Holy Diver' cover and the Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden stuff. I remember as a child my first inspiration was in Jeff Wayne's musical version of 'War of the Worlds' - that inspired me to want to be an artist! So I think a lot of those influences are in this artwork.
When it came to the package design and graphic layout I collaborated with Patrick Zahorodniuk - a colleague of mine that I work with extensively in the film industry - together we developed a die cut digi pack that reflected the narrative set forth by the new music...it was quite a painless process mainly because we decided to do a 3d pre-vis (pre-visualization) animation of the cd (provided by Milena Zdravkovic) so that the band, the label and manufacturers knew exactly what the final product was going to look like." - Warren FlanaganPosted by Eric Fritz | Permalink
July 06, 2007
For a while, the Smashing Pumpkins' cover art for Zeitgeist was to be "the 'holy trinity' of Linsday Lohan, Britney Spears and Paris Hilton. They later realized, as Billy Corgan said "they couldn't pull it off". Too bad... I think the cover they went with is a bit trendy and uninspired.
In a recent article at FMQB, Corgan discusses the album cover and the inspiration behind the song "Black Orchid".
Listen to the entire album Zeitgeist here.
Finally, for the uberfan, you can upload a video question for the Smashing Pumpkins at YouTube.Posted by Eric Fritz | Permalink
March 28, 2007
Early word is that Snakes and Arrows is Rush's most organic-sounding cd release in decades. If so the cover design is fitting - it's hand painted. The painting, chosen by lyricist/drummer Neil Peart, is by scholar/artist Harish Johari, and the story behind it's use as the cover design begins with Buddhist saints 2.000 years ago, weaves through 19th century British Colonies in India, lands in America in the 70s, and ends with a children's board game most of us know well.
Says Peart, "To my surprise, 'Snakes and Arrows' called up several links to something called 'Leela, The Game of Self Knowledge,' or, incredibly, 'The Game of Snakes and Arrows.'
Long story short, I followed that trail with growing enthusiasm, and learned that Leela (Hindi for 'the game') was at least 2,000 years old, and had been created by Buddhist saints and sages as a game of karma-like many games, a metaphor for life...The Leela player rolls a single die, said to be affected by his or her karma, and moves around the board. Each square on the grid represents a stage of consciousness or existence, and the player is raised to higher levels by arrows, and brought low by snakes. The children's game 'Snakes and Ladders' (sometimes called 'Chutes and Ladders') was adapted from Leela by the British during the 19th century Colonial period. After that, the original game almost disappeared-apparently only two gameboards existed in India when scholar Harish Johari revived the game and brought it to America in the 1970s...When I told Alex and Geddy about the Leela connection, and showed them the gameboard painted by Harish Johari, they were as excited by all that serendipity as I was, and we agreed to use his painting for the cover."Posted by Eric Fritz | Permalink
February 22, 2007
Know any female cab drivers in Glasgow? Maybe you could help this poor bloke out. He had payed for the hand-drawn art that was to go on the cover on his band's upcoming cd. Problem is, he left it in a taxi. Man... that sucks. Maybe he should go with a 'missing pet' type poster theme, but for missing art, on the new cover. Or maybe a b&w photo of someone putting up the poster on a street light pole. There could be tear-off phone numbers on the insert - "Lost Art. Please Call blah blah"... or maybe not.
Know anything? His name is Joe.
Here are the unfortunate details.Posted by Eric Fritz | Permalink