December 28, 2006
Here is the winning cover design entry from the iTunes pre-release contest.
More Infinity On High contest info available here from Rolling Stone.Posted by Eric Fritz | Permalink
December 12, 2006
The cover design for Fall Out Boy's upcoming pre-release is up to the fans, adding to what seems like a recent trend, and a good marketing/promotion opportunity, and a community building effort, and an audience participation move.
The contest is for the iTunes US pre-release cover of Infinity On High. Interested?.. submit your design by December 31 to the Fall Out Boy cover design upload site. Check out the submissions so far, where you can rate your favorite cover and help decide the winner. Check out iTunes US store on January 16 to see the winning design.Posted by Eric Fritz | Permalink
November 20, 2006
U2, Sting, Radiohead, Coldplay, Franz Ferdinand, Arctic Monkeys, Kaiser Chiefs, Jack Johnson and others have contributed songs to the album Rythms Del Mundo: Cuba (due out Nov 20, 2006 from Universal Music). The surviving members of Cuban group Buena Vista Social Club have remixed each track, giving them traditional Cuban/Latin feels and instrumentation - listen to samples here. The album cover features a 1950s Cuban automobile photo, taken by the cd's producer, Kenny Young. The Sheffield-based company MM Design was given an opportunity to pitch the design.
The cd packaging, which includes a 20 page booklet, is made from a material that is carbon neutral. Proceeds from cd sales are donated to the project's Natural Disaster Relief and Climate Change Awareness programs.
1 Clocks - Coldplay
2 Better Together - Jack Johnson
3 Dancing Shoes - Arctic Monkeys
4 One Step Too Far - Dido & Faithless
5 As Time Goes By - Ibrahim Ferrer
6 I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For - Coco & U2
7 She Will Be Loved - Maroon 5
8 Modern Way - Kaiser Chiefs
9 Killing Me Softly - Omara Portuondo
10 Ai No Corrida - Vanya & Quincy
11 Fragilidad - Sting
12 Don't Know Why - Vanya
13 Hotel Buena Vista - Aquila Rose & Idana
14 The Dark of the Matinee - Coco & Franz Ferdinand
15 High and Dry - Lele & Radiohead
16 Casablanca - Ibrahim & Omara
November 08, 2006
Artists and characters from famous album covers battle it out in a well animated movie. Rock, Rap, Metal, Pop, Punk - they're all represented here in an all out brawl to the death!Posted by Eric Fritz | Permalink
November 01, 2006
The cover design for The Information, Beck's 2006 cd release, is customizable. The packaging contains a sheet of stickers so fans can create their own cover designs. A very cool idea, if not a bit cost prohibitive for most independent musicians. Beck has always been inspired by album cover art. As he discusses in this article by James Montgomery, while growing up he would buy albums from thrift stores and swap meets based solely on their "wild" cover art. In the article Beck discusses his 10 favorites:Posted by Eric Fritz | Permalink | Comments (1)
September 13, 2006
Fresh from Apple comes iTunes 7, with a few great album cover art features. When you launch iTunes 7 for the fist time you see this:
iTunes imports all the album covers (that it has) for ALL the songs in your library, not just songs purchased for the iTunes music store.
Also, there are two new ways to view your library with album art. First is a list view with cover designs:
Second is Coverflow view, which used to be an external app created by Steel Skies. They sold the technology to Apple, who have integrated it nicely into iTunes and the iTunes movie store (if you haven't heard, Apple is selling movies now). You can actively scroll through album covers, sort of like a jukebox. It looks like:
Posted by Eric Fritz
| Comments (1)
Of course it's much more impressive when it's being used, so go get iTunes already!!
May 02, 2006
Now that the cds are all ripped to a drive, the jewel cases are hanging around (somewhere), often with only thin spines to show for themselves, rack stacked and covers covered up.
Tired of browsing his cd collection by spine, Dean Fallander created a decorative display system for jewel case cover art. CDWallTile allows music fans to design their own patterns of framed jewel cases and display their favorite cd cover designs on walls or other surfaces. The frames hold jewel cases securely while allowing easy access to the disc. They can be hung without damaging the walls (no tools needed) and come in a variety of colors. Special connecting devices keep the pattern of covers properly aligned while hanging.
See also related art prints from LP album covers
OPINION: Thumbs up! It was album art that first got me interested in graphic design on the way to becoming a cd cover designer. CDWallTile looks like a great system for displaying the work of my design group. I could also see using the frames for displaying cases of cds in current listening rotation... lots of possibilities.
UPDATE: Aug 2006:
We purchased a few boxes recently and created a display for our office wall that gets plenty of attention and positive feedback. Our clients can focus on our cd designs while coming up the stairs. It was easy to create a custom, perfectly spaced pattern with their included spacers, and then hang it all up at once. Click around the CDWallTile website to view other displays, and shop the online store.
April 22, 2006
see this needle... see my hand...
drop, drop, dropping it down...oh, so gently...
well here it comes...i touch the plane...
turn me up...won't turn you away...
Pearl Jam, "Spin the Black Circle"
Those of us around when vinyl was king still hold sentimental feelings for the LP record format and the cover designs that put a creative 'face' on the music. The Eisner Museum of Advertising and Design's website has a cool, interactive feature that breaks down some landmark album covers of the 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s. Drop the needle on a track and get the backstory of the role graphic design has played in recorded music during that decade.
The story begins with the 'original' album cover designer Alex Steinweiss who created the first artistic packaging for LP records back in 1939. Before his suggestion and designs, record albums had a plain cardboard cover with just the title and artist name. He convinced Columbia Records to use the cover as a canvas that could convey the beauty and sentiment of the music inside.
The story ends with the 70s, which makes sense. The compact disc was introduced in 1982, ushering the end of vinyl and cassettes as the formats of choice.
A must see for any music and art history buff, check out The Art of the Album Cover.
April 15, 2006
The link below leads to a great article by Ricardo Baca, the Denver Post Pop Music Critic, who discusses the transition of album cover art from LP jackets to CD jewel cases to the still evolving digital realm - shrinking in size all the while, but also offering new design opportunities for the album cover designer that can adapt.
The article has reflections by:
Josh Rosenfeld, co-founder of Seattle indie label Barsuk Records
Jeff Kleinsmith, art director at Sub Pop Records
Mark Ohe, art director at Matador Records
Check out the article here: Can you see the music?Posted by Eric Fritz | Permalink
April 05, 2006
A new kind of digital liner notes for music albums is popping up at the iTunes music store. Created by TuneBooks, as of this writing there are only two releases available with their new interactive booklet format, The Darkness's One Way Ticket to Hell... and Back, and The Click Five's EP release, Catch Your Wave.
This is the newest step in the evolution of album cover design. The previous 'step', and still the most prevalent, is the so called "digital booklet", which is nothing more than a PDF file of the CD packaging design. I suppose it's nice to be able to print the insert and traycard on a home printer, cut them out and assemble your own jewel case – but it's hardly an evolutionary step. More like a step back in my opinion.
Tunebooks uses the Quicktime movie format (.mov), which has far more capabilities than most people are aware of: animated transitions, sprites, links, scrolling text, optical effects... they are all possible with the correct authoring environment. The Tunebook created for One Way Ticket to Hell... and Back uses all these features. Check out a rough movie screen capture here (4MB Quicktime mp4).
-Brings the popular things from print publishing design into a digital format (liner notes, lyrics, photos)
-Gives artists and labels direct link opportunities for band websites, additional content and merchandising (photos, posters, ringtones, t-shirts, PC games, etc)
-One click for tour information, band blogs, mailing lists and other communication with fans
-Richer media content (animations, video)
-Labels have opportunity to revive back catalog sales through videos and extras, similar to that of DVD bonus features
-Non-tactile: no feel, no factory-fresh smell
-Less exciting than opening and checking out print packaging design
-Poor integration with iTunes, it appears too small
-Without iTunes, you must view with Quicktime player on a computer
-No iPod integration
-Will it still work in 20 years?
There's certainly no stopping the digital revolution in music and entertainment. Given the prevalence of software that finds and embeds album cover art in digital music files, there seems to be no danger of music album releases losing their visual art component. Only time will tell whether TuneBooks become a new standard, or just a blip on the ever-changing radar.Posted by Eric Fritz | Permalink | Comments (2)
February 14, 2006
A spanking new CD DVD cover art site is now available with a clean Google-like search function. It appears to search Amazon.com for most of it's results. Check out coverzoom.Posted by Eric Fritz | Permalink | Comments (1)
February 09, 2006
He's a friend of the band, he's featured on the cd cover design, but Chris McClure had to borrow cash from a friend to buy the Arctic Monkeys album Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not. Admitedly drunk in the photo, I guess you could call this 'reality' design - raw and unpolished. With the publicity he's getting, Chris should set up a donation site so the poor bloke can buy some tunes!
I dig their band logo with its monkey tail letters.Posted by Eric Fritz | Permalink
January 19, 2006
Freshly released, CoverScout 1.0 provides a clean, simple way to search and grab album artwork for your iTunes music library. The non-registered version only shows 10 albums, for $8 you can register and have the whole enchilada.
I gave it a try and it worked well, searching Google and Amazon for images, then clicking "Set" to apply the artwork, which is embedded into the song files. Thumbs up.Posted by Eric Fritz | Permalink | Comments (2)
January 13, 2006
Here's a good article about managing album cover art in Windows Media Player. It discusses viewing album art in the full-mode player, retrieving album art from the internet, replacing incorrect cover art and creating your own.
Next generation Windows Media Player 11 for Microsoft's Vista OS has had quite an overhaul from previous WMP versions (see pic below). Most notably is it's tight integration with URGE, MTV Network's upcoming digital music service. You will be able to view your library by cover art and create "stacks" for custom organization. WMP 11 will automatically retrieve cover art from the internet, probably from the URGE service.
Windows Media Player 11 preview info
January 11, 2006
iCoverArt is a utility for Windows that automates the task of adding cover art to an existing iTunes library of songs. The screenshot below is from the Maximized Software website, developers of iCoverArt.
iCoverArt is for Windows and requires iTunes 4.5 or later. The latest version (1.1) adds the ability to delete cover art already embedded in song files. It can be fully registered for the bargain price of $5.Posted by Eric Fritz | Permalink
January 06, 2006
Winston Smith is an artist who arguably created an entire design genre. His cover designs for The Dead Kennedys, Green Day and others have really defined the rebellious cut-and-paste montage look so commonly associated with punk rock. Green Day's Insomniac cover and The Dead Kennedys 'bladed' logo are his most notable design works.
Smith has completed more than 30 cd cover designs since 1980, but his work also includes major magazine illustrations, posters and compilation books of his art. He uses no computers to create his designs. His tools are old magazines, catalogs, a razor knife and glue - which he uses to create art with biting social commentary. So well composed are the designs that they sometimes appear to be a painting. He seems most fond of using images from the 1950s, mashed-up and combined in a way to turn the innocent, happy feeling of the original pictures into rebellious, authority-questioning, psychedelic collages.
Sometimes humorous, always thought provoking, Winston Smith's art represents a milestone in the realm of cover design.Posted by Eric Fritz | Permalink
January 03, 2006
Quixote over at rateyourmusic.com has put together a list of album cover designs that caused a stir when they were released, going all the way back to the mid 1950s. A short description of each controversy is also included, and how a design compromise was reached (or not!).
check it out: Shock & Awe (Banned Cover Art)Posted by Eric Fritz | Permalink