Music – Ideas for album covers

Now that I have a design for the business card and logo that the client has approved, I have decided to move on to the album cover and see what I can do. I will return to look at everything as a whole package nearer the end of the project and make changes as necessary to ensure the consistency a good identity needs to be successful is there, so I have not forgotten about the logo and business card. The brief also states a CD label needs to be produced, but that will more than likely be a design spun off from something I create here.

With all the research and information suggesting abstract elements and landscape scenes are a style that he really likes, I started thinking about how I was going to create the cover, and with what style. With illustration being preferred, I looked up some cloud brushes on Photoshop that would allow for a realistic cloud illustrative image to be created. As I was just trialling things out, I went for the first one I saw, which I downloaded from here.

I then selected a brush and started brushing onto the canvas in Photoshop using my trackpad, but had forgotten to choose the ‘correct’ settings, as I had been working on another design previously, so I wondered why I was getting this weird effect that you can see below. However, the realisation soon dawned that not only did it look great, but would also be something the client would be very interested in.
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From there, I just had the feeling the style I had come across was the way to go, so I wanted to do a lot more experimenting. First of all I changed the colours to see what impression that made on the design, so I added a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer, and played about with the settings, and ended up with the result below. This has the consequences of meaning I can react to the scenario of the client loving the abstractness of it, but hating the colour scheme, I could change that.

(This added flexibility to the design is something I think will work well, an example I think of could be if in the future the client wanted another album cover, but using the same design, just with different colours.)2 I also wanted to try with a smaller brush size and different effects, and produced an effect that is rather kaleidoscopic. It reminds me actually of a granite kitchen work-top you would find in a kitchen, if not in colour! This design has a depth to it that I think works very well.3 Here I have taken the brush technique I was experimenting with and mixed it with a landscape for the first time. I chose a sea to meet the sky, and the rough pattern works very well with waves, and the angled edges also have connotations of a stormy appearance. For the sky I used the cloud brushes as they were intended to be used, to create a contrast in textures even though I was using brushes from the same pack I downloaded. To finish the piece, I also added a bright sun, so as to create a focal point for the design and throw some light on the design to stop it being too dark.5I then decided to go in the complete opposite direction and make a truly abstract landscape. I have used a set of three different foreground and background colours, and made the sky, the sea and sand. This abstract effect may well be too abstract, but at this stage I just want to experiment to give the client many options when I next show him my progress on his identity.6

For my final experiment with this abstract style, I created a desert scene which would run into mountains and eventually the sky. This jagged effect caused by the right-angled edge again works excellently to suggest rough terrain, The sense of distance I think also lends it a sense of solitude, perhaps something that could be enhanced by a silhouette of a person in the distance, something I noted was present in both of the designs the client showed me earlier on in this project.

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To finish with the cloud brushes, I turned my attention to just using the clouds textures in the style they were designed for. so I created a grey background, and then clicked once to impose a cloud image onto the cover. At the time the foreground colour was only a pale blue, but this can be altered. As the client liked the sky/cloud theme expressed on the business card, I can see a potential development to the business card, where the front makes use of a background seen here, albeit in a colour scheme to match what I have already designed.

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As a final random experiment I wanted to trial out a space background. The reason I did this was because I want to add to the range of options I will present to the client. Here you can see I have added coloured planets into the scene, as well as different sized stars in order to give a visual perspective to the piece. Because I know the client is a fan of pastel colours, I added these colours to the planets as well as a couple of faint gas clouds to save the black from being overly dominant.

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Something I have also sent to the client to consider is a pair of gig posters designed by DKNG for Dave Matthews Band (whose website is also worth a look as it is designed extremely well in my opinion). I saw this while looking on the Creative Bloq, as I often do as I find it a great source of inspiration and knowledge to improve my skills. This is something I saw that I really think is a great piece of design, and I also think may be to the interest of the client. If the client would like this style, then I will ask him what he wants to appear in the scene, then I can get on and make it, asking for feedback along the way. Or it may be that he would just like to see one of the colour schemes adopted.

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Now I am just waiting on a response from the client, which will allow me to progress with this project. Should the client pick a design or designs they would like to see developed, then I shall develop it, and as I stated at the beginning of this post, ensure the logo and business card ties in with this as well. That will be covered in my next blog post though.

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