Music – Album cover feedback

After the last post, where I spoke about creating a set of proposals for the album covers, I received a response from the client:

“The first design was my favourite, and the other ones like it that were made out of the larger rectangles, one thing however was that they were a little bit too transparent, and the edges were faded, I guess that’s because it was scanned in?, but no if the first one was a little bit bolder and less transparent it would be cool… and the final album cover for the Dave Matthews band looked awesome, if you could use a similar colour scheme to either of them with the white text on the album cover design that would be great, because they’re kind of brightly coloured but also calm at the same time.” 

So here is the first design I presented to him:

1 As for the development of the piece, it will be relatively easy to make the piece bolder and to draft in a new colour scheme.

However, part of using the cloud brush does mean there is a great deal of transparency involved and with the edges being the way they are, this is impossible to avoid. To deal with this, I will first look into increasing my knowledge on brushes as I know I can make my own, so I may be able to make something to give the effect the client wishes to see.


Making it bolder: This was the first issue I wanted to address, there are various methods I looked into and tried, such as using the Vibrancy Tool on the image, which worked well when the album cover was saved as an image, and I also tried a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer but that did not work. I also tried editing the Saturation of the layer, which gave the following result:

Saturation edit

Changing the colour scheme: Again, I experimented with a couple of methods, one being to control the colours using the Hue Jitter and selecting appropriate Foreground and Background colours before brushing, but this never worked very well. The method I did try was to add a Gradient Fill adjustment layer to the piece, and trying all the blending modes to get an effect I think works well. The one in the end that worked very well was Color, which gave the following result, which personally I think looks stunning:

Changing colour scheme

There is also the potential now of changing the gradient to whatever the client wants, which has added some flexibility to the design again.

Making it less transparent: This is the main issue without a doubt. I knew this would not be an easy fix due to the transparency being an inherent feature. I did some research into brushes and found that when brushes are created, they are stored in grayscale, so when you use the brush, no matter what the colour, everything totally black is opaque, everything totally white is transparent, and the shades of grey are the in-between levels of translucency.

So my first experiment was with a brush that was just off being total black. (CMYK 67,61,60,81) This was made by overlaying the original cloud brush to increase the darkness of it and positioning to make it a larger brush. Then, I created a design with the colour scheme to see what effect I would get trialling different opacities just to let a bit of translucency in:

Screen Shot 2013-01-19 at 10.57.06

This worked reasonably well, but the cloud brush was giving really noticeable faded edges, which the client had asked not to be there so ultimately would not be right. It was also not transparent enough, as being fully opaque did not help the design.

Interim Brush

So then I made another brush, coloured in a dark grey (CMYK 0,0,0,80), but used the soft brush tool instead of the cloud one and brushed the shape I needed. So then I trialled that by creating another couple of designs, both experimenting with the amount of brushes needed to create a good design. I have also added in the Broken Method type in the centre of the album cover, as at the moment I think that will be the best place for it to be.

New brush

The result that this has given is very good I think, and will be preferred by the client. I am also pleased to see that the type works well on the front in the Bebas Neue typeface, as it is not lost against the background. I feel the colour scheme certainly creates a bright, but calming effect as the client was hoping for.Screen Shot 2013-01-16 at 14.42.54 Screen Shot 2013-01-16 at 15.27.16

I shall now take this to an interim crit where I will get feedback on all of the designs I have created so far and see where that takes me. I may then also make some changes if necessary, before I show the client again and see what he thinks. Hopefully the feedback will be positive, and I can spin this into creating a full CD sleeve and CD label for the client, to go with the business card and logo.


One thought on “Music – Album cover feedback

  1. Stunning, Alex! I’d certainly be attracted to a cover like that and wonder what the music was like.

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