Tag Archives: album covers

Central Station

The design work of Peter Saville is synonymous with the output of legendary record label Factory, but his work is only part of the story. The covers that Central Station designed for The Happy Mondays encapsulate the bands heady, trippy, go for broke attitude and seem the antithesis of the cool refinement that Saville was producing at the time. The Creative Review site has an interesting look back and interview with Central Station (still going strong) discussing their work and influences here.

Recent Surfing Highlights 12

More discussion on the topic of the incredible shrinking album cover, readjusting for the digital world.

Sgt Peppers by the Beatles turns 40 this year, this is an interesting article discussing the creation of one of the most influential album covers ever.

Another year, another global Art Directors Awards, you can see who picked up the gongs here.

The art of the hand painted Hollywood movie poster from Belarus, can you guess what film they’re advertsising?

Recently, my girlfriend’s brother’s apartment was ‘annexed’ by a small furry ‘Kitler’, currently he’s sitting at number three on ‘Cats That Look Like Hitler’s’ website. Vote here to get him to number one!

Myspace is your space

As I mentioned in the previous post, I now have a Myspace page, for myself and this blog. There probably won’t be much there that I won’t already post here, of interest to some might be a slideshow of some of the CD covers I have designed, other than that, you can see what bands, books and films I like, and check out my friends section to discover some great Adelaide bands. If you have your own Myspace page please introduce yourself over on mine and add me as a friend. You can check it out here.

Recent Surfing Highlights 12

A collection of ‘the greatest album covers from the 70s’ as selected by a panel of distinguished art directors, designers, photographers and editors in a 1991 issue of Rolling Stone magazine. Not too many arguments over the selection.

I love me some Mambo gear, one of the few companies that have been able over the years to portray an Australian perspective in art and design. They have a new site up, and as is to be expected, it’s great.

Why design goes wrong, find out here why it all so often goes pear shaped.

And on a similar note, the top ten things they didn’t teach you in design school here. I could probably add a few things.

The Adelaide Art Directors had their awards ceremony the other night, as usual, some nice work from design firms Parallax and Black Squid weren’t enough to perk up a pretty lacklustre collection, especially from the advertsing side. Judge for yourself and download the ‘winners’ catalogue.

An Australian icon, the Sydney Opera house has had a rebrand courtesy of that clever English chappy Vince Frost.

Clever cat catches the bus daily to the local fish and chip shop. Your cat wants Whiting with minimum chips.

Real World, Real Cover Changes

A couple of weeks ago I got myself out and about to a weekend of beautiful music and amazing atmosphere at Adelaide’s now annual Womad Festival. Now I loves me some World Music, this from possibly the whitest guy in Adelaide! Anyway, as usual at the event, it’s not long after being blown away by whatever throat singers or fife players are on this years bill, until I find myself at the onsite music retailer, flicking through the albums of the various performers. It was while perusing that I came across the latest release from Chinese performer Guo Yue, who was usually released through Real World Records, looking at the cover my immediate assumption was that this was no longer the case.

A little background information for the uninitiated. Real World Records was established by performert Peter Gabriel to provide talented artists from around the world with access to state-of-the-art recording facilities and to publicise them to an audience beyond their immediate geographic region. This was a fantastic idea, and a rare example of someone who was famous and wealthy actually using that fame and wealth to do something interesting and worthwhile. What drew me originally to Real World’s albums was a singular and beautiful tratment to their cover designs. Whether the cover featured a stunning portrait of the perfomer or, more often, an abstract representation of the music, they all shared one feature. The covers featured neither artist and album title credit. This was a brilliant and subtle house style, what better way to emphasise that the music crosses geographic, cultural and language barriers than to feature no type on the front at all?

So the thing that surprised me about the latest Guo Yue release? It has the artist’s name and album title (in English) on the front. When I went to the Real Word site, I discovered this wasn’t a one off anomoly, all of their latest releases were the same. It’s interesting to perhaps speculate on how this change in house style may have come about, though it’s probably nothing more interesting than a demand from suppliers and artists themselves for better recognition on the packaging.

To me it feels like a great loss to the oft-times pretty boring music design landscape. The CD designs themselves are still ok, but they have now somehow lost that original allure and mystery to be discovered in the music beyond the cover. I’ve gathered a gallery of some of my favourite covers through the years here. You can check out their latest releases in their catalogue if you want to compare.