Album Cover Brief – Vinyl Research

Popped into HMV the other day to pick up a couple of recent albums on vinyl, as both research for our new ‘design an 12inch or 7inch cover for an album of your choice’ brief and because I recently acquired a USB turntable for the computer, and wanted to try it out – to my horror I discovered that HMV (in wrexham at least) no longer supply vinyl! So instead I went to Moonlight Records and got lost in the back room for about an hour, digging through old cheese and classic rock. Spent far too much, but got some good results:

First up: Breakfast In America by Supertramp – this one always comes up in lists of impressive record sleeve designs, and with the manhattan skyline in the background of the image made up entirely of breakfast bits, I can see why – but for me it was the interior that sold it as a design, with the track names and lyrics made up to look like meals on a menu – very clever 🙂

Next is School’s Out by Alice Cooper – This one caught my eye because it’s been made up to look like a school kid’s desk – The outside looks like it’s been carved into and doodled on during a boring maths lesson, and the inside looks like it’s full of homework and everyday school related crap – it’s this disguising one thing as another that really holds my interest, and something I want to incorporate into my own design.

The Designs on Never For Ever by Kate Bush are beautiful, and really capture the zany, fairytale like aspect of Kate Bush’s music – other than the actual illustrations themselves, what I also like about this design is the fact that the characters break through into the interior, ripping holes in the track lyrics, and I love that sort of thing (I think it’s known as breaking the forth wall) – also the back features Kate as some sort of bat-creature, which is appropriate, as I’m sure she was probably solely responsible for the creation of the phrase ‘bat-shit crazy’ 😛

News Of The World by Queen – not only was this a personal indulgence (I’ve been a Queen fan since the age of 7) but the illustration is awesome – both the exterior and interior illustration are full page, and go over both sides to fold into huge pictures depicting this weird sci-fi/horror scene – the massive, rock destroying metal man is so fantastically over the top, it’s definitely very Queen.

Duke by Genesis has gone for a different approach, with illustrations more akin to those you’d find within a children’s book. I’m not sure exactly what the image on the back is supposed to be, but I really like the style used here, and especially  the little illustrations dotted throughout the track listings – very cute

Little Creatures by Talking Heads has a crazily detailed illustration on the front, and the campest costumes I’ve ever seen adorning the band members on the back… suffice to say, with so much colour hitting my eyes all at once I went a little magpie and just had to have it for myself. I like the hand-type, but there’s so much else going on, I’ll have to study it in detail and get back to you. As for the album itself – haven’t listened to it yet; i know I like Road To Nowhere, but I have a sneaking feeling Talking Heads did a song that featured two clowns hitting each other in the face to simulate a drum beat in a video that I HATED, so it doesn’t look good.

A Kind Of Magic by Queen – This album design was lifted straight out of the video for the song of the same name, but while it looses points for originality, I really like this over exaggerated cartoony style – it’s quite similar to my own – the weird neon colours work well too, they date it a bit though I suppose – nothing says the 80’s like a pastel-coloured, shoulder-padded jacket.

Change by The Alarm – Never heard of this band, but the album cover caught my attention as because the band’s name is cut out, you can see the design on the record sleeve underneath – meaning you can change it to being black and white on the front, and colour on the back if you so wish, and it’s this sort of consumer interaction that I want to incorporate into my own design. Also, it came with a free single, and I love getting sumffin for nuffin 🙂


About christofurr

I am an Illustrator currently in the third and final year of an Illustration For Graphic Novels course at Glyndwr University, Wrexham (UK). I do all kinds of commission work, from poster to portraits. Fell free to have a nose around this blog and any of my other sites - be warned, Twitter updates may be totally and completely irrelevant and naughty - and please feel free to contact my email address with any queries about my work :)

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