Tuesday, July 29, 2008

CD cover: Loose Kaynon

The cover for Loose Kaynon was a challenge. His management asked me to do a cover design that displayed a blend of African and Western cultures while having influences from pop rock, rap, R&B, and "a bit of down south hip hop". It also had to avoid any hiphop design cliches and be totally original while pitching him as not only a top-flight rapper but also a "ladies man".

I had no idea how to work all that into a design, so I put a blue splatter behind him and it worked just fine.

Monday, July 28, 2008

CD cover: The Safe Harbour

The Safe Harbour, a band from southern England, asked me to give them a very "goth/emo" album cover. The one they chose is below; it was fun to do, even though it doesn't match their musical style whatsoever!

Friday, July 25, 2008

CD covers: PRX

PRX, the Public Radio Exchange, asked if I'd do not just one, but ten albums in their new digital release lineup. This ended up being a lot less work than it sounded like at first, because they already had a new corporate identity and lots of Illustrator art to work with. Once they approved my basic layout, I was able to bust the other 9 out in an afternoon. They got a sizable discount for bulk and for being awesome people to work with. I hope they need more work in the future... these guys are dream clients.

CD client: Nektarios

Electronica artist Nektarios needed the art for his debut iTunes single as soon as possible; I had to turn his design around in a day or so to make his deadline. After a lot of rapid-fire back and forth (and one of the most difficult masking jobs I've ever done on the girl on the right, who was photographed against a green shrub), here's the end product:

He was happy enough with the final design that he asked if I could turn around a logo design for his record label by the next day, as well. Yep!

Monday, July 21, 2008

CD covers: simple ones

Sometimes a client's got a very simple cover in mind, and for iTunes, these are sometimes the best, anyway. A simple design in a tiny space can be really effective.

Lyrikal - "Here's my photo. I like silver and black."

The Precisions - "How about an mp3 player next to a jukebox?"

Scott Zartman - "I like this photo..."

Sunday, July 20, 2008

CD cover: Ghazelles

The Ghazelles had a very simple request for their cover design: a gazelle being kicked in the face by a man doing a flying karate kick.

Can do!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

CD cover: T.O.B.I.A.S.

A hiphop musician named T.O.B.I.A.S. asked for his album cover to be "something simple and good" that would play on the album title, Magyver (sic)-- "like music equipment, mics, speakers and stuff".

He sent this photo to use, which had a great background and lighting, but was unfortunately out of focus.

I was really stumped with what to do with this. So I started by fiddling with his photo and accidentally applying a Stamp filter to it in Photoshop, which unexpectedly looked great. For the "MacGyver" effect I added some ramshackle clipart of speakers, music equipment, buildings, etc, and gave his name a funky 3D effect. I ended up sending four different concepts, but the first sketch -- the one he chose -- was done within half an hour of opening Photoshop. Sometimes these things just fall together right off the bat.

CD cover: Sully

A musician named Sully asked for his CD cover to have "an image of a bottle of tequila with the full moon behind it" to go with his album Tequila at Night.

Since nothing like that exists on stockphoto sites, I was Photoshop bound. The moon was a cheap stock image and the sky was a cinch to create; luckily my roommate had bought a bottle of Patron tequila recently, so I shot it in my bathroom against a black dress shirt.

But a bottle doesn't just float in space with the full moon behind it, so I had to give it a setting, too. Having no idea what sort of music Sully plays, I figured tequila would go well with a nighttime party setting, but since the bottle and moon (and title) still needed to be the focus, I figured a carpet of sparkling lights surrounded by mountains would look good. So I found this postcard shot of Rio:

Great. Now for lots of compositing work and fiddling with transparency effects. I stuck the bottle on a "table" made of a piece of marble-textured glass.

The result made the client very happy:

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Site update & special offer!

A long-overdue update to my portfolio site (or, at least, the web section of it) went live this morning, featuring actual live websites for a change! I've always said that the thing I love and hate about website design most is its constantly changing nature, and one by one I'd seen huge projects from the past get facelifts -- Crisco, Swiffer, Olay, Folgers -- or, in the case of Home Cafe, vanish overnight. (Actually, the Folgers site is still mostly my design work, but enough's changed that I shouldn't take sole credit anymore.)

In other news, I'm running a design special! for the month of July or so. I'm designing digital album covers for $45 a pop through TuneCore. Check out the special here.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Main Cup signage

Identity & signage for a coffeehouse in Cincinnati. Since this was a historic shopping district, the sign had to conform to local codes and be a specific shape and size, as well as have a "historic" feel to it. The client had some very specific ideas about the design, as well: they wanted the "U" in Cup to have a river flowing out of it, which came from a dream they had. Since they wanted a warm wood background but couldn't afford it, I used a vinyl decal on plastic and went with a sort of saloon-looking design, which they were really happy with. But I didn't see the actual storefront until opening day, and I wish I had, because I think the old-timey western sign looks pretty goofy hung in front of a beautiful vintage '30s storefront. The value of research.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Gilgamesh in Uruk: GI in Iraq

Poster for an independent Cincinnati theatre production (also ads, programs, postcards, etc etc with the same theme). My favorite detail: the shadow under the hand is shaped like Iraq.

A new workblog...

I'm launching this new blog for updates on my design work, ideas, and such. More to come when there's more to say.