CD album artwork and design: The process

This is the design process I use when working with bands on their album artwork and design.

  1. Design brief: Send questionnaire/chat to the band.
  2. Research & reference: Research the genre, its history, the bands peers and artworks that have been mentioned by the band as influential, listen to the new album/rough cuts if they are available .
  3. Sketching & conceptualizing: Develop the cover design concept(s).
  4. Reflection: Take breaks through the design process and let the ideas develop. Get feedback from the band.
  5. Presentation: Hand over the cover design and rock out to the new CD when it arrives!

Step one:

Most projects start with a discussion with the band members about any ideas and concepts they have. Then I try to gather some keywords, influences and work they’ve already seen.

Conversations usually start and revolve around these planed standard questions:

  • Your Band name – should be dominating  the design and concept?
  • Album name – if required?
  • Please provide a little information about  your band
  • Key words that describe your band – eg. Metal, rock, indie, gore, fast, heavy, melodic etc
  • What do you like/dislike – bands, films, books, games?
  • Who are your peers in the same field please give links if possible?
  • “Look and feel” required such as horror/surreal/old/grungy/clean/mimimal/fun?
  • Any definite ideas you have about the design concept + examples of album artwork design you like/dislike (links if possible)?
  • Who is your Target audience?
  • Colour preferences if any. Should the album art be single colour/two colour/full colour/no specific preference?
  • Any other information you would like to add?

Step two:

Once we have had a chat and got the questions answered I relax, think it over and chill with some of the bands music where possible. I use this time to think up ideas/concepts and how and what I’ll need to create the design.

Then I begin collecting parts and bringing together photography, textures, found objects that may help from my extensive collection of stock imagery. (I nearly always have my camera with me on the off chance I see some interesting texture, object or element I may find useful on your/future projects.)

Step three:

I then play with ideas and rough sketch’s discovering what works and build up a couple of design ideas using key elements I think would be useful and communicate the overall concept.

After getting some more feedback from my collected ideas, I start the actual design. This part of the process can be fast or slow it really is the unpredictable part of the creation, happy accidents leading paths to new elements are always fun and can take a project to a new level of creativity.

Step four:

I take a few breaks through the creation process to let ideas develop. I get more feedback from the band and finish up the design.

Step five:

I then send off the cover design and rock out to the new CD when it arrives!

Job done!


Contact ASYLUMseventy7 with your creative album artwork needs now!


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