I gave a written assignment, to my students in Drawing for Graphics class, to write a paper about my blog posts on Vinyl Album covers. Below are two of the student papers.
Graphic design has a much to do with images as it does with type. Looking at the Vinyl covers John Dyess posted on his blog I found that they also relate a lot with type. The placement of words as well as the font that was used is a big part of the design. The images on the covers are very modern focusing a lot on shape and expression of emotion. Taking Graphic design here at Meramec Community College has taught me a lot. I use to think it was easy but now I now there is a lot of thought put in. I can tell that there was lots of thought and skills put into those album covers. The album Subliminal sounds uses color wisely and sparingly. The choice to make the text white and background black was really nice and I feel like it helped set it apart from the other albums. I felt like there were just as many photos as there were illustrations I liked that variety.
I have always felt like Album covers where a great expression of art. The covers were big and stood out unlike more of the CD covers we have today.
Nowadays it seems like all covers are just pictures of the artist. I wish more were paintings and abstract. The ones that are left to the viewers interpertaion allow for the listener to interpert the music however they like. Someone might see a cover has happy while another sees it as sad. But with CD nowadays everyone just sees who made it and It leaves less for the imagination.
Miles Davis Jazz Track is the album I kept coming back to look at. It has a wild design and is very abstract. To me it looks like a monster with a hand coming out of it’s mouth with fire around. It being so abstract I have trouble finding something I dislike about it. Maybe they could have used a wider range of colors? I am not sure. There are probably people out there that don’t like it because it is so abstract but I really like the feel it gives off. Makes me want to check the album out to see what the music must be like.
Saul Bass is very much a modern artist. I could tell from looking at his work that he plays a lot with color, text, and simplism. His artwork has a clean sleek look about it. But the colors are what I like the most. He uses bold whole colors that stand out. The figures he uses are abstract and the text looks like it is well thought out. I really enjoy his style and find it very refreshing and modern.
When thinking of vintage album covers, I associate such and aesthetic with a certain minimalistic elegance. In fact, I often find myself drawing inspiration from album covers of the past in my own designs. Muted colors, even gutters, and sans serif typefaces are examples of design elements from my own work that I see on countless covers of some of my favorite old records. One particular album that comes to mind is “Jazz Goes To College” by The Dave Brubeck Quartet. The design features a modular grid of photos, some of which are layered with an orange tint that matches the color of the type on the cover.
Classic album cover design is still prevalent in today’s music industry. Many typefaces, color palettes, and layout elements are being used in recent years that share the same roots as their classic predecessors. For example, The Black Keys’ 2010 release “Brothers” pays homage to The Beach Boys’ 1966 album “Pet Sounds” through its use of the classic Cooper Black typeface. The Foxboro Hot Tubs record “Stop Drop and Roll!” is strongly influenced by rock and roll records of the 1950’s and 60’s. The top of the record features a label reading “Stereo” and at the bottom boasts, “This is a newly recorded high fidelity record!” While stereo recording has been industry standard for many years, the design reminisces on a time when high fidelity recording was considered a new and innovative technology. The hand drawn typography on the record is very playful and seems to be strongly influenced by the typography of Brian Wilson’s “SMiLE”.
Such examples are only the tip of the iceberg when discussing the impact that vintage album cover design has had on design as whole. Iconic albums of the 50’s and 60’s, particularly in the genres jazz and rock and roll have set standards to which many designers, myself included, continue to work