One of my favorite things to create, and what actually started this business, is album covers. I love getting to visually communicate the story of a song or album through graphic design.
To best show you the process for my custom cover art, I thought we could look at one of my favorite projects, the cover design for the song I Never Knew by Brent Crowe. This project is special to me because I got an inside look at the process of this song starting from a rough idea to a fully finished project, and I got to be a small part of the life changing process that this song is about.
With any album/single cover design project, the first thing I do is a consultation call. This is my chance to get to know the artist, hear about the song, get some of the behind the scenes details, and then try to establish the vibe for the cover design. A big thing that I ask of my clients is to be able to hear the song, so I can really get to know it, its vibe, and draw inspiration from it for the cover as well. Once we know this is a good fit for both of us, I move on to the concept phase.
The concept phase can be the hardest part of the process, but it’s also the most fun. I always come up with two different concepts for my clients, one is usually using an idea from the artist, and then I work up my interpretation of the song/album. With this project the artist didn’t have a specific idea for the cover art, so I had free rein with my ideas. The song itself is about beauty being made out of or found in brokenness, and I wanted to visually represent that.
The art of Kintsugi is repairing broken pottery using a lacquer dusted with gold. The ideas is not to hide the brokenness of the object, but to use it to highlight the history of the piece. In some instances pieces that have been repaired in this method are considered more valuable than before they were broken. I had only recently learned about this ancient practice, but it was the perfect fit for the theme of this song. Both my concepts centered around this idea, and the winning concept came from this image, can you believe anyone would say yes to a concept by justing seeing this sketch?!?!? Thank you Brent for trusting me and going with this option!
This is where the real fun begins! Making a sketch or concept come to life is not an easy process, but I love the challenge in it. With this design I decided to get hands on. It took me a while to find the right piece for this project, because I wanted something simple, but not too simple. I had to paint the vase black because I wanted the gold to really pop on it, and for it to stand out from the white/grayish background.
I set up for the photoshoot in my garage, and though it wasn't ideal, sometimes you do your best with what you have. Here is the best photo I have from the shoot (image to the left).. There were multiple steps in the shoot, I had to get photos of the vase unbroken, shots of it with the “gold” Kintisugi lines, and then I got to break the vase! There is a video on my website where you can see this process. Once I had all the shots, it was time to get into photoshop and make this come to life. I won’t go into all the boring details, but below is the finished product.
All my projects get two separate rounds of revisions, to make any changes that the artist or client wants to see differently. On this project it was just a matter of getting the text right. Final Approval
This is the finish line. Once I get the final approval from the client that the design is perfect,
that’s when the final invoice goes out and the finalized files for the project get sent out once that’s received. A lot of work happens between that first call and the final approval, but its one of my favorite jobs to work
Every project is a little different, but in the end they are all pretty similar. Do you have a project that you are working on, but don’t have the cover for it figured out…? Let me help, I can focus on what I do best, and you can focus on putting all your effort into making that song or album the best it can be!! Use the form at the bottom of the page to reach out and get more info.