November 3, 2012. .
Supertramp - Breakfast In America
A&M Records 1979
Design & Art Direction by Mike Doud
Design by Mick Haggerty
Photography by Aaron Rapoport
The rough idea for this iconic album design was the bands. They wanted something that represented the upheaval and change they had all gone through when they relocated from Britain to Hollywood in search of greater fame and fortune in 1977. Supertramp's John Helliwell explains:
"Mike Doud's realisation of the cover expressed with wry humour the group's mental and physical place at the time. Although the title song was written years before we went to the US, the imagery appealed to us, living in the "Land of Dream and Ambition". The image of flying into New York, substituting the English transport café for the friendly diner. We were growing up in a materialised world and had begun some spiritual searchings. It all came together in our music."
Mike Doud, Art Director
October 30, 2012. .
When we formed Simply Marvellous Music, it was to offer musicians, or their representatives, all of the creative services that they might require from under one roof - one point of contact saving trouble and time.
One of the first to recognise the benefits of using us as their full service creative agency was Tom Rose, MD at Reveal Records, who was impressed by the work that we'd created for Boo Hewerdine's State of the Union project. He asked if we would be interested in creating a new website for Reveal. We jumped at the chance.
After that Tom was soon commissioning us to do work for Reveal's roster of artists including critically acclaimed and three times BBC Folk Award winners, Lau.
Since the beginning of the year we have created for the trio:
- cd artwork (promos, digipacks & a deluxe book)
October 15, 2012. .
Bliss - Loveprayer
Design by Stylorouge
Photography by The Douglas Brothers
This time round I want to write about a sleeve design that is one of my personal favourites, one that, as a teenager, was probably the most responsible for my deciding a career in graphic design, and especially in design for music, was the one for me.
Loveprayer was released at a time when most of the music I listened to had a sleeve designed by the same company - Stylorouge in London. All About Eve's debut is another that springs to mind.
With it's autumnal colouring, the sleeve for Loveprayer is so full of details that it is one that can be looked at again and again, noticing new things each time. It looks like it is a collection of memories and given that I seem to remember that singer, Rachel Morrison, had lost her mother shortly before the
July 24, 2012. .
Björk - Post
One Little Indian, 1995
Design by Paul White at Me Company
Photography by Stéphane Sednaoui
It's not often that an album cover featuring the artist's portrait falls under the category of great design but Björk's certainly do and especially her second album Post from 1995. The expression on her face seems to show fear or sadness and when you learn that the theme behind much of the album, and the basis behind the album's design, was her longing to be back in Iceland with her family, then you realise that probably is the case. The airmail edging on the jacket isn't just there for fun but also indicate that the singer wanted to post herself home.
Being in London and further during the recording of the album, Björk would write letters everyday to her family and this was discussed with Paul White of Me Company when the time came
July 12, 2012. .
(originally posted 28th May 2012)
Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon
EMI Harvest 1973
Design by Hipgnosis with George Hardie
Back in the early 70s, when a band told a record company that they were hiring their own designers to create the artwork for their new album, that record company was sure to be nervous especially when the band's previous sleeves had featured a cow, trippy, abstract photographic montages and often didn't feature the band name or album title.
Then again, when the band was shifting as many albums as Pink Floyd, what could EMI do but accept what ever was presented?
The agency commissioned to carry out the design were Hipgnosis who had also been responsible for Pink Floyd's previous albums Saucerful of Secrets (1968) and Atom Heart Mother (1970) as well as many of the most memorable, eye-catching and controversial sleeves of the 60s and 70s. The brief for Dark Side
July 12, 2012. .
(originally posted 9th May 2012)
The Beatles - Abbey Road
Design by Kosh
Photography by Iain MacMillan
Does the fact that a record sleeve is internationally recognised and has been impersonated several times make it a great design? Does a sleeve become so famous or parodied because it is such a great design? Quite often the answer is yes but then I think of Michael Jackson's Thriller and realise that it isn't always the case.
But Abbey Road? Famous? Check! Parodied? Check! Great design? Absolutely!
The album was the bands attempt to make a back to basics record - pure and simple. The concept behind the album sleeve was a simple one too: four men walking to work. The men just happened to be four of the most famous men on the planet and work was just Abbey Road studios. In fact it turns out the band are actually walking away from the studio
July 12, 2012. .
(originally posted 29th April 2011)
World Party - Goodbye Jumbo
Design by Karl Wallinger & Michael Nash Associates
Photography by Steve Wallace
Elephant Ears by Edward Durdey.
Listening to World Party's 1990 classic, Goodbye Jumbo, it's obvious that the band's leader, Karl Wallinger, was going through the most Beatles inspired period of his career. It's fitting then that the cover of the album seems to take some inspiration from Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band while the inner sleeve features a very deliberate pastiche of the poster from "The White Album" created by pop-artist, Richard Hamilton. In fact the main inspiration for the concept behind the artwork came from a photograph of Tim Buckley.
The theme behind many of the songs on Goodbye Jumbo was the environment. Wallinger was one of the first musicians to campaign on behalf of Green politics and Friends Of The Earth before the turn of the millenium saw
July 12, 2012. .
(originally posted 14th December 2011)
Fairport Convention - Unhalfbricking
Design by Diogenic Attempts Ltd
Photography by Eric Hayes.
Up until the late Sixties, where there was a picture cover, it would normally have featured a portrait of the musicians, the acts name and album title positioned quite prominently. But then something of a revolution began to take place and, thanks to the likes of The Beatles and the Rolling Stones, more creative ideas ideas started to appear.
Should a portrait of the artist adorn their album covers or not? The argument has been waged for years. Many self conscious acts refuse to allow their face anywhere near the sleeve while others, most notably the more mainstream pop acts, don't seem to mind too much
It was the style of Island Records' releases at the time for their acts name and album title not to appear on their sleeves, choosing instead just their logo and
July 12, 2012. .
(originally posted 28th November 2011)
Eg & Alice - 24 Years Of Hunger
Design by Michael-Nash Associates
Photography by Andrew MacPherson
Why do I love this album sleeve so much? I have to admit that I am prejudiced slightly by the fact that it is my of all my all-time favourite records. But, there is more to it than that...
The album came out in 1991. Eg White and Alice Temple recorded it in Eg's flat but despite that (or maybe because of that) the music is flawless, beautiful pop; lyrically stunning. For this reason, the sleeve didn't need to be anything over the top. For publicity shy Temple and White, it was the music that had to do all the hard work here.
Shot by London-born photographer Andrew MacPherson, the same two photos not only graced the back and front of 24 Years Of Hunger but the two singles (Indian and Doesn't Mean
July 12, 2012. .
(originally posted 1st November 2011)
Donald Byrd - A New Perspective
Blue Note, 1963
Design & Photography by Reid Miles
I have to be honest and say that I don't know anything about Donald Byrd and I hadn't heard any of this music from this album until I was researching this post. I had to include it in my list of Great Album Covers though because, well, it just is.
It is a typical Blue Note album cover and that's because from the early 1950's until 1967, all Blue Note's sleeves were designed by one man: Reid Miles. In total, Miles designed around 500 sleeves for the label and everyone had the Miles look - clean designs, big typography and primary colours - a look that was, and actually, probably still is, the epitome of cool. It's also probably true to say that no other label has ever created such a distinctive style for