A short break from blogging over the Easter break, but plenty of work done on the CD design. I spent a good deal of time exploring variations on the three themes Jon favoured from the original six. This development focussed on the use of the monoprint image, colour, and type. The image below shows many of the design stages and variations and can be viewed a bit larger if you click on it.
Obviously, I wasn’t going to show Jon all of these, but I worked them up a little more for the sake of the blog (oh, the lengths I go to!) and needed to edit these down to three or four, which is much harder than it sounds. In the end, I decided to present three designs, with two further variations on one of them:
Top left, selected for the impact of the printed colour field background, whose yellow was originally sampled from a Herbie Hancock record sleeve, against the much smaller figure, giving the impression of solitude or introspection. The typeface (Pagan Poetry) was used to add a soft geometric edge to contrast the printed imagery. It has a ‘book cover’ quality that I thought would appeal to Jon.
Top right was a departure from the original design, with added texture layers and the second print portrait worked into the background. The colours came about partly through experimentation with transparent blues and yellows, and the serendipity of a random photograph that I rediscovered (hidden in a folder named ‘odd stuff’. Every designer should have these – just random stuff you like or think might be useful – the graphic designers version of the kitchen drawer – you know the one; full of odds and ends, paper bags and assorted bits of things that have been broken off things and never reunited with their original parts…) Anyway, this photo is a partially obscured old photo with a very warm cast that eventually gave the design its grey-green, mouldy, distressed colouring. (I’ll go through the Photoshop layers next time) The text is a heavily expanded display face called Millhouse, based on the Honda typeface, and is geometrically aligned vertically and horizontally to add a structural dynamic to the overall composition. The bottom row shows three versions of the third design. From left, the simplest, two colour version, using one monoprint image heavily cropped to head and shoulders and incorporating the title reversed out from the textured background with Jons’ name asymmetrically aligned in the bottom margin. The type is a slightly out of kilter sans serif face called Shag Lounge. The middle version picks out the type in white and has the second image blended into the background. The original dark line was used over the full red background. The last version is a combination of both. I was undecided as to which of the three to present, and in the end decided to show all three as they each had merits I felt that Jon would identify.
Having explored the sleevenotes and lyrics to gauge how the space would likely be utilised and found that the amount of lyrics (13 songs in all) will dominate any design, especially if composed in standard lyric format. I investigated a number of typefaces/sizes in this layout and found I could get down to 6pt in some places whilst retaining very good legibility. This was done black on white and did not account for the possibilities of background colours/textures etc. As the design direction hadn’t yet been decided upon, this was something I’d have to deal with later.
Even at these small sizes, the standard verse/chorus/verse layout would still use up most of the seven available pages, so I decided to pitch another layout style in, than bunched up the lyrics in a continuous block, negating the need for lots of additional surrounding space. This will release further space, but I’m not sure about how Jon will respond to this, having his lyrics reduced and processed to fit a design, but I’ll pitch it and see. I formatted a couple of pages into continuous text and experimented with slashes, points and various other methods of separation:
Monday 20 April Pitched the three designs to Jon, who very quickly ruled out the predominately yellow ‘booky’ design. I misjudged that one. The three variations were discussed at length and were neither discounted nor jumped upon, but the green/grey design was given a unanimous approval and any further discussion was rendered futile. I then discussed the typographic treatments for the sleevenotes, and Jon, again, to my surprise, opted for the continuous block lyrics, using vertical slashes to separate each line. The text typeface for the design will be Officina Serif. Job Done. Now to get on with putting this together and making the design work beyond the cover…
As the job is completed I will be evaluating the process from a designers perspective and reflecting upon the decisions made throughout the project. I am hoping that Jon will give me some feedback from his perspective too.