Ok, so the cover is done and I promised a look at the layer composition in the last post.
So there you have it. Nice and simple, eh? Well, I’ve been busy applying the style to the other parts of the CD. Jon was happy with the continuous text layout of the lyrics and I set about looking for a natural size and composition. As luck would have it, the lyrics fitted into four equal blocks, and didn’t need much work in the final adjustments to tracking and kerning to get them nicely justified. I don’t often use fully justified text, but this seemed to work well, almost becoming another texture layer. I had Jon carefully read through and check for any errors and omissions before doing the final fitting (there were one or two additional words added and removed, but nothing major). The titles of each track were picked out in a deep red sampled from the cover image, and the text remained black for legibility. I explored red text with white titles (with the outer glow as on the cover) but it lacked the clarity needed to read and digest the format of the continuous text.
I had originally visualised a slightly textured image style, suggesting under-inked print, and this was achieved using parts of a number of monoprint samples reassembled within the image frame, and using the screen blending mode to affect the image, which had been desaturated and adjusted to give a more high contrast effect. Jon had also supplied a photograph of himself and the other musicians, which had been taken on a mobile phone and was poorly lit; harshly from the right, bleaching out the nearest face and leaving the left face without much contrast. Luckily, Jon’s face was ok! Hmm, funny that… When the image was desaturated and made more contrasty, Stef’s face (on the left) became too dark. A little dab or two with the colour dodge tool fixed this, but his face lacks the drama that the other two have. At least you can see him now!
There were two variations in layout for the booklet, one that broke up the text pages with image pages and a second that used the centre spread as image space, breaking the text into two on each side. The second version was much more balanced and adopted as the main composition. You’ll see this properly in the next post.
The inner tray is largely covered when the CD is in place, and is a prime place of the credits and other sleevenotes. The text was fitted into one half of the space the disk would occupy, with only one ore two minor kerning issues, and mirrored with the monoprint portrait of Jon that was used in the background of the cover. This was scaled and positioned to place the body of the guitar into the inner circle where the spindle is. The text and image are only visible when the disc is removed.
The reverse of the tray is also the back of the CD and obviously need a track listing. My first ideas was to echo the type treatment on the cover, and develop it further, adding more colour and the underinking effect, to suggest a playbill style. This developed further into a more structured composition that did not conform to the sequence of the track listing. My thinking here was that the tracks are featured within the booklet in order, so it wasn’t too crucial that the rear listing was.
It was. Jon was concerned about the ‘glancability’ factor, and wanted the lyrics in a more conventional format, citing Health & Safety issues, especially when driving and trying to work out which is the next track! He’s a funny guy. There were few options left with this typeface as it is so expanded, so I devised a simple ranged left list, sized to fit the longest track with extra leading to use the majority of the space available. Two text layers were used to create the texture, one set to hard light, and the second on multiply with a green/grey colour and a low opacity.
The disc on body design was always intended to be black and white, and I envisioned using one of the instrument images shot for the CD. I eventually selected the showdown guitar, particularly one of the cowboy figures, heavily cropped, butt showing the guitar strings:
This was too much of a repeat of the image, which features in the centre spread of the booklet. The other instruments just didn’t work here, so I went back to the monoprints. The cover image had some nice detail in the guitar, so I scaled the image to crop within the disc area. The disc had such great impact that I decided to present this to Jon without the name on. I snuck in the copyright information around the disc, biting it out of the texture with a white glow.
Next post – the finished article, with evaluations from us both… stay tuned.