Thursday, March 5, 2009

Those Creative types: album cover designers

Typical size of a Vinyl LP jacket: 12 x 12 inches
Typical size of a CD jewel case: 5.5 x 5.5 inches
Typical size of an thumbnail on the pages of iTune: 2 x 2 mm, if that

LP jackets offered artists a decent size canv
as for their artwork. That, together with the close connection between art and music, and it's no wonder even famous artists have been drawn to designing for album covers: Andy Warhol, for example. Cover album art, in fact, took on a life of its own and you can even find coffee table books on the worst/best/most famous album covers over the years.

But can you imagine the cover of Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band shrunk to the size of a CD jewel box?

All the details are lost. We're not even talking about an icon on the iTunes page.

What is a cover album artist to do? Lament? Tear out hair? Start a movement to change the music medium back to Vinyls? Throw his hands up and say he'll get his artistic fix by posting his album cover ideas on a blog?

I am sure some do. But those who need work and can keep an open mind adapt. If you look at the new designs, most of them take on the style of a logo so that they mae a statement as boldly as they can in their diminutive sizes.

E-books, self-publishing, people shifting online in their reading habits: what is a writer to do? Keep abreast of developments in the industry, confusing and chaotic though they may be. Stay open to new possibilities instead of mourning the death of something we know and understand and love. Adapt and survive.

And write, I guess.


a. fortis said...

I used to want to do album or book cover art, when I was younger. That was before I knew about the wide gulf between fine art and commercial art--I think it was a lot easier in Warhol's day to cross back and forth between those realms.

I guess today, the difference is between artist and designer. You could be an artist and have a band want to use your work for their album cover (and I especially am thinking of Peter Gabriel, who uses a lot of artists' work in his CD inserts) but that would be totally separate from being the designer...

Great food for thought!

Yat-Yee said...

Seems to me you have what it takes to pursue that ave if you so choose. Don't you think sometimes division of labor has gone out of control?

I've always loved art (as much as music and books) but never imagined myself an artist. I did go through of period of wondering about being a designer: book cover, household utensils, fashion.