Music Monday: Album Artwork

Nov 18, 2013

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Judging an Album by its Cover

A couple of Music Mondays ago, I wrote a post called “Band-ing and Branding” in which I talked about how important it is for bands and businesses alike to create an image or a culture around their music/product. One huge aspect of this for musicians is album artwork. It’s a perfect opportunity for them to put a visual theme with their sound and give people something to remember them by visually. Some bands choose to use a recurring element to make it more memorable and to give fans something to identify themselves with (i.e. Van Halen fans wearing red shirts with black and white stripes to announce to the world that they are V.H. diehards). This year we’ve had a few standouts that I’d like to mention:

John Mayer: As an artist who prides himself on his ability to take on new musical ventures, Mayer fully invests himself in his projects. This is a guy who started out as a pop-rock loverboy, eventually taking on the world of blues (and conquering it, I might add), and finally ending up playing folk-inspired singer/songwriter tunes and dressed as a half Cherokee park ranger. Through each of these transitions, album artwork played a key role, moving from candid “profile pics” to the crisp, cool look of the word “CONTINUUM”. This year’s “Paradise Valley” boasts a shot of Chief John and his dog standing in a field in the middle of nowhere.

Disclosure: These brothers from Surrey, England have only been putting out music for 2 or 3 years, but they have already set themselves up for huge success in marketing their music. Most, if not all, of the faces on album covers, band photos, and other images have a matching, lightning white outline. This look is now going to be a “thing” among fans and a way to associate themselves with the band. Disclosure will likely be recognized for their outlined faces even before they are recognized for their music.

Daft Punk: It’s hard to look at a motorcycle helmet these days and not think of this French duo and their progressive dance-pop. Their latest album “Random Access Memories” displays the futuristic helmets worn by the band, which have been so consistently used one must wonder if the two have ever been seen without them. Thanks to the album art and the consistency, Daft Punk fans are some of the most enthusiastic about expressing their support and are incredibly easy to pick out of a crowd.

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