Taxes: It Never Ends
Originally posted on October 21, 2014
~* A L B U M O F F I C I A L L Y O U T! *~
You can listen to it and buy it here.
Seeing opening bands perform is one of my favorite things (but less so now since i'm going to fewer and fewer shows), because it's so special falling in love with a band for the first time and following their journey. The first time I got to see Taxes was back in October of 2013 in the upstairs room at the DNA lounge, they were fucking opening for Tony Molina and Fucked Up. Although I had never met Taxes and had only listened to them a little bit, we had a mutual friend, so Robby, the frontman from Taxes, managed to get me and the boyfriend on the guest list for that night. It's hard not to talk about how it is still one of my most favorite shows, (the venue size! the crowd! the sweat! the bands!) but believe me, it was really freaking good.
Taxes later reached out to me to design their remixed album, It Never Ends, and I was incredibly excited because although I've made a few band flyers in the past, (my brother was the drummer in the awesome band Fever Sleeves) I had yet to design an album cover. Since, like so many other designers, album covers were one of the main reasons I got into graphic design in the first place (seriously, album art was pinned up all around the red walls of my bedroom), I nearly flipped a table when the opportunity came. Also, album covers play an important role when debating whether you want to listen to a band for the first time.
P R O C E S S
Before I started sketching out or listing any ideas, I needed to listen to the early album tracks that weren't finished being mixed/mastered yet. Since I had seen them live a few times before I was asked to design the album, I knew I was connected with their music and genuinely wanted to make them the best album cover I could. My design process is pretty consistent from a general perspective, but obviously variables change depending on what type of project it is. For this it was * :
1. Listen to all of the Taxes songs
2. Write words/colors/phrases that come to mind while listening to the music
3. Circle key words/colors/phrases from list to incorporate into the design
4. Sketch ideas or play in photoshop/illustrator…be open to happy accidents
5. Place given content into design (normally I place type down first, but it was still being worked on)
6. Send drafts, make any changes, finalize
* Me pretending my process actually matters.
Since Robby told me this was a remixed album, I wanted to do some type of collage, so before I was given the final image I started playing around to see if creating a collage out of a single image was captivating enough. This was OokKayYy but it would really depend on the image.
The final image for the album cover is a print by Hickory Mertsching, and when I saw it my heart sunk (and soared) a bit, because it was so great, I felt bad chopping it up into pieces! Normally I get off the computer and cut the page into various pieces, or take out selected parts I want to use when I collage, but it made more sense for me to work in masks in illustrator instead, that way nothing was permanent. Unlike the first attempt at creating a collage out of the waves, I needed to listen to the entire album on repeat while I slowly put each piece into place while talking to myself. Once the general layout was done the copy needed to be added. Album art is a nice shift from everything because you can usually squeeze the type in to fit with the design, unlike anything else…but it obviously has to be clear and visible. For this I just used Verdana to pair nicely with the Georgia already used…because ObvIoUsLy they were meant to be together.
A few hundred ughhhhh's and ooh baby's later, everything seemed to fit magically together into a new composition, all while allowing the butterfly to still ponder flight. Fly away butterfly, fly away.