More Soviet Spacedogs: Beta Autumn 2010

Record buyers should be seeing a trilogy of Beta Recordings releases hitting stores over the coming weeks, wrapped in artwork courtesy of me! BETA23 is by Terravita, BETA25 is an EP (and one of my favourite releases in a long time) by a Russian fella called Receptor, and BETA26 is by Xilent.

I wasn’t really given a brief for these record covers, so it was down to my initiative. I followed on from the artwork I did for Beta last year- black, white and a single hue in colour scheme, as seen in Edge of Mind EP by Camo + Krooked:

I like type! When working on a project, I will hunt for typefaces everywhere – in books, on my computer, on the internet, on the street – to find something appropriate for the job. I always cross typefaces I think are great but not right, and make note of them to try and use them in the future. When asked to do these Beta sleeves, I thought it would be a good excuse to use some of these finds, but it didn’t really work out that way as I ended up using some trusty favourites- Futura Bold Condensed, Cooper Black Italic and a Helvetica Bold variant.

I didn’t really set out to revisit soviet space dogs, having made a tiny tribute to them in last year’s Future Sound of Russia, but one of the tracks on this EP is called ‘Belka & Strelka’, named after the dogs who flew on Sputnik 5 together in 1960. Their appearance in this artwork was meant to be subtle- I used an old photo of them for the halftone pattern filling the text on the sleeve, but they ended up getting carried over onto the centre labels too. As it was a doublepack and Belka & Strelka were a double-act, I thought it’d be fun to have one record for each dog. I used the halftoned photo of them on one side of each record, which I sent to John B expecting it to be a bit silly, but he was into it. Although it wasn’t an idea I took seriously, I am glad they were liked as they look great on the finished copies!

‘Step One’ wasn’t much of a title to make a cover out of, but Irreversible was a winner, as I managed to make it irreversible by nature too, by reversing the letters but not the order they are placed in. Therefore, if you try and reverse it in a mirror, it will still be reversed!

I like the centre labels for this trilogy of releases too! I followed them on from the design I did for the Xilent single last year. It’s easy to forget when designing in a computer that records don’t actually have a specific way up as they are circular and rotate by nature. Therefore, the idea behind these centre labels is the text can be going in different directions, but will never be the wrong side up.

You can get full artwork vinyl from the Beta Store, or MP3s from Beatport or iTunes now!

“It’s almost 3D, this album!”

Today’s the day Rave Digger comes out- Danny Byrd’s latest album and my latest project for Hospital. This has been my biggest project both in terms of the amount of stuff I’ve created for it and the amount of exposure it has been getting, so in my usual feigned attempt at quantifying the work I’ve put in, here is a blog post showing everything I’ve managed to round up from the album, along with a bit about the process of designing it.

Continue reading ““It’s almost 3D, this album!””

Learning, Improving things and Play:musik

DJ Flight’s label play:musik is back! I was only nineteen when Flight very kindly gave me the opportunity to create the original artwork and identity for the label, but I have learnt a lot in the past five years, so the label’s relaunch was a good time to make some improvements to the artwork. This post is about the changes I have made, the things I have learnt, and the artwork, so if you’re interested, Continue reading “Learning, Improving things and Play:musik”

Little Oranges

Good work comes from good projects, which in my line of work, usually means good record titles to design for. ‘Little Oranges’ has to be the best track title I’ve had the pleasure of working with since Credit Crunch! Was B-Complex thinking of satsumas? Clementines? Tangerines? We may never know!

More pictures after the fold. Continue reading “Little Oranges”

Remix Your Mind

OK, so here is the artwork I did for the remixes of Bop’s debut album, Clear Your Mind. As it’s a remix EP, like the musicians featuring, I was given the original in pieces and left to produce my own take on it- a remix! Clever huh?!

Scott AKA Ithinkitsnice was responsible for the original artwork. He is probably the most inspiring person to pass through the Drum+Bass artwork world in a while- his drawings are genius and make me wish I was less afraid of pencils and sheets of paper bigger than post-it notes!

Anyway, despite it meaning less work for me, I was rather pleased when I found out Med School had commissioned him to do the artwork, as it was like nothing I would’ve thought up! I was quite excited when I was asked to give it a rethink, as I had a few ideas of where I could take it. I tried a few things, including an ill-thought-out idea for projecting the graphic with light to form the image, but after some fruitless experimenting with lights and some time spent mucking around with the art on the computer, I ended up with a cleaned-up and rejigged version of the original artwork.

As for the book, if you follow my SCED project, you will have seen it already. When Tom at Hospital saw the artwork, he said he liked it because it looked like some kind of old 70s textbook cover. I thought yeah! so I set about turning it into one with a bit of photoshop fun. The book ended up even more interesting than the record cover in my opinion, but the cover had already gone to print. I guess you need the actual record cover as the middleground for it to make complete sense.

Remix Your Mind by Bop features Remixes from Blu Mar Ten, Lynx+Hellrazor, Subwave, Unquote and remix competition winner Thinnen. It is out now on full-artwork promo, and will be out on general release 2×12″ doublepack and MP3 Download on 10th May 2010 on Med School.

Fresh Slabs

Another trip to Forest Hill today meant another excuse to pick up some finished copies of my work for Hospital! As well as picking up finished copies of Sweet Harmony, some recent flyers and the New Blood 010 album on Med School I tidied up, I also picked this up:

I love designing for print! Finished copies are always, well, finished, whereas designing for Web can always be tinkered with indefinitely (as long as the client lets you!). One of my favourite things about collecting finished copies of records I designed has to be centre labels:

Centre label designs are difficult to keep fresh. They can so easily just be an afterthought to the sleeve’s design and I am always conscious of not just reusing layouts already used for a different artist/label/whatever. Pulling the record out of the sleeve to give it a spin when I get it home usually results in a nice surprise along the lines of ‘Hey! That’s a cool centre label design. I wonder who did that? Oh wait, I did!’, as during the weeks between finishing the artwork and getting finished copies, I only tend to see the front cover, forgetting what I did for the centre labels.

Piano Anthem is out on Monday 1st March on Hospital Records.

Bonus points to anyone who can spot the typographical innuendo in this artwork!

Lights+Camera Action!

I got a couple of finished copies of some of my new housebag designs through the post this morning, so I decided to use it as an excuse to see what I can do with my new strobes (aside from pratting around with lighting gels and colourful cakes) and try and take some nice pictures of them!

Mmm- luxury double-sided print action for Critical!

And here is the 31 Records sleeve I did late last year.

I am experimenting! Wooo!

31 Records Refresh

31-Housebag-Spineless25031r250

It’s been in the works for a little while now, but I’m pleased to say I got a new housebag sleeve for Doc Scott’s 31 Records signed off today!

It was nice to work with a label from which I own a few releases from my record-collecting days. The 31 Records identity hadn’t seen a refresh pretty much since it started back in 1995, so it was extra-satisfying to bring it into the future!

The artwork isn’t so meaningless- if you pay close attention, there are actually 31 of every point in the pattern!

I’ve also attached another idea I had, that I think was a bit jazzy for the label, but I’m rather fond of nonetheless, so there you go! It’s pretty literal, but I like it!

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