Critique! 3

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Avicii’s latest album titled “True” offers up a simplistic approach to album art. The title is the main focus here. “True” which appears to be hand drawn/inked is in white set against a dark grey background, with a black silhouetted figure. Looking closely at the type, it is semi-transparent, and the edge that defines the figure in the background can be seen through it. With such stark contrast between the background and type treatment, the text might have benefited from being completely opaque. The edges that are seen through the type do not contribute anything to the image, and they do not assist the viewer in determining what the silhouette is. Avicii’s logo is placed underneath the type treatment and at the bottom is a white bar with the record label’s name and logo. This bar may have been the marketing team’s addition, however it detracts from the overall image.

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I am a fan of hand drawn type and the brushed ink effect adds some character to an otherwise bland cover.

Simplicity and high contrast definately help the album stand out on itunes (not to mention the marketing placement and publicity), but I’m not sure if there’s anything about it that is descriptive of the music. It isn’t anything I haven’t seen before.

What are your thoughts?

Critique! 2

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On September 17th Maybach Music Group released Self Made Vol.3, a compilation of various artists including Rick Ross, Meek Mill, Wale, and Omarion. The album features a golden “3” on a plain black background with the title written underneath in metallic gold type. The “3” is the prominent part of the design and is very well done. The gold interpretation of flourishes from the US dollar bill was well executed and conveys a rich quality. Adding any extraneous flourishes in the background would have detracted for the bold eye-catching design. There was a refreshing departure from the look of the previous two releases (Self Made Vol.1 & 2), which featured a group shot of the artists.

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Alternate artwork was also created to mimic the lettering on a US dollar bill and is being used for promotional purposes on iTunes. This design is not as strong and has more of a gritty quality due to the textures used.

I would have liked to see an “M” in the typography instead of the MMG logo replacing the “M”. Maybe the MMG logo could have been placed between the two words. There could have also been a little less lens flare, and more of a natural shine but overall, I think the concept and design is a success.

What do you think?

Critique #1

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Everyone loves a good critique every now and then. Well, I’d like to make “Critique!” a weekly series. “Critique” will be dedicated to analyzing and reviewing cd/album/mp3 cover design and artwork. Many blogs and websites are focused on the music and neglect to mention the album artwork, and that’s where we come in!

When posting opinions or comments they should be positive and constructive.

Let’s start the first official Critique with Drake’s new album, “Nothing Was The Same”.
The illustration was done by Kadir Nelson, whom also created the cover art for “Michael” by Michael Jackson. In the illustration Drake’s present self appears to be looking off into the distance or past while his younger self seems to be looking forward to the future. The background is a slightly cloudy blue sky which may be representational of clarity.

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I don’t particularly think the likeness is quite there, and I wish there was more of an expression on Drake’s face. I do admire the realistic approach and when viewing his other works i respect his artistic voice. The skin tone seems too dark and I’m also not thrilled with the sky background. There could have been some different colors integrated to give the artwork more depth and to bring in another dimension. Even the shadows in the face might have benefited from some subtle blue or purple tones. The blue sky feels generic and unimaginative.

The title of the album is small and located in the bottom left corner of the image, which when viewed at thumbnail size on itunes and other digital distributors, may be difficult to read.

In a statement from Drake he says that the artwork represents, “most clean, and concise thoughts from now, and my best recollection of the past” – http://www.theboombox.com/drake-nothing-was-the-same-art

With this statement in mind I wish there were more thought put into this.

What are your thoughts?