Graphic design is the art of visual communication which combines images, words, colors, shapes and ideas to send a message out to an audience. Graphic design consists of a wide variety of fields.
Album design is the artwork used to define and protect records of audio recordings. Cover art can either be published as and illustration or photograph. Album design is important because it defines an artist and advertises music visually.
In the late 1930’s album artwork had first been introduced to the recording industry by a graphic designer named Alex Steinweiss, who was the first director of Columbia Records. Before album design, records were sold in plain and undecorated packing. The invention of the album design increased the sales of records eight-hundred percent. Not only did the artwork attract people, it also was able to identify musicians.
During the early 1980’s, compact discs were created. Vinyl records, which were being sold in printed cardboard, had to be carefully protected because cardboard could easily rip or wear down. Compact discs, known as CDs, were smaller and sold in a plastic cover. The artwork of the album cover remained. Booklets with graphic artwork, photographs, and information were produced along with the CDs.
Cover of Album Booklet Inserts Album Credits Back Cover
The purpose of designing artwork for albums is to sell a product. Album artwork promotes both up-coming artists and already known artists products. Designs for album advertisements come in many forms, such as, flyers, posters, billboards, and magazines. Album designs can also be seen in interactive media, such as, television ads and internet pop ups.
Album designs, at times, can be controversial, which may cause people to become offended. Each artwork design is made for a reason, to send a visual message to people. These designs may be offensive due to religious beliefs, nudity, sexuality, or gruesome images. Because of this, a piece of designer’s artwork may be banned.
Album design different types of artists: a graphic designer, a photographer, an illustrator and a musician. This type of artwork allows a visual artists to work and communicate with a non-visual artist. Each album design is made to send out a message to people. Depending on the decisions made between designers and artists, the message could be clear or unknown.