I saw these interesting posters a while ago, and the original post was even older than the awhile ago I’m talking about, which shows you how dang old these are– but regardless, what I think is really fascinating about them is how accurately they depict a musical genre (aka, something wholly non-visual in the “it would be impossible to represent these visually” sense) in a totally visual way. These babies are freaking successful!
I also love that the main character is in LURVE with the hectic jazz of Miles Davis (although I am more a fan of the smooth grooves of Coleman Hawkins myself), and that’s (to me) what these fake album covers really speak to.
Conceptually, these album covers are as deep as the few crumbs left over from devouring your sandwich, but visually they are difficult to critique.
Just goes to show that when you observe what makes a visual solution successful, you’re more aptly able to replicate what works in other mediums. The font choices are a stellar example of this. The use of slab serifs, outlined sans serifs, a mishmash of weights within the Trade Gothic families, all of it works because it visually mimics the use of type in the time period. They’re not going all wonky cowboy fonts, even though those technically were chosen for other things, and they’re not using the same typeface over and over either. The selection and variation are mindful to the time period, genre, and tone, which is all pretty close to font-choice-perfection.
An extremely easy trick in establishing a visual set up for imagery is the use of duotone, or “background color” over-toning the image. It’s a RIDICULOUSLY easy way of pairing image + mood/emotion, it’s the graphic designer’s version of painting. Regardless of what the actual message of the album is, this image of Brody with “There is an attack coming” makes me think the attack is one of a mournful trumpet, playing in the afternoon of a rainy sad sunday (or thursday). Image & color has this effect.
Another thing that is deliciously spot- on are the use of simple-blocky vector shapes; so Saul Bass! Not necessarily JAZZ, but very “jazzy” in terms of the bold graphic shapes. In this way graphic design terminology becomes more fluid and interpretive than literal, but that’s also where graphic design becomes extremely AWESOME. You just have to figure out how to navigate through it all, and communicate authentically in return.
Isn’t it fascinating that something so superficial can result in such a deep analysis? Yep. Yep it is.
Make sure you head over to Mattson Creative and their deliciously showcased site!