Illustration • System • Research
Fall 2021 • GRA4197C: Visual System Design
The goal of this project was to identify an album that I found to be especially intriguing or valuable, whose visual design was lacking. I was then tasked with creating a new visual language based on the concepts and themes of the album, and to present that language through an album cover, posters, Spotify assets, and Instagram posts.
While I am not completely opposed to the current visuals of the album, I do think there could be improvement. From some research on the decisions behind the album design, it seems that the Japanese characters are purely aesthetic and, in that sense, I don’t think they contribute much to the album overall.
In order to gain a better understanding of the content, concepts, and themes of the album, a mind map was completed while listening to each track. On this map I noted majors themes of each song, capturing the main idea. While completing this map I realized most of the songs were about love in some way: feeling grateful, longing, reluctance, physical distance, and feeling inadequate are just a few.
Once I had captured the themes of the album, I turned to finding existing inspiration for my new design. I looked for albums that I liked not only for their music, but also their design. Specifically, I was looking at how these albums had used image quality and atmosphere in their design, and how that related to what I knew of the music.
Composition and layout were explored, as I planned to use illustration for the cover and not photography. I also looked at illustration styles, iconography, and typefaces.
Social Good Component
The first draft of my album cover was an exploration into illustrating the radio and deciding what context to place it in. Originally, the radio was going to be on a desk that would be scattered with random items and a wall of posters behind it. Most of the color would be done in cool tones, with the exception of the screen on the radio, which would emit a soft yellow light. After working through this idea a bit more, however, I decided not to move forward with it in favor of a design that was more bright and colorful.