Thursday, July 12, 2012

A few words = A picture = A thousand words

Over at Proper Discord, there's a nice selection of album covers that get by without photos of the performing artists or reproductions of French Impressionist landscapes. Pure, text-driven covers, abstractly rendered with elegant fonts and color schemes. Here are just a few:

My first, silly Twitter impulse was to take this concept to the absurd extreme by featuring that most disparaged of fonts, Comic Sans. This quickly led to the idea of comic strip bubbles imploring the browser to buy the CD in question:

Ah, the glories of MS Paint.

A little later in the day, I re-visited a design I've used on many a last-minute (or last-minute looking) recital poster: Stenciled text on brown shipping paper. (Vaguely reminiscent, at least in color scheme, of this old CBS Masterworks design; I had dozens of those "Great Performances" LPs.)

What I found most rewarding about this one is noticing for the first time how closely related "Gould Bach" and "Gold Berg" are as word pairs. (Hofstadter would love this kind of insight via interplay of medium and message.)

Somehow, my mind then went to one of the ugliest of text-driven layout genres: the medicine label. As soon as the phrase "may cause drowsiness" popped into my head, I knew this had to happen. After a little image Googling, I decided this had the right look:

On the subject of drowsiness, I decided nothing excites me less as a pianist than hearing a singer say, "Oh, I'm going to be doing a set of songs by {insert one: Verdi, Bellini, Donizetti, Rossini}" because they all write deadly dull piano parts. Bellini won, partly because Composizioni da Camera has the right imposingly generic ring.

Take two and call me in the morning...

UPDATE: Here's another text-driven idea. The look could be improved, but I'm pretty proud of getting so many letters interlaced. It's a better design than this:

UPDATE: A fancier version of the Ives/Hahn/Lisitsa cover appears in the next post.

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