Thursday, October 02, 2008

How to get work doing bands' album covers?

Question: I\'m a graphic designer, and am interested in knowing how your label, or generally any label (preferably metal) looks for designers to do album artwork or promo stuff for bands. Is it that you have to possess a exceptional portfolio with years of experience or is it sort of if you can do it and have the style, then go for it sort of thing?

Also, within the indie lables like Earache, does the band choose who does the art or does the label decide that? I\'ve read many times in design resource books that in major lables, the lables typically deal with the designer whereas indie labels has the band/artist deal with the designer which usually results in better artwork for the band.

Thanks a bunch in advance. From:

Answer: Earache has released over 400 albums, and for every single one of them the band has had the freedom to design & choose the art for the album.I have heard some horror stories about other labels, even Indie metal ones, who have foisted album covers on bands they they plainly did'nt like.We just don't do that- neither do most Indie labels to be fair.
Generally,the label's role is to take the band's creative vision for an album cover and then its us who gets to work and finds a suitable artist who can execute that vision- Earache's design team will then work with the artist to make sure its up to standard, the artwork copyrights are secured, and also delivered on time and on budget (which is harder than you think) involving the band along the way, to get their approval.
We deal with many debut bands who are pretty naive when it comes to artwork- often they insist a 'best mate' does the album cover whereas we are used to hiring world class artists on a weekly basis. A common fault is also- their sole suggestion can be a quite literal interpretation of the album title - a dead body falling thru a grave for Enter the Grave by Evile springs to mind.
Equally often, bands go to the other end of the scale and want say HR GIGER (Carcass' Heartwork LP above was designed by GIGER) or some Star Wars character in the art, which is not really on, for an unknown band.
Creative artwork ideas and concepts are not a bands strong point usually (we sign them for the music) so we sometimes struggle to get them to tell us what they want, mostly they like the guy who did the cover of another band that caught their eye recently ( Colin Marks is benefiting from this effect right now).
This dilemma is where unknown artists can get their foot in the door, because our fave thing is when we get random artists who supply us by email 4-5-6 complete, ready made album covers, with space cunningly left for logo & title, with price tag attached for use.We love these, because we can pass these ready-made covers to our bands, and you'd be surprised how many bands say they love one of the images and it becomes their album cover.
Another way to catch our attention is on Deviant Art website- many bands scour the site looking for suitable art styles and then let us know who to contact.Good luck with your art!

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