Secret 7” is a global competition that is open to creatives from around the world. It is a charity competition, ran by Talenthouse, that is this year raising money for Art Against Knives.
The competition is to design a 7” vinyl sleeve cover for one of the 7 artists to choose from. The artists that we were able to choose from are:
Public Enemy – Harder Than You Think
Elton John – Bennie and The Jets
Nas – The Don
Jessie Ware – Still Love Me
HAIM – Better Off
Laura Marling – The Beast
After listening to the all of the songs I decided to produce an album cover for Nas – The Don. The reason I chose this song and artist was because I thought there was more potential.
To start my work I researched into album covers and artwork and Nas’s existing album covers. This research can be found on my Design Context Blog.
Once I had done my research I started producing a variety of ideas and small thumbnail sketches. I chose to focus on imagery I associated with a Don. The imagery that I mainly focused on was roses, cigars, money and suits/bowties.
Have produced a wide selection of initial ideas I started to develop them further. I acquired all of the objects I needed and began to photograph the in various different positions and form various different angles. As well as photographing the object on its own I also photographed them together and in use. The object that I focused on the most was the cigar, taking multiple photographs from the cigar as a whole, to its smoke and its ash and end. By photographing the cigar like that I allowed me to have a selection of images to work with. The bowtie and the rose were also photographed from several angles and positions so I again had a selection to work from.
With all of my photographs taken I began to manipulate them, changing their brightness and contrast, hue and saturation and cropping the areas I wanted. Now that I had all the imagery I needed it enabled be to start properly visualizing my ideas. I created a variety of different designs, based on my thumbnail ideas.
In the final crit I presented all of my completed designs and asked what was wrong with them, how could they be improved and which ones were the best.
From the crit it was made aware to me that some of the designs were too cluttered and therefore less effective.
After more discussion it was decided that some of the simpler ones lacked impact and therefor should not be used.
This left three potential designs to put forward. The first of the three designs was very simple and very powerful and did not need any changing. Overall the feedback was very positive, especially regarding the high quality of the photographs, however, with this cover the feedback said that it is not entirely clear and understandable unless you know what you’re looking at.
The feedback for the second possible design was very positive, again praising the quality of the photograph. During the crit several suggestions were given, these suggestions were: superimposing the diamond shape onto the smoke in various sizes and make the image black and white. After the crit I experimented with all of the suggestions to see whether they improved the cover.
The final design was said to be the most powerful and the most interesting. The feedback was, on the whole, positive, however, it was said that the photo looked slightly forced and not as natural as it could have looked. The feedback also liked the concept of first person view. There were several suggestions given to improve this design, these were: change the size of the diamond, put the diamond as the flame of the lighter and add smoke to the diamond.
I again experimented with all of the suggestions and found that adding smoke to the diamond proved very effective and this is the idea I chose to submit.