The art of album cover design is still alive and well in the digital age. Though the transition from tangible albums to digital copies has seen album covers lose some of their lasting appeal, thankfully some bands are still as excited about having great art to go along with their CD or LP as they used to be.
Album covers can be a great way to convey the message or feel of an album in a different medium, and can showcase the band or musician’s creative leanings outside of the realm of music.
Here are three cover art designers who are still doing an awesome job cranking out rad graphic designs and illustrations for the musician’s who hire them.
Heads of State
Heads of State is a Philadelphia-based design studio that’s made up of a pair of friends, Jason Kernovich and Dustin Summers. They’ve been working together for over ten years, creating award-winning artwork for artists such as R.E.M., Wilco, Modest Mouse, Fleet Foxes, The National, Iron & Wine, and many others. Their graphic design work is bright and textured, full of lots of geometric prints borne out of experimentation with Photoshop and manipulating scanned drawings and artwork.
Debaser is a Sydney-based design studio that specializes in doing creative artwork in the music industry. Design team David Homer and Aaron Hayward founded the company in 2003 and have done album art for many Australian acts such as Empire of the Sun, Vydamo, Tim Finn, Paul Kelly and many others.
They have a highly unique style and are in high demand in Australia and New Zealand and will probably see that demand carry over to the states soon as well. They incorporate a lot of animal and wildlife images and abstract impressions.
Backstage Design Studio
Backstage Design studios was formed in 2004 by two sisters, Shauna and Sarah Dodds. They were born out of the Texas Music Industry and their southern roots come through in their design work. They have won Grammy Nominations for their work on Reckless Kelly’s “Good Luck and True Love” album, and have received a number of other awards as well.
They’ve done design work for Willie Nelson and tribute albums to Guy Clark, among their many other clients. Their work has elements of realism mixed with a vintage, old-timey feel that evokes the deep south of the past.
Keep your eye on these graphic designers, who are helping to keep the art of the album cover alive and well in this digital age!