Sleeves Of Significance 2017

So it’s that time of year when everyone is making their lists of favourite albums of the year (mine is edging toward James Holden & The Animal Spirits). But today I’m here to discuss some of my favourite album art of the year.

Before I get to my personal favourites, I wanted to reflect on a few other designs that caught my eye. So some honourable mentions to kick things of:

Perc - Bitter Music
(Design: Adult Art Club)

Iglooghost - Neo Wax Bloom
(Design:  Iglooghost)
Teleplasmiste - Frequency is the New Ecstasy
(Design: Ossian Brown and Paschalis Zervas)
The Mountain Goats - Goths
illustrations by Leela Corman 
design by Rob Carmichael, SEEN 
Com Truise - Iteration
(Design: Seth Haley)
Grizzly Bear - Painted Ruins
And then onto my top three, first is one that initially caught my eye for the wrong reasons. The National’s ‘Sleep Well Beast’. I found the cover boring and uninspiring - so finding out that Pentagram were behind this came as a bit of a shock. Saying that, looking beyond the cover art into the whole brand surrounding the album reveals an entire visual identity giving The National the feel of a international corporation. A perfect vibe for the album.

 

The whole thing is done so well it could easily be mistaken for a real 'Corporate Giant' and is a pretty smart brand at that, down to details such as producing branded stationery. All this brings a dry humour to the project. I'll be honest, I’d never want to wear their merch for fear of looking like I’m an assistant in a bank, but does add an interesting angle to the concept of the album.

Continuing the theme of album art that goes above and beyond an attractive sleeve, another shout goes to The Octopus Project's ‘Memory Mirror’. This time for much more straight-forward reasons - a killer illustration. This one is the work of Jaime Zuverza, who has done work for the likes of Dinosaur Jr, Melvins and Parquet Courts. The whole artwork expands beyond the cover, stretching the art to a full bold surrealist landscape. Nice.

My fave music design this year goes to Ariel Pink’s ‘Dedicated to Bobby Jameson’. Aside from also being one of my favourite albums this year, Robert Beatty’s work on the design is just spot on.

I’ve loved his work for a while - having produced probably my favourite album art of 2015 too (Tame Impala's ‘Currents') and tons of other brilliant work (his album cover for Ke$ha was also sweet this year). I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when his name popped up tied to this.


I’ve actually got less to say about this, but I love the typography - working track listings smartly onto a cover (always a favourite with me) with '70s airbrush styling and collage vibes. As mentioned with the previous two records, it’s how they extend beyond the cover that makes them. The promo adverts for the album and the extended design of the vinyl packaging all have the same great aesthetic.

That pretty much rounds up my album art faves this year. Always interested to hear your thoughts, so let us know on Twitter if you've got any personal favourites this year.

 

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