Redesigning Vinyl Covers

This project has been a collaboration with designer and illustrator Emma Balebela. Over the past few years vinyls have grown in popularity and are making a come back. The problem is a lot of old vinyls look quite outdated and although the music is amazing they may not be aimed at the right audience. This project was brought together because we both felt that we could redesign some albums bought at a local charity shop. We wanted to see if we could put a modern twist on some of these old covers.

We decided on keeping the back quite simple and similar so they were recognisable as a set and to add emphasis onto the main artwork on the front. Each cover was created from our response to the album, for example the Patsy Cline cover designed by myself, was a take on her heartfelt but beautiful lyrics about love. I wanted something that instantly grabbed the publics reaction, and gave them an insight into what the album would sound like without even hearing it.

For the two Elvis album covers I wanted to portray the icon that had been stripped of all quality and worth. When he made these two albums he was toward the end of his vast career and starring in his own films. Reviews for both albums use the words “Hopelessly out of date” and “Rushed”. I wanted this to show through in the aesthetic because I felt it was important that the viewer understood what was happening to Elvis’ career at this point.

I found it quite hard creating two album covers for one artist because I didn’t want to use the same style however I think they work nicely together in the set. The first one shows a torn image of Elvis over the quote “The king is dead” a phrase referencing the end of his career. For the second cover I wanted it to resemble a Warhol repeated screen print image, but in my own style. I decided to add a white wash over an iconic photograph of Elvis from his earlier career. It shows how the icon has lost his worth and been used to a point where it is non existent.

For the Hymns by Johnny Cash album, I wanted it to have a religious feel but with a juxtaposed message. I felt this would be appropriate because Cash sang a lot about religion however he was also an alcoholic and beat his wife several times. I decided to take a song from the album called “God will” and changed it to “God won’t”. I then took this phrase and painted it over the top of a painting of Jesus Christ. This showed Cash’s belief in Christ but also this underlying hidden theme of not following Christianity. The phrase “God won’t” is painted in my own colour alphabet. I wanted this to be something that not everyone would understand or be able to see, a lot like Cash’s alcoholism and personal life, behind his public image.