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CD Cover Design & Analysis

jeremy | Thursday May 07, 2009

Categories: Music, Other Topics, Skills, CD Covers, DVD Covers

Most exam boards have an option to design a CD cover as part of course work for both GCSE and A level. Some boards now require pieces of work in at least two mediums, and a CD cover is a good supplementary piece of work to support a music video or other course work.

Designing the cover of a CD is a great way to be creative in the visual arts.


The album cover became an art form in the 1960s like so much else to do with popular music. The 12 inch album sleeve offered an approximate 12 inch square area of double sided glossy laminated surfaces with the principal object of selling the record inside, providing an artistic context for the album’s music and showcasing the artist. Album covers started being used as a way of selling the record inside as far back as the 1940s, but the designs were prosaic.

click on images to enlarge

Until the sixties the album sleeve was little more than a way of protecting the record inside. It conveyed some information.

Typically it showed a picture of the artist smiling and in close up, sometimes at a jaunty angle, and that was it. The artist was considered enough to sell the record.

A picture of Frank Sinatra or Cliff Richard sold the album solely on the name of the artist.

Classical music often did not even have a picture of an artist, but often a classical looking photograph depicting a church, pastoral scene for Beethoven’s pastoral symphony or a classical painting, or just an apple as in this album giving very little information about the music.

There was little attempt to promote the album. The cover provided some information and perhaps an artistic design suggesting the high quality of the performance and the music.

In the 1960s pop music became the leading force in the music industry and record promotion became an industry in itself, so the album sleeve came to be part of the marketing of a record.

With so many bands producing records differentiation between each band and each...

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