Album covers, gig flyers, and band merch were my first paid art projects. I would sneak into the graphic design computer lab at Kent State University, although that was not my major, and design all day. I couldn’t afford the Adobe design software and this was before their fantastic subscription model, so this was the only way. I know, I’m such a badass.
To say I loved designing is an understatement. I would put on some headphones and blast the music to escape to the musical worlds created by the bands I was designing for. I’m pretty sure this was the most work I ever did in college.
Since every band has their own unique sound and story, I always find it so fun to create for them because it’s a new experience for me every time. Album covers are a process and I see them as collaborations between the band and me, the artist.
The first album cover I ever made takes us back to Kent State, circa 2007. I started hanging out with this really cool guy, Kyle Cheuvront, who was the co-founder and guitar player for the band Tropidelic. I had been making their flyers for all their shows so when it was ready for them to release an album they hit me up for their 2008 EP Tree City Exodus.
It’s cringey for me to see this design now. But it was my first big design project. I designed the cover, booklet, and case and worked with the printer to make sure everything was right. Obviously I did a good job because now Kyle is my husband.
Kyle Cheuvront has since moved on to bigger and better things and in June 2019 released Running Through the Maze. This is an album that takes you on an instrumental journey through a terrifying maze that is just perfect for all media such as advertisements, podcasts, video games, movies, and animations. And because our studios are across the hall from each other, guess who made his album cover. It was me.
Kyle told me he wanted something reminiscent of the video game Zombies Ate My Neighbors. I made an illustrated cover with graphics to represent each song on the album. It was really cool to see this album get made. I heard the first music ideas, saw the editing and production, and watched it take shape.
I saw the time and effort it takes to make a really good album. Living with a musician has helped me grow as a designer because I see first hand what goes into the other side. This has made me appreciate working with bands even more and helped me streamline my process to make it as easy as possible for the band.
making an album cover
In 2018 I was commissioned to create the album cover for Twin Atomic’s EP - Spare a Thought. In our first meeting over the phone, Twin Atomic didn’t have a set idea. They sent me some examples of album covers they admired and told me what they liked about them. The thing with creative people (me included) is sometimes we have a lot of ideas and it’s hard to narrow it down.
The first step is sketches. I usually make about 3-5 different sketches. They are really loose and just get all of these ideas and thoughts on paper. The sketches are sent to the band to pick 2-3 to narrow it down.
Next, I make digital mock ups. These are basically digital sketches that are pretty rough but give you a better idea of the direction the cover is going. Mock ups also really help narrow down the album cover to one idea.
The Final Design. Once an idea is decided on for sure, I start making the final cover. The final cover goes through several rounds of edits and finishing before it’s ready to send off to the printer. This whole process takes a little over a month.
Those days of breaking into the design lab at Kent State seem like forever ago and I’ve definitely learned a lot. And although my art style has evolved, I still love working with bands. If you need an album cover, merch, or flyers made for your next gig, I’m your girl. I promise to always listen to your music on good speakers and not shitty earbuds. Hit me up here.