Randonisations – Custom Mix-tape Case

Album Cover Design and Process

Album Cover Design - Christmas Mix Tape

Album Cover Design – Christmas Mix Tape

Every year I make a mix tape for my Secret Santa, the highlight being the album cover design of course. This year I stepped it up a notch with a little help from Home Depot. I was really happy with the final product and thoroughly enjoyed making it and would love to make more of these. If it’s some thing you’re interested in give me a shout at the email below.

Here’s a quick look at the process.


Step One

Album Cover Design - Christmas Mix Tape

Carving out the CD pocket.

Chiselling out the CD pocket from 6″ X 6″ Hobby Board. You can’t cheap out on the wood, chiselling out plywood is not such a great idea…


Step Two

Album Cover Design - Christmas Mix Tape

Finished album cased before graphics.

Glueing 6″ X 6″ panels together and sanding edges. The album cover ends up with a nice thick base, so it can easily stand on end for a nice display.


Step Three

Album Cover Design - Christmas Mix Tape

Custom stencil for the face of the album case.

Printing design on label and cutting out stencil. This is pretty tedious, but my years in the Design & Digital Media program at Grant McEwan University gave me lot’s of practice in the ways of the xacto knife.


Step Four

Album Cover Design - Christmas Mix Tape

Custom stencil for the face of the album case.

After staining case, place finished label stencil on surface.  (Make sure it’s facing  in the right direction, more on that later…)


Step Five

Spray paint over stencil. If the stencil is sealed nice and tight, you should end up with nice clean lines. I let it sit a while before bringing it outside to paint, as Edmonton weather in December does not make for optimal stickiness…


Step Six

Album Cover Design - Christmas Mix Tape

Removing the stencil after spray paint application.

Remove Stencil.  This is the most satisfying part.


Finished Product

Album Cover Design - Christmas Mix Tape

Album Cover Design – Christmas Mix Tape

Voila. The final product. Hard Lesson: Be sure to put the stencil on so pocket opening faces up… Oops…

Randonisation #34 – The Rump Roller

I’m a big fan of this cover.

Also, the title track is pretty great if your wanting a classy strut down the avenue.

If you are ever looking for some inspiration, Sleevage.com is one my favorites.  you can search by Musician, Designer, or even Design Studio.  Pretty rad.

Randonisation # 31 – Frank Zappa

Here is one of my favorite Album Covers.  I imagine that someone drew an abstract Z and A, and Frank described what he saw and that became the album title, Much like the game Scribblish (Which is awesome as well).  I am probably quite wrong though, but I’d rather stick with this story in my head then trying to find out the real one.

Randonisation #17 – Storm Thorgerson

“Picture a ball in your mind and you will notice that you cannot see the back side, so it could be only half a ball – visually speaking half a ball is as good as a whole one”  – Storm Thorgerson

So tonight is a friday night.  All of my friends are out celebrating Tim’s birthday, but I am here, alone, in Saskatoon.  I decided it would be good for me to stay here this weekend so I could focus on getting everything I need ready for grad show at the end of the month.  Needless to say, I am here all alone, feeling rather bored.

To curb my boredom, I watched “The Science of Sleep”, which I highly recommend.  All of the dream sequences etc. ended up reminding me of the surrealists.  I was huge into Magritte and Dali back in junior high already, and only recently learned of all the dream symbolism in dali’s paintings.  Pretty crazy/awesome stuff.

All this leads me to the subject of the blog.  Storm Thorgerson, who I have decided is the “surrealist” of the album design world.  I first read his name on the back of “dark side of the moon”, and became a fan instantly, discovering he had done the majority of floyds design work, as well as a couple Zeppelin sleeves, muse, and many many more.  pretty awesome stuff, and you should check out his site.  Here are a few you may recognize, Cranberries – Bury the Hatchet, Pink Floyd – A Momentary LApse in Reason, Pink Floyd – The Division Bell, and Muse – Absolution. The Momentary Lapse of Reason photo was not cg, they actually brought in hundreds of perfectly made beds and put them on the beach.  Pretty epic stuff.