A record company’s art department is responsible for everything relating to visual imagery and graphic design. This includes designing album covers, company logos, print ads, sales posters and displays for music stores.
The art department provides an exciting work environment for non-musician creative types.
Art Department Jobs:
Graphic designers may find work at record labels working as cover art designers. The work of a cover art designer is to create album artwork and design the liner notes. A designer’s input depends on what the musicians and/or label wants.
A designer should be familiar with graphic design software. Creative ability is also a must. It also helps to be a music fan as you may be called upon to design a cover that expresses the feel of the album.
Coming up with ideas can sometimes be a problem. When fresh out of ideas a great way to find inspiration is to look at the work of other designers. One of the most famous and recognizable cover designers is Storm Thorgerson, who has created iconic album covers for bands like Pink Floyd. A lot of his artwork can be viewed at Storm Thorgerson’s website.
Other places to look include include Rolling Stone Magazine’s Readers’ Rock List: Best Album Covers of 2008. As this is a readers choice thing, it may say more about popularity than quality. In any case, the music business is one that panders to popularity.
A good way to stay up to date on designs, trends and developments in cover art is by reading the Music Album Cover Art Blog.