ART ON THEIR SLEEVES, AT AUDIOCULTURE (2023): Album design in the 2020s

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ART ON THEIR SLEEVES, AT AUDIOCULTURE (2023): Album design in the 2020s

The resurgence of vinyl albums – which outsold CDs in 2021 – has meant local artists are now seeing that having their music on record can be as important as their social media profile.

The record is an artefact in a way that CDs could never be: the art in a jewel case too small to have impact, liner notes or lyrics rendered microscopic. And lets not get started on the meagre images on streaming platforms. 

The 12" vinyl record is something different. Here is art – sometimes framable – to pore over and decipher, the notes and images (especially in a gatefold sleeve) engaging to the eye and mind.

At its best the cover art reflects or compliments the musical contents, or sometimes stands in stark opposition to grab attention.

Artist, photographer and designer Lily Paris West of Mermaidens won the cover art Tui for the band’s 2019 Look Me in the Eye album, which featured her manipulated cover photograph.

hero_thumb_vor_stellenShe told AudioCulture, “the resurgence of vinyl has really made the focus on the artefact itself and the packaging of the record more significant

"So you see more and more [musicians] working with design studios to create their whole album world.

"People are putting more focus into the visual accompaniment to the music again.”

Here we look at 10 recent album covers which stand out for different reasons – but in each case . . .

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To read the rest of this article about album covers at AudioCulture go here.

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Audioculture is the self-described Noisy Library of New Zealand Music and is an ever-expanding archive of stories, scenes, artists, clips and music. Elsewhere is proud to have some small association with it. Check it out here.

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