Studio Night

By Design. Or Beer.

punky stickerIt took us a long time to come up with the packaging design for “Funk Out With Your Junk Out“.  Considering we worked on it for so long, it’s not surprising that we went through a number of concepts before only recently settling on the “beer-ish” final product.

Initially we were just going to go DIY and manufacture CDs ourselves, using printable CDs, off-the-shelf CD boxes with stickers on the front, and these killer shrinkwrap bags.   The original punky sticker that was to serve as the cover was simple black and white, probably for economics.  The CD was full color, because we were printing it ourselves.

We went through a bunch of potential titles and associated designs, including the “LP label” CD, the “hypno” CD, and ultimately the “short guy” CD.  For several years I thought we were going to use “short guy” for the CD and some variation of an old family photograph (in which we found “short guy” in the first place) as some part of the outer packaging.

When we started to realize that we had spent a huge amount of time and effort writing, recording, mixing, and unltimately mastering the record, we began to consider actually getting it manufactured.  After all that energy put into it, we were inclined to have a real live product that we could show off, instead of what our friends and family considered vaporware.

When we decided to have some manufactured, Mike spoke up and said he didn’t like the “short guy” design.  It was a surprise, since it had seemed the de facto design for at least three or four years with no one expressing any dissatisfaction with it.  For some reason he felt that people might mistake the group of men in the 1930s era photo for the members of the band.  Riiiight.

short guy CD design However, as with most of the times Mike has piped up, it wound up being a good thing.  We rethought the whole packaging and went through a few rounds of new designs.  We settled on what became the final design shortly before sending the master off to be replicated.  Among our design inspriations: beer, beer labels, beer, beer bottles, a bag of 20-year-old beer deckels that Mike brought back from Europe in the late 80s, and beer.  Did I mention beer?

Just goes to show you: if you’ve hit a design roadblock, feel like you’re out of creative ideas, or feel stuck in a design rut, it can be extremely effective to go back to the drawing board and start from scratch.  I mean, we could always have fallen back on the older designs – thank goodness we didn’t.  The final product is way more fresh to us, and really conveys our approach to making our brand of music – some fun, some angst, some poetic license, all with a slightly dry flavor and a little carbonation thrown in for texture.

Speaking of which, our close personal friend Uncle Crappy turned us on to a CD meme which inspired today’s post.  It’s fun, and you could wind up wasting hours and hours – and who doesn’t love that when there’s stuff to do?

It’s easy: (1) Get a band name by visiting this random Wikipedia entry page.  Title of the entry is the name of your new band, which will soon rule the world.  (2)  Get an album title by visiting this page for a random quote.  Take the last four words of the final quote for your title.  (3) Get an album cover at this flickr page – the third image is your cover.  If the image isn’t under a creative commons copyleft that lets you use it, reload the page and keep checking the third image until you find one that will let you share.

Here’s what I came up with in no time at all: My new band “MACE” and our debut record “ungrateful to these teachers“.

rock ON

Cool image courtesy of z.H.Becky on Flickr 

Bang, your album cover is ready.  Man, I wish we would have thought of this before all of the rock-paper-scissors and arm wrestling that went down for our record.  Next time we’ll know better.