New Sounds In Modern Music
Charlie Parkers album is a classic example of the time period and what we mentioned in the opening (shocked?). It could be said that there is a vintage look to it that makes it stand out as an album from 1950, but it could also be argued that this vintage look is easily replicated with the power and accessibility that computers offer modern designers. While that is true, typically today’s designers will opt for a less granular look and feel in an effort to acheive a more “clean” design. The fantastic thing about this album is while it may be boring (not to me, I would hang it in my house), the elements and composition is very good and hits on the basics of design with precision.
One thing I do find interesting is that typically the most important element of a design will appear at the top of the design, a surefire way to make sure it gets noticed, but here because of the giant white circle, Charlie Parkers name becomes the most predominent element: which is a pretty obvious choice. If you’re at a record store (as you would have been at the time) buying an album, choosing to highlight his name is a natural choice. In an age that wasn’t oversaturated by artists, if you’re buying a Parker album, it doesn’t matter what it’s called, it’s Charlie Parker, take all of my money. They’ve also chosen to have his photo leaning into his name. This is another great choice as it forces the eye back and forth between the two elements creating a sort of symbiotic tensity. They push against one another, connected by his last name and his saxophone. That’s not to say the title doesn’t get it’s bit in. The title is what keeps it all in balance, it’s the frame of the entire peice, making sure everything stays nice and neat. That’s part of the reason so many designers like to use all caps.
The only real question I have is, why a brush script? It’s a bit of a sore thumb in an otherwise pleasant design. Because it’s white and brush, it pulls attention away from the title of the album. It pulls part of that strength from the giant white circle but adds no real value to the design. Change it to either all caps or title case (It Looks Like This) instead of a italic brush script and you open up a world of possibilities for creating a stronger more interesting design.