One of my favorite design passions is CD cover artwork. I've designed a number of CD covers over the years, and in between projects for actual clients, I create design mockups to explore different themes, styles, concepts and illustrative ideas. I'll usually choose an existing musician or band, and create an imaginary title, then design around that theme (or simply create an image and then imagine which artist and title might be appropriate for that concept). I often use or adapt parts of my own drawings, paintings and/or photographs, or create a digital art piece from scratch, or a combination of all of the above. Sometimes I'll combine 3rd-party sources as well, like stock photography or other creative commons imagery.

In this example, I had first created the main front cover image as a stand-alone digital art collage piece, then imagined it as a possible CD cover. I thought of jazz, and Joe Lovano in particular, one of my favorite tenor sax players, so built the theme around the title Counterbalance. I went further and created the inside front cover and on-disc artwork as well (even creating imaginary track titles), plus Greek text to complete the layout and typography treatments.
This is mostly a conceptual piece, using found imagery on the web (thus owning no copyrights). I designed this for a personal CD mix of rock instrumentals...thus, the title.
For this concept, I used a mixed-media original art piece of mine, titled "They Shared a Secret", which I then manipulated in Photoshop, then added the title, "Sharing Secrets" as a variation of the original art piece. For many of these conceptual mockups, the actual band or musical artist is somewhat interchangeable...I chose Arcade Fire here because the imagery seemed like a plausible match to the feel of much of their music.
For this design, I used a combination of my original photography and stock images, then composited and masked into the composition using Photoshop.
Based on an original digital art piece of the same name, then adjusted the tonality and added the type treatments.
A digital collage using various found imagery.
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