Contextualisation in Album Artwork Design


When it comes to illustrating their music, many creative musicians make reference to past art movements, world events, iconic designs and photographers within the artwork of their records. It's a great way to nab an iconic image - but more importantly to pay homage to their inspiration, make reference to key issues and express the mood or genre of the music. I first noticed this when spotting a record sleeve design ("Reelin' in the years" by Steely Dan) that combined a defaced photograph by iconic photographer Diane Arbus. You can spot so many with such a vast ocean of music artwork around. Here is a little selection we spotted:

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Left: Franz Ferdinand "Franz Ferdinand" Right: Iconic Poster Design from the Constructivist Movement

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Left: Miike Snow "Paddling Out" Right: "Twins" by Diane Arbus

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Left: Birds of Passage "Winter Lady" Right: Illustration by Charles Keeping from "The Highwayman" by Alfred Noyes

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Left: The White Stripes "De Stijl" Right: The Rietveld Schroder House. Typical architectural design from the De Stijl Movement.

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Left: Coldplay "Viva la Vida" Right: "Liberty Leading the People" by Eugène Delacroix

Disclaimer: We are not attempting to take any credit for the above work – we have had nothing to do with any of the designs shown. If you have any questions regarding this please contact us.