A little while ago, I got the chance to interview second year design student, Katelyn Murdoch, about her conceptual album she had produced for an assignment. Murdoch created the band, The Anti Romantics, and the EP vinyl record, This Love Sick Heart, before designing the album cover art. This is what she had to say about her design and the process from ideation to submission.
"Finding inspiration for the assignment was challenging... that freedom was intimidating!" - Katelyn Murdoch
The Anti Romantic's EP, This Love Sick Heart, features ten songs that illustrate the feeling of falling in and out of love with someone. Murdoch's inspiration behind this theme of love was her own experience of heartbreak.
"I recently went through a break up but managed to find love again, so this album signifies my journey of how I was feeling about love then, and how I feel about it now."
Side A presents us with five songs: This Love Sick Heart, Why Do U Make Me Feel Like This, This Is Not A Love Song, Going In Circles and Can't Get U Out Of My Head. Shown through the song titles, Side A of the record is about finding the love you've been dreaming of.
Side B features another five songs: F*ck Love Do Drugs, I Hate U, Look At What U Did, My Sweet Escape and Never Again. Contrary to Side A, Side B describes the emotional turmoil one goes through when realising their relationship isn't what they had pictured.
Each design element plays a very important role when creating an album and its' promotional material. The relationship between the type, colour palette, and icons are significant when visualising the album's ambience.
Murdoch has used the same font for the band name and the album title, although the distortion makes them look like completely different types. The distortion of the Coconat font paired with the melting heart has softened the type and the harshness of the overall design.
The greyscale of the cover is quite effective in portraying the album's melancholic sense, however the pops of pink in the limited edition vinyl wrappings and background allude to the return of love and faith. This was a wise decision by Murdoch as the pink behind the grey covers enhances the designs and draws the eye to where she desired.
The designs are bold and obvious in their take on love from the perspective of a heartbroken teenager. Using grey, black and pink, the designs are cohesive and recognisable even through limited edition styles.
One of the choices Murdoch had to make early on was the typography she was to use across the album's promotional material. The application of the distorted type on the album cover, record sleeve and vinyl itself, really sets the tone for the album and what the listener is about to experience, so it was important she chose wisely.
The distortion of the album name This Love Sick Heart inside a heart shape really speaks to the whole 'bleeding hearts' vibe of the album. I think it was a very clever design choice on Murdoch's part, along the use of Coconat font for both the band name and album title as the font is just an outline, leaving the middle of each letter empty. This was a subtle way of conveying her feelings during this heartbreak without overpowering the total design of the album. Outlining the type in pink inside the heart almost makes it look as though the letters have an aura, much like the album itself.
These elements all come together to create the pop punk album This Love Sick Heart. This EP speaks to young people in its modern take on heartbreak and is going to be music they turn to during their own moments of sorrow. I believe Katelyn Murdoch did an incredible job of conceptualising this album and working towards something she wants to do in the future, showcasing her design capabilities.