Record sleeves of the month

Our latest pick of beautiful and intriguing record sleeves features a Motown-inspired box set for Nightmares on Wax, a screenprinted wooden package for Jad Fair and striking imagery for FKA Twigs…

Our latest pick of beautiful and unusual album art features a Motown-inspired design for Nightmares on Wax, a screenprinted wooden box set for Jad Fair and a custom made map kit for acoustic quartet The 442’s…


The New Pornographers – Brill Bruisers

First up, though, is Steven Wilson and Thomas Burden’s work for The New Pornographers’ album, Brill Bruisers, which features CG neon lettering woven through the band’s name in a bold 3D sans.

“The band mentioned the album was quite upbeat, so they were looking for something bright and bold to reflect that. We discussed a few options, and decided a neon sign could be a good fit for the album,” explains Wilson.


“I got the idea for the combination of fonts from a bar I visited in New York called Schiller’s Liquor bar – I have had a postcard I picked up from there on my pinboard ever since, waiting to use it as inspiration for something,” he adds.

After designing the lettering, Wilson asked Burden to create it using Cinema 4D, allowing them to experiment with different colours and animations. The band has also used an interactive version of the artwork on its website,

Label: Matador Records


Soja – Amid the Noise and Haste

Wilson also created the woodcut artwork for Virginia band Soja’s album, Amid the Noise and Haste. “Soja are a reggae band, but they wanted to avoid the obvious red, green, gold and lions,” adds Wilson. The resulting artwork was created using layers of thin plywood “for a more crafted feel,” which were scanned against white to retain shadows before being digitally reconstructed in Photoshop.

Label: ATO Records


Nightmares on Wax – N.O.W. Is The Time


Next is Ben Drury‘s artwork for Nightmares on Wax’s 25th anniversary boxset, N.O.W. Is the Time. The Deep Down vinyl edition comes with a 12″ book featuring a unseen photos, memorabilia and interviews with N.O.W. members and Warp Records co-fouder Steve Beckett.

The album’s outer slip case is embossed with a redrawn version of N.O.W’s logo, and the inner sleeve is printed in a cosmic colour fade, which Drury says is inspired by sunsets in Ibiza, where George [Evelyn, N.O.W.] lives.

“Box sets and anniversary editions present an interesting set of problems: 25 years, seven albums, how best to encapsulate it all in one image?” Drury told CR. “When I talked to George about the design concept, he referenced a kind of old school Motown anthology aesthetic, which I had always loved…that added emboss or bit of foil-blocking they used to use in the 70s to make sleeves stand-out…I tried to give it a treatment that was nostalgic and forward thinking at the same time,” he explains.


Tracklisting and acknowledgements are printed in hand lettering by artist Monkee. “Monkee is a really old friend of George’s from Leeds and he’s always provided the lettering for N.O.W artwork, so it was only fitting that he should do it this time…I just cleaned it all up and structured it in a more formal way. I usually use my own lettering but i think in this case it works really well,” adds Drury.

Label: Warp Records


Roisin Murphy – Mi Senti


The Vinyl Factory‘s limited edition vinyl release of Roisin Murphy’s EP, Mi Senti, was designed by CR’s art director, Paul Pensom (Studio Pensom). The artwork features a white set designed by Rachel Thomas and photographed by Jenny Van Sommers, with the neon effect created using light. The inner sleeve features a photograph of Roisin taken by Ami Barnwell.



Pensom says the idea is a modern take on Memphis style and 1980s Ibiza flyer art. “We wanted to create a flavour of that, but steer it away from pastiche. I suggested building the simple, geometric shapes rather than using flat graphics, and asked [Thomas] to build the set,” he explains.



Pensom, Thomas and Van Sommers also created artwork for a remix edition (above) featuring the same objects shot in black and white – inspired partly by Thomas’ Imaginary View project – and type designed by Pensom.


Jad Fair – Artist in Residence


US musician Jad Fair’s Artist in Residence collection includes four full length albums, each created with a different artist. The limited edition vinyl package comes in a screen printed wooden box set and features letterpress illustrations based on paper cuttings by Fair (which you can see more of on his website). It was  printed by Portland printshop Stumptown.


Label: Joyful Noise Recordings


FKA Twigs – Two Weeks


FKA Twigs (Taliah Barnett)’s debut album, LP1, features a striking photograph of the singer, who appears doll-like with a painted, glossy face. The image was created by visual artist Jesse Kanda, who also worked on the videos for FKA Twigs singles How’s That and Water Me.


Barnett’s previous release, EP2, features a similarly simple yet striking image of the artist, while posters promoting forthcoming gigs use a series of distorted portraits:


Label: Young Turks / XL



The 442s – The 442s

We first featured St Louis collective Husbandmen‘s work back in February, when they created a beautiful coloured vinyl for local rock band Popular Mechanics on a limited budget. Their latest work, for acoustic quartet The 442s’ crowdfunded self-titled debut features a custom drawn map complete with illustrations of wild animals and camping spots. The artwork is inspired by individuals and locations which influenced tracks on the album

“We collaborated with the band to realise a false world representing their music. Illustrations act as markers representing moments of inspiration on a imaginary land mass ready for exploration. Provided alongside the map are map tools, a pair of compasses, to help with navigation,” says the studio.




If you’ve designed album art recently and would like to submit your work, contact

What's the story?

The Storytelling issue, Oct/Nov 2017, is out now.
We invited writers to respond to our cover image
this month: read their stories inside.
PLUS: Tom Gauld, Oliver Jeffers, Giphy & S-Town

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