Glasgow creative agency reflexblue has produced a striking new website, almanac, artwork and promotional merchandise for Glasvegas’s latest album, Later…When the TV Turns to Static.
The CD and 12” vinyl artwork features no text, only a bold grey and black repeat zig zag design. A single zig zag is also used on single sleeves, t-shirts and the band’s official website.
The design was inspired by 1960s op art, Peter Saville’s work for Manchester label Factory Records and the album’s title, says Brian Wishart, head of creative at reflexblue.
“James [Allan, Glasvegas’s lead singer/songwriter] came to us with the basic concept for a zig zag, as he wanted it to look like a pop art version of static on a television screen,” he explains.
“I was very into op art and Saville’s work at the time, so wanted to take that idea and make something that looked like an optical illusion. We chose not to use any text on the cover because we wanted to create something powerful – something very bold and minimal that would shock people, which I don’t think many people have done with album artwork for a while,” he adds.
To give the pattern more depth, Wishart distressed and scanned textured GF Smith paper samples, scrunching and even drenching them in tea. “It’s a simple design but we wanted to add a little complexity, and make it feel more tactile. It also suits the band’s image – their music is quite dark and retro, so I wanted the cover to be a visual reflection of this and have quite a lo-fi, handmade feel,” he says. The texture has also been applied to the Glasvegas site and online store (above).
The deluxe edition of the album comes with a 40-page almanac and a DVD that was filmed and edited by reflexblue and features clips of the band starring in TV commercials, weather forecasts and late night shopping channel spots. The almanac includes a series of original illustrations by Wishart, a ‘dress James game’ poking fun at Allan’s love of wearing all white or black and photographs of all of the equipment used to make the album.
“James brought in a director’s journal one day – a traditional Moleskin book – and we just thought, ‘that’s what we should do for the album’. We created a ‘this belongs to’ page to make it feel authentic, a fake ad with a product named after the guitarist and a mock billboard with five star reviews from family members, even a band member’s dog. It was a lot of fun to create, as I pretty much had free reign to draw what I liked,” says Wishart.
It’s a strong design and one that works well across digital and physical products, and ties in with the band’s existing visual identity and previous album covers.
Later… is the first album reflexblue has produced artwork for, and Wishart hopes it will lead to further cover projects with Glasvegas and other musicians. “It’s always been my goal to design artwork for a band I love, and to have such free reign creatively. James had a strong vision for the design but just didn’t know how to execute it, so we helped make it happen. It was a real collaboration, and we worked very closely together,” he says.