Experimental Design // Vinyl WIP
For this project I will be creating a vinyl mixtape of some of my favorite songs that hold a special place in my heart, whether it be due to nostalgia, happy times, or to pay homage to some of my generation's musical geniuses. I will be designing the vinyl sleeve for this mixtape with imagery that encapsulate these songs, and myself into a visually stimulating piece of art. 
Here is my mind map for this project. I wrote out some of my favorite genres and some of my top artists in those genres to get a feel for the vibe of my playlist. I also wrote out different ideas for imagery, exploration of type, and titles for my mixtape.
"Ginger" is a playlist commemorating my personal taste in music. My hair is one of my favorite things about myself. Growing up I would always get called a ginger, even though my hair is strawberry blonde. 
Music is a crucial element to my creative process. Much like my hair, my taste in music is also not what you would expect it to be at first glance. This playlist is a mix of songs that boost me into my creative zone.
this pHere is a look at my Pinterest board for the style of design I'm shooting for. I want the cover to be an unconventional self portrait. I want to combine photography, illustration, graphics, and typography to create an image of myself. I want this piece to stand out in all the work I've done and truly encapsulate the experimental nature of this project.

The first mood board for my type inspiration. I want the type on this project to either be 3D or incorporate motifs in someway. I want the type to be very unique and hand done, bright colors with imperfect outlines and letterforms. The second mood board is for color. I wanted to use a bright blue, pink, and red for the color palette of the cover. For any photos I use on this project I want them to be overlaid with one of these three colors. I also want to use lower opacities so that the colors have a chance to overlap and interact with each other.
After looking over my mood boards I had decided that I wanted to take a drastically different route for this project. It was brought to my attention that I am prone to use pink a lot in my projects so I am challenging myself to step outside my comfort zone and go in a different directions. I want the majority of the design to be grayscale with splashes of bright oranges and reds.
This is a mood board for the conceptual style that I am aiming at along with hints at my color palette. I would like to include some type of collage elements in my design as well as vector graphics. I will be shooting mostly my own images so that I can create the exact imagery I am looking for. 
These are some of my sketches for what I want on the cover on the vinyl. I was experimenting with different unconventional self portraits and different themes such as greenery, space, and abstract. On the right I sketched some possible graphic elements I would want to use as well. 
I had a lot of fun mark making for this project. I tried to use as many objects and textures as I could find to create different marks and patterns. I used paint brushes, markers, rubber bands, sponges, and of course my fingers. As you can see at the top it got a little messy, but I enjoyed experimenting with different marks. 
For this project I experimented with ink drops. This was my first time ever doing an ink drop but after I did it a couple times I started to have a lot of fun with it. I used black ink and a container filled with water and dipped the brush with paint on it into the water to get the dark rings and swirls, the used a clean paint brush with some soap and water to create a separation in the ink. After the ink is on the water  I dropped a piece of paper on the surface to pick up the design. 

Since I want my cover to be fairly grayscale and have nice texture to it, I thought it would be cool to make some cool marble looking patterns that I could overlay on my photos or add in the background of my sleeve. It would give a nice rough paper texture as well as a little watercolor look to it.
I wanted the imagery on my vinyl cover to be a self portrait so I needed some high resolution images of myself to be able to work with in Photoshop. I reached out to my friend Matthew Miller to help me shoot some some photos of me for the project. Since neither of us had access to a photo studio we made a make shift studio in his apartment. 

We used a white background with 2-3 lamps set up around the background. For some of the images we just used a regular white light, but since orange it the highlight color of this project we changed the lamp color to orange to create a more moody, contrasted overcast. Matthew held the lamp at different angles to create shadows and color blurs on the edge of the picture while he shot everything by hand. 
These are some of the images from the shoot. The first row is from the white light and the last four were from the orange set up above
Once I started working in Photoshop, the first thing I did was create brushes out of some of the marks I made. I played with adjustment layers and selected and masked them to get them just how I wanted them.
For the cover I started with one of the images from the photoshoot and masked myself out of the background. I played with different backgrounds and textural elements but I wasn't really liking where it was headed. It felt really flat and wasn't really embracing the style of my mood boards.
After revisiting Pinterest and my mood boards I was feeling a little more inspired and starting playing around with different rectangles with clipping masks of photos in them. I tried combining 2-3 different pictures and also splitting up the same image and just dragging the rectangles off to the side, altering my facial features.
I knew I wanted to incorporate plants and flowers in some way and at first I was going to collage them around my head but instead I thought it would be cool to have them replace my face instead. I found several different photos of leaves and flowers and masked them all to fit inside and breaking out of my face.
I liked the flowers on my face but then an even bigger idea hit me and I thought it would be even better to incorporate the rectangles and the flowers together. I still wanted some of my facial features to be shown but have the rectangles and flowers weaving in and around the different layers.
For my back cover I wanted to incorporate some of the same elements that were on the front cover. I also wanted to include one of my ink drops in some way because I really like how it turned out. I first tried it as a background and putting a blending mode on the text but it was a little too dark compared to the cover. I went back to the flowers and started working the text around them.
For the vinyl sleeve I wanted to stick with the same style as my cover, except in grayscale. I took two other photos from the photoshoot and started to piece them together. I, again, took some of my masked flowers and leaves and had them breaking out of the rectangles. I took about 6 of the songs off my tracklist and overlayed the lyrics on the image.
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