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The making of the Indie B-Side, Vol. 1 album cover

by Matt Hackett, 2013 Jul 5
Indie B-Side, Vol. 1

Video game composer and arranger Joshua Morse just released his new album Indie B-Side, Vol. 1. It features eight arrangements from indie darlings such as FEZ and it’s pay-what-you-want!

Joshua tapped me to do the album art. He had the idea of a vinyl record sleeve with the disc slightly exposed, and he wanted it to be in a low-resolution pixelart style. Given these directions, I first drew a quick sketch to see if we had the same vision.

Indie B-Side, Vol. 1

Once Joshua gave it the thumbs up, I started placing pixels. The first element I wanted to tackle was the sleeve, since I thought it would be an “easy win” that would get the ball rolling. I knew I wanted the cube to be orange so I made the sleeve mostly blue to complement the cube.

As you can see, I dithered the edges to give them the appearance of fading out. The top and right sides are intended to look as if they’re slightly raised, as cardboard-like materials tend to do near their edges.

Indie B-Side, Vol. 1

I easily spent the most time on the cube. I really wanted it to draw the eye so I gave it dramatic, high contrast lighting. As you can see from the below animated gif, it went through many iterations before I was satisfied ran out of time.

Indie B-Side, Vol. 1

Below is what I guess I’d call a beta. It was almost there, but the text definitely needed to be more fun to read. I made the text big and fat enough that it squeezed out the room leftover for “Vol. 1”. This forced me to be creative and move that text to the record label. I believe this demonstrates a benefit of limitations!

The cube looked fine to me, but it wasn’t interesting enough. I wanted it to look more like it was made of Tetris pieces shoved together (I imagine that’s how the FEZ cube was envisioned), so I combined many of the cells and made the ridges much softer.

Indie B-Side, Vol. 1

Want to see the tiny, unscaled version of the final album cover? It’s here. Now go check out the album, it’s awesome!

More to come

Joshua’s already working on Waveform 5, and we’ve got fun stuff planned for the album art. For the next one I’ll even do a timelapse (aren’t those fun?)!

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