Ed Harcourt - Lustre Album Drawings and Typography
I recently created the artwork for Ed Harcourt's 'Lustre' album which was released in July, so I thought it'd be interesting to explain a little about where the inspiration for the illustrations and drawings came from.
In the photo below you can see the sketched plan I drew to map out the page order and ensure I didn't leave anything out of all the design elements.
The overall artwork concept derived from a combination of talking to Ed about his vision for the album, listening to the album to create a personal interpretation in my own mind, and developing the whole concept during the weeks I had to create the imagery and designs.
I decided to draw lots of flowers, swirly patterns and butterflies as I wanted to convey the lustrous atmosphere of the whole album. Within the artwork, the flowers represent the sun, the collection of the songs, hope, new life and positivity. The butterflies represent the release of the songs which are delivered to everyone who listens to them, so they have wings and a life form of their own. Each being beautiful in it's own special way. The swirls connect the two and connect the songs to the listener. So all the visuals together create a world which represents the musical world the album creates when you listen to it.
Ed said of the album: "It's got horns, violins, howling, mellophones, the Langley sisters, barks, whistles, hell I even sung down by a creek in the middle of the night." Harcourt told Direct Current that the album is "about that gleaming quality – the vitality, the passion – that drives you to keep going and not give up."
Here are a few photographs of the finished Lustre album, deluxe album and various merch products which are available.
Within the Lustre collection, there's a beautiful soft leather bookmark and leather bound writing journal with the words 'Lustre by Ed Harcourt' screen printed onto the front of both in black type. There's a coal grey t-shirt with the title logo Lustre font printed centrally. Also available is the standard and deluxe versions of the albums which include different visual elements, comprise of two size formats, and the deluxe book is hardback with gold embossed type and an extra CD of additional Illustrious songs.
Here are some of the drawings I created for the album. We couldn't fit some into the booklet with the number of pages we had available, but most can be found in some form. Quite a few are in white layered behind the song lyric type in both books.
These are the designs I created for the standard and deluxe album CDs. The Lustre CD is the standard album and the Illustrious CD is the additional album which is contained in the back sleeve of the deluxe book album. The central circular patterns represent the sun and the virtical swirl shapes on the left hand side represent butterfly antennas.
Below you can see a photograph of the Lustre CD and how the design ties into the album artwork.
Below are all the lyrics pages in the order the songs appear on the album.
Each page has a different melody background as the melodies are the exact notes from the correlating eleven songs. To create this effect Ed typed all the melodies out and sent them to me, I printed them out and traced over them in a handwritten style (as you can see in the photo below).
I then scanned all the draw melodies and layered them in white over the top of old distressed paper. As we wanted to create the effect of old sheet music pages which had been washed up onto a beach, I distressed and displaced quite a lot of the elements.
I created the music note lines in the backgrounds by finding blank five bar sheet music pages (which you can see in the photos below), wetting, scratching, ripping, marking, distressing, adding light water colour washes in areas, drying with a hair dryer, ironing, scanning, and then including them into the designs.
To display the lyrics of each song, I set all the type line by line on the computer using a distressed old typewriter typeface. It took a long time to create this effect, but it enabled me to be really playful with the shapes the type made and reflect the mood and messages within each song. The remaining details within each lyrics page are the drawings I created and they are all displayed in white so they compliment the pages and enable the lyrics to stand out.
Within the song page layout below for 'Killed By The Morning Sun' I incorporated some very personal drawings which represent several things. They represent what they song means to me personally and how it makes me feel and who it makes me think of as the lyrics really touch a chord in my mind every time I listen to it. The white pattern shapes are also suggestive of clouds, and I've further elaborated this idea in the way I've presented the words 'drift to the clouds'.
You can see the printed Lachrymosity page (above) in the photograph below.
Here are some photographs of the deluxe album book pages. In the photo below you can see the red hardback cover with gold embossed type and drawn border details.
This is the cover design I created:
Here are a couple of examples of the pages, plus a photo of Ed.
Below you can see the drawing I created as an end page design for the front sleeve to house the album CD.
The drawing represents a transition of light from the sun in the top of the drawing traveling downwards to the surface of the sea. I visualized a sun set whilst drawing this picture so the first page represents the beginning of a day (pictured below).
I included the same drawing but in white on the last page where the Illustrious CD is housed so it represents the end of the day and a night time moon reflection onto the sea (pictured below).
These are also mirrored end pages which symbolize beautiful butterfly wings which will take flight through playing the songs.
Here are a couple of lyrics pages from the deluxe book. I made the two album lyric page formats the same, but spread the type out more for the bigger book, so there are some extra drawings within the larger pages.
Here are the two CD designs side by side.
Below you can see both the standard and deluxe albums demonstrating the comparative size differences.
Here are some more reviews of the album:
The Independent Review
Contact Music Review
The Quietus Review
For more info about Ed Harcourt and the Lustre album, have a look through his website: