London-based band Public Service Broadcasting got in touch with me about creating the art for their new album The Race for Space. For those who’ve not heard of them, PSB’s musical style incorporates old news archival samples which they effectively use in lieu of lyrics, to direct the theme or story of a track.
As the title suggests, the new album’s theme was the 20th Century Space Race between USA and Russia.
Entrusting the visuals to an artist they haven’t worked with before can be understandably daunting, so to show the band and management I had a good grasp of the aesthetics for the project I first worked on a mood board of images, both vintage and new, which had the right feel and visually captured the era of the story the record tells.
Once we’d established we were on the same page visually, I had a discussion with the band about the direction and execution. They had the great idea of making the record ‘flippable’ so there would essentially be two front covers, American and Russian. We talked about how to balance the concept so as to avoid it pushing the Cold War rivalry aspect too much, and instead make sure it was celebratory of each nation’s achievements.
I worked on various sketches, which through back-and-forth feedback were then polished up into the final artwork. This was then formatted to fit templates for LP and CD, as well as promotional posters.
Along with the outer sleeve art, I created the inner LP Gatefold artwork, and also redesigned the band’s satellite logo to fit with the overall theme and feel of the new album.
Throughout the process the band and management have been fantastic to work with – friendly and professional and able to clearly articulate their ideas but also interested in my input as a designer.
The final package looks absolutely beautiful and has garnered a lot of great feedback and reviews. It’s also an enjoyable first for me to see my logo design on a spacesuit.
During the process, when the covers were very close to being finalised, the band’s J. Willgoose sent me the following message:
I haven’t really got 100% excited about this album yet (too many things to do and too many creative doubts!) but seeing these images has made it seem real for the first time. This is all great stuff and exactly the kind of thing I was hoping for.”
I’m really proud of my contribution to the record (especially since it is independently released) and in seeing the band continue to get some well deserved praise and recognition.
Definitely check them out live if you get the opportunity, and visit their website here: publicservicebroadcasting.net