July 24, 2013

5 Music Artists That Used Historical Art for Their Album Covers

Pieter Bruegel the Eldar, Netherlandish Proverbs, 1559
Fleet Foxes, self-title album, 2008

Each of the situations in this painting is a visual and literal interpretation of a popular Netherlandish proverb from Bruegel's time. It was this depiction of many stories in one image that Robin Pecknold of Fleet Foxes says attracted him to the painting. The dense but unified feel, he tells Mojo magazine in 2009, felt fitting for the record. "It was very easy to get the museum in Berlin who has it to say yes," he says. "They were super excited a band wanted to use it and put it in their newsletter." (source)

July 15, 2013

The 125 Year Cover Evolution of National Geographic Magazine

Browsing through the excellent sight Cover Browser, I came across their collection of National Geographic covers. I thought it was way cool to see how much, and also how little, the design has changed over time. Watch as the printing technologies improve, colors increase in vibrancy, pictures are added and then slowly sharpened, the typeface of the magazine title changes, the 'contents' text takes up less and less space (to be dominated by the gorgeous photography), and an ornate border introduced around 1910 is slowly eliminated over time.

And for further National Geographic design, Alex Charchar of Retinart does an excellent break down from the graphic design viewpoint of not just the cover but also the content and page design within the magazine in The Timeless Beauty of National Geographic. But I'm getting ahead of myself, so, starting with the first ever issue from 1888, check out National Geographic Magazine's 125 year cover evolution as pictorially summarized by Everywhere Art:

1888                                                                                 1896

July 8, 2013

Great Surrealist Imagery: Fantastic Planet and Salvador Dali

Fantastic Planet is a 1973 animated science fiction film set on another planet where alien beings the size of giants keep humans as tiny pets. With a running time of only 72 minutes, it is a beautifully illustrated movie that I could watch again and again for both its excellent story and captivating surrealist imagery. Salvador Dali was an incredibly influential surrealist painter. His most famous work, The Persistence of Memory c. 1931 (pictured below), features the familiar melting clocks that have gained an iconic life of their own.

Watching Fantastic Planet, every scene has some kind of strange and interesting surrealist-style imagery going on. I knew I wanted to take some time to compare this movie with Dali's work, but it wasn't until I began putting these images side by side that I noticed how clearly influential Dali's paintings must have been on Fantastic Planet's illustrators. As Dali himself said, "Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing."