For this project, we drew inspiration from the themes presented in many of the songs from the album such as love and protection, as well as taking into account the sound of LIGHTS’ voice as it has quite a childlike quality- being quite high pitched- almost like her singing voice makes her sound younger. This is where the idea of the mobile first came from.
We decided to design our album cover as a picture mobile. The idea was derived from the fact that the album is an acoustic one and so has a soothing quality to it, as a mobile would to a child. Likewise the hue of the front cover – whereby the mobile is illuminated by the glow of the bright lights which fade up to dark on the outer edges – is quite soft and warm, which could be said to foreshadow the chilled out nature of the songs included. This in turn, would appeal to people who like music of that nature.
The back of the album cover is in keeping with the theme of the mobile, but depicts a close up of a section of the mobile, which further enforces the themes of the mobile.
Also the pictures are very easy on the eye, in the sense that they are not laced with hidden meaning or feature obscenities. This also reflects the music as it is very mellow and the lyrics display the feelings and meaning quite clearly without the listener having to work, or pull it apart to understand it.
The pictures and style thereof were all selected considering the relevance we felt they bare to the sound of the music. They included elements of the childlike and sweet vibe of LIGHTS’ personality – such as the carousel – as well as including pictures that felt and looked like something LIGHTS could have taken herself whilst on tour. For example, we included a picture of Central Park, a tour schedule, a crowd shot and a set list, among other things. We wanted it to look very home- made; like she could have made it herself, as the music is very stripped down and pure in the sense that it is not put through auto tune or any effects and is just vocals and guitar.
The idea of the Polaroid has also become popular in recent years – particularly among bands outside of the mainstream. Paramore’s Hallelujah video featuring a Polaroid board, and You Me At Six’s sleeve for single Finders Keepers also using a Polaroid design. This could be seen to reflect the do-it-yourself nature of bands nowadays that work to be where they are, as a Polaroid is something you can do yourself as it is instant development as you can’t carry the heavy equipment around and don’t have the entourage to do it.
We felt that our choice of theme for the album cover was suitable for the music it was accompanying, as acoustic music in today’s society is very do-it-yourself, with websites providing tabs and chords for popular tracks for people to learn and play at their leisure, as well as, the idea of the ‘YouTube star’ and users who play their own acoustic versions of songs to get themselves out there. The YouTube video’s of all LIGHTS’ acoustic tracks being stripped down with just her and her guitar, thus providing an element of inspiration and aspiration for viewers as she is not doing anything difficult – she’s just playing.
This DIY aesthetic is also why we decided to include my friend on the cover as we had the idea that she could be LIGHTS herself on the cover, yet the way she is posed – which coincidently is very un-posed – looking at the floor and placed in the bottom of the cover shows how the music is more of an importance rather than herself. Although, the way she is holding the lights on the mobile could be seen to show how she is still holding her own and how she is very much in control of her own work. The inclusion of fairy lights being a play on the name of the artist.
Acoustic music has become of a much higher demand in recent years, with the emergence of things like Radio One’s ‘Live Lounge’ and BBC’s 5.19 show, which encourage live acoustic performances in the studio. As well as this, there is the popularity of how mainstream bands such as ‘The Script’ incorporate acoustic into their music.
When considering the album’s content, I would expect the average listener to be of a young disposition, -yet mature enough to understand the themes and emotion involved in the tracks- between 14 and 21.
I would also expect a level of personal identification due to the DIY nature of both the content – acoustic – as well as the cover its self, which may give the audience something to aspire to, or they may also see ‘themselves’ on the cover.
Similarly, the pictures we used on the mobile were a reflection of what we felt everyone’s childhood dream is: being famous and going on tour, as – as aforementioned – we wanted the idea to be that these were pictures LIGHTS could have taken herself whilst on tour.
We wanted to use quite delicate and feminine text on the cover to reflect the sound and attitude of the content. As well as this, it affirms the DIY ethic of the album as it is very much a handwritten style, which looks sophisticated whilst still being readable.
Lastly, we included the typical authentication features of an album, such as a barcode and the logo of the record label, as well as a disclaimer stating who the content was written by and the company it was composed and produced for, as well as the year and details of its release.