The music business may be mainly about downloads these days, but a decent album cover design remains vital to the success of a new release, and a recent revival in vinyl has guaranteed a future for the discipline. Here, we pick our five favourite designs of the year so far.
01. Mogwai - Rave Tapes
Designed by Dave Thomas, Mogwai's art rock influences are channelled into their album artwork itself - this geometric creation is truly a thing of beauty.
The stunning boxset includes a 40-page buckram wrap 12x12in hardback photograph book with silver foil blocked cover design, featuring exclusive images printed on 170gsm art paper.
You also get 12x12in artwork art prints printed on 400gsm matt art paper; a die cut digipack CD version of the Rave Tapes album, including interchangeable inserts; and a limited coloured cassette version of the Rave Tapes album.
02. Tycho - Awake
For nearly a decade, Tycho has been known as the musical alias of Scott Hansen, but with the release of 'Awake' - his second LP for Ghostly International - his solo project has evolved into a three-piece band, known for post-rock, ambient soundscapes. And this album artwork is suitably laid back and ethereal.
Hansen created the art himself, stating: "This is the first time in my life I've dropped everything to focus on one artistic pursuit". He's been designing under the alias ISO50 for years and we think this project is one of his best.
03. Bombay Bicycle Club - So Long, See You Tomorrow
Bombay Bicycle Club's album itself is said to be inspired by painter Edward Muybridge, a pioneer in motion-picture projection. And this influence carries through to the album artwork, based on hypnotic silouhettes of moving figures.
The artwork was designed by independent studio La Boca, who explain: "We strive to create emotional connections through our work and value any small part we can play in contributing to popular culture as a whole."
04. Liars - Mess
Designed by the band themselves, the artwork for the Liars album Mess sees coloured string used in a variety of different ways. The limited edition vinyl version features vacuum sealed gatefolds, with authentic string and double clear vinyl complete with screen printed jackets.
A wholly independent affair, this band have gone all out with their album artwork. To promote the release, they've also taken to putting string across billboards, playgrounds and more - which you can see over on their Facebook page.
05. Wild Beats - Present Tense
Combining clashing colours, illustrations and photography, the artwork for Wild Beasts' Present Tense has created quite a stir. This design is being carried across all of the band's singles, as well as promotional material for their tour.
We love the use of mixed materials, proving that sometimes less isn't always more. The Futura font is a beautiful touch on an already striking cover that we're sure music fans are going to love.
Love this kind of stuff? Check out more of our album artwork picks.
Have you come across an inspiring album cover? Be sure to let us know in the comments box below!