Album Art #1: Whipped Cream and Other Delights

Whipped-Cream-&-Other-Delights-Cover-blogOne of the things that has always been on my design bucket list is to design an album cover. Not just any album cover, an iconic album cover.

Besides design, one of my other passions is music. I played drums in a few bands in my teenage years up to my thirties. And when I was a kid, one of the album covers that got me interested in music was Herb Alpert’s Whipped Cream & Other Delights (shown here from my vinyl collection). I’m sure that I’m not alone when I say that it wasn’t the music that first drew me in; it was the cover. Who was that girl? Why was she covered in whipped cream? (And be honest guys, you stared at that cover wishing the whipped cream would somehow fall off in certain areas)!

Ahem, okay. Putting my design hat back on, this cover was designed by the photographer Peter Whorf and was shot in his converted garage studio. The model was Dolores Erickson, a fashion model and actress with several big name credits to her portfolio. Dolores is now a successful painter. In addition to Dolores, I love the color and the cool curved lettering of this album.

Back before iTunes, Spotify and the like, you either heard a song on the radio, at a friend’s house or party, or you were at a record store looking at album covers. And if the cover was good enough to grab your attention it prompted you to buy it. At least that’s what happened to me. Once I got the record home and put it on, there was this experience of listening, looking at the cover and maybe reading the liner notes. Many people are rediscovering that today, and I think there still is a place for good album art.

Once I actually got around to listening to this album, I liked it, and so did about 6 million other folks, because that was how many records that were sold. And even though it was released almost 50 years ago, you still hear music from this album today on the radio, tv and movies. Not sure if you’ve ever heard any of the music from this album? Check out this rare video below of Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass.

A cool album like this and an iconic cover…that would be fun to work on.

To read a great interview with Dolores about her experience being the star of this cover, click here.

Embed Getty Images

Pop the champagne! Or wine (or your favorite beverage), because Getty Images is saving you from ripping off images on the interwebs. You can now embed Getty Images into your website, blog or social platform without feeling guilty for pirating images. From Getty Images, “Finally, everyone can enhance their online communications and express their creativity with high-quality imagery – at no charge.”

It’s really as simple as finding an image you like on Getty Images, copying the embed code (looks like this: </>) and inserting the code into your post, page, etc.

Thank you Getty Images – the quality of imagery on the web just went up a notch. For details check out

Pay for creative work.

Design_for_free_billboardWould you work for free? If you do creative work (designer, artist, coder) you may have seen something like the following example that I see far too often in online forums, direct emails, or via face-to-face networking. It goes something like this:

I have a small business and I would like to re-vamp our Logo and such for our website, signage, business cards, clothing, etc. I’m hoping to find a new or aspiring graphic artist that would like to help create our new look, and at the same time build their portfolio. Sorry, but this is not a project I can pay for, but it may be good experience and an opportunity to build your portfolio and gain a great reference.

What kind of “great reference” offsets being paid for hours of work? If someone asks how much you paid for all this creative work do you say, “Oh, I told them I didn’t have much money so they did it for free and to build their portfolio.” Finding that out, will your next “client” ask you to work for free also? My advice for any designer/creative type engaged in business is simple: Get paid for your work. It doesn’t matter if you’re starting out or not. If the client/business is already established (in this case, needing a “re-vamp”), then they should have a marketing budget set aside for design work. If they don’t, you should still be able to negotiate a pay-for-design rate, get a signed agreement, and proceed to do what you’re contracted for, and only what your contracted for. Don’t let the client come back with excessive revision requests unless you’ve built that into your contract.

Let’s put it another way. Dave wants a house built. He finds an architect and a builder that are just starting out and requests to meet with them. At this meeting he says to the architect, “I want you to design a 2,500 sq. foot house for me.” and then turning to the builder, says, “And I want you to build it as modern as possible with granite countertops, walk-in shower and hardwood floors.” Then Dave adds the kicker – “I don’t have any money to pay for this, but this house will look great in your portfolios and I’ll give you a great reference.” Do you think the architect and builder are going to accept?

What makes people assume that creative work should be performed for free? A good designer can be an asset to your business –  like a good employee, accountant, lawyer, supplier, etc. One shouldn’t think of creative work as a “one-off” relationship. What if you need additional work like a promotional piece created for a new product? Are you going to place another ad looking for free design work? Or are you going to contact “your designer”, the one that you have a working relationship with, that understands your business because of the time spent working together on your branding/marketing materials. The designer who can get it done quickly for you because he/she understands what you need designed without a lot of input/micromanaging from you?

Graphic designers and other creative folks need to get paid the same as you need to get paid for your products or services. We have families to feed and bills to pay, just like you do.


Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (congratulations on the Super Bowl win!) recently asked followers to submit logo ideas for his DangeRussWilson brand. I created a few logo concepts and received thumbs up from a couple of Seahawk fans. It’s kind of hard to design something without a design brief/direction, so I took what I thought would be important to Russell (the crown represents his faith, the #3 his uniform number) and incorporated these elements in the designs. Thanks for the design challenge @DangeRussWilson. The concepts are presented below (click the thumbnail image to view a larger image).


A bit of perspective…

Cascade Lake by Rudy Vaughn (600 x 450)With all the dialogue (arguing?) going on these days on topics political/social/sports etc., it’s always a good idea to bring things back into perspective.

“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”
Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space