Head to Head

Head to Head

Album design for Noah Hocker


Noah’s an uh-mazing trumpet player and composer from the East Coast. We know each other through the dance community and one day he hit me up on Facebook to see if I’d do up a nice album design for his album of original swing tunes. 

Client: Noah Hocker
Tools: Photoshop

Kicking Things Off

Here you’ll see some doodling as well as a few inspirational images of Mike Mignola’s work – I love the shapely and weighty feel of his work and how he reduces so much information to just what’s necessary.

Head to Head Album Design Sketches

Research & Inspiration

Pretty quickly I came up with this version of the cover for which I did a couple color variations. I must have been thumbing through some Sergio Toppi on Pinterest cause the influence is definitely there.

Process Image Head to Head Album Design

The Portrait Process

It was important to Noah that all of the band members be depicted in some way. With him *owning* the cover like the badass he is, that left the inside for the rest o’ the crew. Along with the cover ideas I sent him a test portrait of the guitar player, Brennan, looking like Superman (you’re welcome, Brennan!) to show him what I was thinking for the portraits. 

Head to Head Brennan Portrait digital sketch process photo

Ideating on Portraits the Whole Band

The colorful space helmet portraits were interesting to me but didn’t fit with the established look of the cover. There was also something a little Brady Bunch about them.

Head to Head band member process portraits

Narrowing the Focus

Here are some variations I came up with that were more in line with the cover.

Designing for Multiple Languages

New to me was working with the Chinese language. It took a little extra research to find a “hip” Chinese font pairing. The album was released in China first, and Noah spends a lot of time there, hence the bilingual titles.

Head to Head Album songlist Back cover design
Head to Head Album songlist Back cover design
Head to Head Album songlist Back cover design

Creating a Cohesive Design

Here you’ll see I’m just getting everything in view to make sure all of the panels play well together…”no fighting!”

Head to Head Album Design Cover, CD, Portraits, Song List

Wrapping Things Up

Lastly, all of the finished panels on their own.

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