If you’d asked about my dream job while I was in college, it would have been to someday design album covers for the Pixies. They were —and are still— one of my favorite bands*, so when the opportunity came up to work with them to release live concert CDs, it hardly seemed real.
Working with Susan Everett’s logotype and a series of illustrations referencing Pixies songs, we put together a palette and template for more than 50 shows that allowed us to design, manufacture, and ship discs quickly as the band played across the U.S., Europe, and Japan in 2005. I can’t read Japanese, but I did my best to typeset it!
Each digipak featured a photo taken by guitarist Joey Santiago during his “Vamos” solo during the show. A special Rock and Roll Hall of Fame performance disc was included with some orders. Discs also included a numbered certificate of authenticity.
A highlight of the project, aside from getting to see the band perform from backstage at Lollapalooza —BRAAAG,— was designing concert t-shirts for the tour. Most of our shirts reflected the album/tour artwork, but I set out to make the sort of shirt that would catch my own eye at the merch table. The band was picking up a younger audience that missed them “back in the day,” so I thought it would be interesting to use a snippet of the questionable online tablature that millennials would use to learn the songs on guitar. To my delight, the band approved it, and it turned out to be popular. They turned down my ironic cute iron-on kitten design. I guess I was ahead of the curve on cute kittens.
*largely thanks to their amazing artwork by one of my design heroes, Vaughan Oliver… my mind was further blown to work with Oliver on our next project, with the band Dead Can Dance.