Matt Baron leads Future Hits, an educational rock band that performs songs that enrich language skills and social-emotional learning for elementary students. Matt reached out to me in 2017 about designing the artwork for the band’s third album. After a few chats, we came to the conclusion that the educational content should be the central graphic focus of the project (since the music would usually be shared/played digitally), so we chose to present the album as a ’zine rather than in traditional music packaging (though we ended up making a CD, and artwork for digital “singles.”
Given the title, “Future Hits and the Power of Discovery,” a Futurist aesthetic made sense. I’d been reading about Futurist photography and Anton Giulio Bragaglia, and set out to capture the movement of the musicians in the band with strobe flashes, while shooting the band portraits imitating Bragaglia’s dramatic mug-shot multiple exposure style. The layout was vaguely inspired by Fortunato Depero’s Bolted Book, printed with bright colors and spot white ink on the kraft cover, with each inside spread featuring a single color and black.
Each page was crammed with information. To make efficient use of the space, I used graphic icons to identify the musicians on each track, and to label the various educational features. The lyrics were included in English, Spanish, and Chinese. The basic chord structure was included so educators, parents, and the students themselves could play along on any instrument. Other pages featured profiles of the band members, and the centerfold included a small poster of the band performing.