Design a Cool Rock Music Record Cover
WHAT WE’RE CREATING:
Pam here with a rockin’ record cover tutorial! I was inspired by the beautiful fonts in this week’s bundle to create a type-based design for a hypothetical rock band. Now that vinyl records are making a come back, I thought it would be a great opportunity to create a design in their unique square format.
Let’s get started!
Follow along with this tutorial: Download the freebies
This week we have yet another wonderful freebie pack of vectors and textures courtesy of our designers.
Remember, this freebie is just a tiny sample taken from the amazing collection: 24 Exceptional Quality Fonts (With Web Fonts and Extended Licensing) at just $29 (an incredible 98% Off). This incredibly diverse bundle has fonts that are perfect for any occasion!
Since this bundle is font oriented, we are going to first build out our record cover in Illustrator before moving it over into Photoshop for texture.
Open up a new document in Illustrator at 12 x 12 inches.
Before diving in to the lovely fonts in our bundle, we are going to start with creating our background elements. First, download the free SVG vector graphic of an Acoustic Guitar from PixaBay. Open up the file in Illustrator and copy the guitar, pasting it into your record cover file.
Scale the guitar up by 170% by navigating to Object > Transform > Scale and position it bleeding off of the top and bottom of the artboard like so:
With the guitar selected, open up the swatches panel and in the drop down menu select “New Swatch…” You may need to click an already existing colour for this option to be available. In your new swatch, input the colours R: 89 G: 77 B: 66.
Now with the guitar selected, change the fill and stroke colour in the upper left-hand corner to the swatch we just added.
As you can see by the highlights when you click on the guitar group, there are some hidden elements including strings and the guitar opening. Most of this information is not important to this particular design, but we do need to access the guitar opening. Double click on the group to enter it (you will see a representation of levels in the upper right hand corner, as included in my example below), and select the large body of the guitar. Send this object to the back by pressing “ctrl/cmd + shift + [“ or navigating to Object > Arrange > Send to back. This won’t make an obvious difference, but now if you click in the centre of the guitar you will be able to select just the circle in the middle like so.
Copy the circle and double click on the space around the artboard to exit the group. Then, paste the circle in place by pressing “ctrl/cmd + shift + v” and change the circle colour to white.
Using the rectangle tool (M) click anywhere on the artboard to prompt a pop-up. In the pop-up create a square that is 12 x 12 inches (the same as our artboard) and place it directly on top of the image. I made mine black so that you can see it, but the colour doesn’t matter.
Select the guitar and the black box, making sure the box is on top of the guitar. Then hit ctrl/cmd + 7 or navigate to Object > Clipping Mask > Make. Now the guitar will be clipped to the record cover area. Though not a necessary step in completing the piece, it’s always nice to be able to see an accurate preview of what you are creating without excess bleeds getting in the way. Send the guitar to the back as we did in the group previously so that the circle is on top.
For the next step we are going to finish up the background elements in our AI file. First, create a 12 x 12 square and fill it with the colour R: 246 G: 225 B: 206. Send it to the back of the artboard behind the guitar.
Change the colour inside the guitar opening to match the background. The easiest way to do this is select the circle, then use the eyedropper tool (Io) and click on the background square.
Now, create a rectangle that is 12 x 6 inches in the colour R: 242 G: 119 B: 82. Place it at the bottom half of the cover.
With the rectangle selected, choose the direct selection tool (A) to select the top middle anchor point. Then, drag the point down to the centre point of the rectangle. Your shape should now have a large “V” cut into it like so:
Now we want our shape to be in front of the background but behind the guitar. Instead of sending all the way to the back, hit “ctrl/cmd + [“ until the object is behind the guitar.
Now, select the polygon tool under the drop down arrow of the rectangle tool. Click anywhere on the artboard to prompt a pop up and input a radius of 5 with 3 sides.
Rotate the triangle 180 degrees and send it to the back so that it sits behind the guitar, like our orange rectangle. Then place it so that it sits centred along the top of the cover.
Open up your vector_freebies file and choose the following lighting bolt element:
Paste it in your file and scale up 225% by navigating to Object > Transform > Scale, then rotate it -45 degrees. To do this, select the object and hold shift while rotating. This will cause the object to rotate 45 degrees with each turn. Place the lightening bolt on the right side of the guitar in the light coloured area so that the corner bleeds off the side.
Change the colour to match the light brown colour of the triangle in the background using the eyedropper tool (i).
Duplicate the lightening bolt. There are multiple ways to do this, but the easiest by far is by holding down “alt” and dragging the object to the side. This works in Photoshop and Indesign as well. Once you have the object duplicated, navigate to Object > Transform > Reflect and then choose vertical reflection. Now place the lightening bolt across from its counterpart.
Next we are going to alter one of the freebies from our vector_freebies file to create the ribbon around the neck of the guitar. Grab the following and paste it into your AI file.
Scale up 375% and move the ribbon off of the artboard. Since we are going to be editing the shape, it will be easier to work outside of the artboard on the surrounding area.
We only want our ribbon to wrap one time around the guitar, so we are going to use the eraser tool to remove the un-needed parts, which includes the area highlighted in red below:
Double click on the eraser tool in the Illustrator Toolbar to prompt a pop-up of eraser tool options. Change the angle to 90 degrees, roundness 10%, size 60 pt. I found these settings easiest for erasing the area, but you may prefer to play around with them.
The larger area will be easy to erase, but for the areas right up against the ribbon that we want to keep, carefully drag your eraser close to the line. I erased the difficult parts first, leaving my ribbon looking like this:
Since the area in the middle is now separated, you can delete it either using your eraser tool or by double clicking into the group and deleting just the middle section.
To finish off the ribbon shape, select it and ungroup the pieces once by navigating to Object > Ungroup. The bottom part will now be separate so that we can drag it up to connect with the top. Be wary, there is one stray line in the bottom ribbon that will now be separated. You can highlight the whole area and drag together or regroup them by selecting the bottom ribbon and the line and then grouping them with “ctrl/cmd + g.” Drag the combined bottom portion up until it sits against the top.
Group the ribbon pieces together and change the fill colour to R: 227 G: 67 B: 34.
Finally, before moving our ribbon onto the cover, we need to create a fill for the back. Here we are going to do some very simple pen tool work (no curves involved!). Select the pen tool (P) and click inside the upper ribbon’s line. Click around the entire upper ribbon piece until you have created a shape that fills the area. I’ve changed my fill colour to black so that you can see the shape I created.
Change your colour to the same red as the ribbon (if it isn’t already) and you will see that our shape doesn’t have to fit perfectly because the line of the ribbon will mask out the sharp edges we created.
Now we are going to create two more shapes to fill the other parts of the ribbon. They must be two separate shapes because they are going to have different fill colours, and therefore cannot be combined. These are what my shapes looked like filled with black:
Now, fill the bottom shape with the same red colour as the ribbon, and the middle shape with the orange colour we used on our rectangle (R: 242 G: 119 B: 82). For the orange colour, you will have to send the shape behind the ribbon so that the red line covers our shape edge and you can see the line decoration in the ribbon.
Move all of the components that make up your ribbon over onto your cover so that it sits near the top of the guitar neck.
Our ribbon is looking awesome, but appears to be sitting directly on top of the guitar and not wrapping around it. To fix this, first select the upper and lower red shapes we created in the ribbon and send them back until they sit behind the guitar neck (quick reminder- to send back one object at a time, click ctrl/cmd + [ and continue clicking until the object is located on the correct layer).
Now we are going to make use of the eraser tool to erase the portions of the ribbon that appear above the guitar. Select just the ribbon outline and use the eraser tool (at the same settings or you may prefer to change them up by double clicking the eraser) and carefully erase just the lines that overlap the guitar. The area that takes the most concentration is up against the middle section, as we still want that outline to show.
Remember you can always use the direct selection tool to move individual points if you really want to make the ribbon perfect. Since the style of the ribbon is already hand-done, the erasing job doesn’t have to be perfect to fit with the rest of the cover. Here is my finished ribbon, selected and unselected (incase you want to see my individual anchor points).
Now we finally get to start working with the incredible fonts from our bundle! The first font we are going to use, Vigneta is easily one of my favourites. Create a text box by selecting the type tool (T) and clicking and dragging to create a box. In 60 pt Vigneta, type “The” in the same colour as our background (R: 246 G: 225 B: 206) and place it in the upper left section of our ribbon.
One of the best things about this font is the extensive glyph collection it comes with. To select alternates for your letters, open up the glyph panel by navigating to Type > Glyphs. Now, you can highlight a letter in your word and click on the letter in the glyph panel you want to replace it with. I replaced my “T” and “E” to make the word fit within the ribbon space.
For the main section of the ribbon we are going to place our band name. After much deliberation I chose the name “The Zip-Up,” but I encourage you to come up with your own (it’s an extremely fun process, I ended up filling an entire sketchbook page with band names alone). Making the name fit will be a little tricky, so start out by typing it in the same 60 pt. Vigneta as we can always scale to fit later. Move it to the area around the artboard so that we can do some editing before placing it in its final spot.
I put my band name in all lower-case letters, and use the glyphs panel to customize the look.
Once you have the design you like, select the text and navigate to Text > Create Outlines. If you have the type tool selected when you try to create outlines, the option will be greyed out, so be sure to use the selection tool (V).
With the text selected, navigate to Object > Transform > Rotate. Now change the angle to 30 degrees to rotate the text. Move your band name to the top of the centre ribbon piece.
To make the name look a little more natural, we are going to shear the rotated text. Select the name and navigate to Object > Transform > Shear. Change the shear angle to 15 degrees and the axis to 15 degrees.
Scale your type up so that your band name fits snuggly in the ribbon space.
For the last of our ribbon type, use the same settings as before (background colour, 60 pt Vigneta) and type “in a” in all lowercase. I used the glyphs panel to change my letters out until they fit nicely in the lower ribbon area.
Next we are going to use more of the fonts in our bundle to complete the text inside our guitar. These words are going to flow in a circular pattern, which will require that we use type on a path. To create our path, first duplicate the circle from the centre of the guitar. Scale the duplicate up 200% and make sure its centre remains in the same location as the smaller circle.
Change the path of the circle so that there is no fill and the circle has a black stroke around it (size of the stroke doesn’t matter, so I went with 5 pt. to make it more visible).
Before we can type on the circle’s path, we have to break the shape. Using the scissors tool (C) cut at the top and left anchor point on the circle (highlighted in red below). Then delete the 3/4 of the circle that we just separated.
Select the type tool and hover over the lower left end of the remaining segment until you see the tool change to a wave. This means you are able to type on the path. Click to begin and type the word “LIVE” in Les Fruits 100 pt. in the same tan colour as our other type (R: 246 G: 225 B: 206).
Choose centred text so that it appears in the centre of the curve. If you did not click in the far left end of the stroke you may have to change the starting point of your text using the direct selection tool and clicking and dragging the line highlighted in my example below.
NOTE: If your text is appearing upside down (or not appearing at all) you may need to edit your type on a path options. To do this, select your text and navigate to Type > Type on a Path > Type on a Path Options. This window will allow you to flip your text if necessary.
For the next few words on our guitar we are going to use a very similar process. Duplicate the inner circle (keeping the duplicate’s centre in the same location) and scale it up 145 degrees. Get rid of the fill and change the stroke to black 5 pt.
Cut the same section out as before and delete it.
Use type on a path to type the word “recording” in Stylist Pro Regular 52 pt. Leave the text left aligned this time instead of centred.
The type on a path is changing the spacing of our text, so that the Stylist Pro script that we just used is no longer connecting as it should. To fix this, select your text and open up the Character panel by navigating to Window > Type > Character. Change the tracking to -65 to move the letters closer together.
Create another text box and in Silhouette Bold 35 pt. text type “FROM.” Make sure that your tracking is back at zero, as it will usually automatically retain the last settings (which we put at -65). For the colour, use R: 169 G: 146 B: 125. Then place the word at the base of the guitar neck.
Duplicate the circle again and scale the duplicate to 180%, removing the fill and adding a stroke. This time cut the upper and right most point, deleting the 3/4 remaining.
Using the type tool click on the very top point of the stroke. With the text right aligned (leaving extra space for the word “FROM” that we typed previously) type the word “London” in 90 pt. Vigneta with the same tan colour from the background and previous text. I used the Glyphs panel to change the middle letter “N.”
Duplicate the middle circle again, this time scaling to 125%. Repeat the same process that we just used with the circle in “London.”
Now, use the font WildFire and in 30 pt. type “GARDENS” using the tan colour we used in “London.” I used the glyphs panel to change out the “N” because the default was a little too hard to read on a curve.
For our final type on a path, duplicate the middle circle one last time. This time, scale it up 125%, changing the fill to empty and adding a stroke.
Cut the circle at the left and right points, and delete the top half of the circle.
Click on the left most part of the stroke, and with the type centred put “We won’t go” in Roasters Original 45 pt. Change the colour of this text to the same brown as the word “FROM” (R: 169 G: 146 B: 125).
At this point in my building process, my text appeared upside down as I warned of previously. If you are having this same issue, navigate to Type > Type on a Path > Type on a Path Options. Check “Flip.”
Regardless of whether or not your text appeared upside down, open up the type on a path options and change “Align to Path” to “Ascender” so that the text hangs beneath the stroke. Change the spacing to 9 pt. to spread out the text.
At this point, I changed my letter “G” to Roasters Alternative so that I could use the glyph with the extended descender.
For our final piece of text, create a text box (no circle this time!) and type “Quietly” in Highbinder Rough 65 pt. text. Make the colour match the background in the light tan. Place the text underneath “We won’t go.”
Finally, open up the character window and change the tracking to 115.
Our next step will be adding vectors and decorations to our design. Open up your vector_freebies file if you haven’t already, as we will be using it extensively for the next section.
First, let’s place our main element, the fist from our vector_freebies file.
Place the fist in your AI file and scale up 175%. Change the colour to the same red from our ribbon (R: 227 G: 67 B: 34) and place it so that it extends into the circle of the guitar like so:
Next we need to create a clipping mask so that we don’t see the bottom portion of the fist. To do this, we are going to have to repeat our favourite step from this tutorial- duplicating the circle in the centre (only one last time, I promise)! Select the circle and duplicate it on top of the fist.
Now, select both the fist and the circle. Then, navigate to Object > Clipping Mask > Make.
Next, grab the small lightening bolt from the vector_freebies file.
Place it in your AI file, this time scaling down to 80%. Then, rotate -17 degrees and place it directly above the ribbon that crosses over the neck of the guitar. Change the colour to R: 169 G: 146 B: 125.
Select the same lightening bolt and change the opacity to 30%.
Duplicate the lightening bolt and reflect it horizontally and then vertically (you will have to re-navigate to reflect two times). Place it opposite its counterpart underneath the ribbon.
Next, copy and paste the following element from the vector_freebies file.
Paste the element so that it overlaps with the word “FROM” and scale up 175%.
Double click on the element we just placed to enter the group. Then, delete the following pieces:
Change the colour of the element to the same shade and opacity as our small lightening bolts by using the eyedropper tool (i).
Now, grab the following freebie from the vector_freebies file.
No need to scale, simply place the vector and rotate 145 degrees. Place it in the empty area to the right of “LIVE.”
Change the colour to R: 169 G: 146 B: 125 and this time set the opacity to 15%.
Duplicate the element we just placed and reflect it 160 degrees. Place it on the opposite side of “LIVE.”
Return to your vector_freebies file and choose the following element:
Scale up 150% and change the colour to the light tan from the background. Place it so that it bleeds out of the centre circle on the left-hand side. Send it backward until it is behind the fist.
Duplicate the arrow and reflect it so that it sits opposite protruding from the right of the circle.
Choose the next item from the vector_freebies file.
No need to scale, just change the colour to R: 169 G: 146 B: 125 and opacity to 15%. Place the item to the left of “we won’t go” and then duplicate it and reflect it horizontally across the way.
Return to vector_freebies and choose the following flourish:
Place the flourish underneath the element on the left-hand side, with the same colour, but the opacity at 35%. Duplicate it, reflect it, and place it on the left-hand side.
Finally, return to the vector_freebies file and choose the following element one last time.
Place it in your AI file and rotate it 90 degrees. Then, double click to enter the group and delete the bottom piece of the element. Place the remaining two pieces to the right of “Quietly,” with the colour matching the brown from “We won’t go” (R: 169 G: 146 B: 125). Duplicate it and reflect it on the opposite side.
For our last section we are going to be applying texture to our record cover. For this, we will be moving into Photoshop. Create a new PSD with the same specifications as our AI file:
Now, we need to copy over our files from Illustrator. Instead of copying them all at once, we are going to move them over in groups so that we can apply different textures to different items.
First, copy and paste your tan background layer. Since our objects were created at the same size as our PSD, you can copy over as either pixels or a smart object.
I always name my layers as I go, since it can get pretty confusing with multiple layers in Photoshop. For instance, I named the tan square “tan background.”
For our first layer of texture, download this Vintage Paper from PixaBay and place it on top of the tan background in your PSD. Rotate the image 180 degrees and scale up to fit the background like so:
Set the blending mode of the texture image to “overlay.”
Now, we are going to create a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer by clicking the “create new fill or adjustment layer” drop down menu at the bottom of the layers panel (the button is a half-filled circle). Set the saturation at 0% and clip the adjustment layer to the texture.
For our next element, copy over the brown triangle from the background of our AI file and move it to the appropriate location.
Download this Light Beam Image from PixaBay and place it on the top half of the record cover with the blending mode set to “soft light.”
Now, create and clip another Hue/Saturation adjustment layer with the Saturation set at 0% to the light beam image.
Copy over the orange element from behind the guitar into your AI and move it to the bottom of the PSD file.
To bring a subtle human element into our record cover, download this Concert Audience Image from PixaBay and place it on top of the orange layer. I scaled mine up a bit so that the people at the bottom were slightly larger.
Now, create a Hue/Saturation layer above the crowd with a Saturation set at 0%. Since we are going to be clipping our image to the orange layer we just placed, we have to merge the Hue/Saturation adjustment layer with the crowd image so that it doesn’t turn the orange to grey as well. To merge two layers, select them both and hit “ctrl/cmd + E” or select “Merge Layers” from the layer’s panel drop down menu. Once you have your adjustment layer and crowd image merged, clip the crowd image to the orange shape.
Change the blending mode of the crowd image to “soft light” and the opacity to 45%.
Now we are going to download one more crowd image to blend in to the bottom of our record cover. Download this Concert Image courtesy of Unsplash and place it on the bottom half of your PSD.
Now, repeat the same steps as our last crowd image. Create a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer with the Saturation at 0% and merge it with the concert image. Then, clip the image to the orange shape, set the blending mode to “soft light” and the opacity to 45%.
Copy over the clipped guitar layer from your AI file into your PSD. You may have to scale up as Photoshop will automatically scale the entire clipped image to fit.
The last texture we are going to download is this Yellow Paper Texture from PixaBay. Place it in your PSD and rotate it so that it sits long-ways on the page.
As we did with the crowd images, create a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer with the saturation at 0% and merge it with the paper. Then, clip the paper to the guitar layer with the blending mode set to “multiply.”
Next we are going to copy over the ribbon elements. First, copy over the two solid shapes we made for the back red of the ribbon. These must be placed behind the guitar in our PSD so that they don’t cover the guitar.
Now we can copy the other ribbon elements together and place them on top of the guitar layer.
For the ribbon texture we are going to reuse the first texture we downloaded for our Tan Background. To do this, duplicate or place another copy of the first texture above the ribbon back. Then, as we have been doing for our textures, merge it with a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer with saturation at 0%. Then, clip it to the ribbon back and set the blending mode to “overlay.”
Repeat this same process for the front of the ribbon. The easiest way to duplicate the texture from the back of the ribbon and clip it to the front is by dragging the layer up while holding down “alt.” Because the front of the ribbon is a lighter colour, change the opacity of the texture to 30%.
The next elements we are going to place are the lightening bolts from either side of our background. Copy them over from your AI file and scale them up so that they still bleed off of the side. Then, set their blending mode to “colour burn” with the opacity at 65%.
Almost there! Now, copy over all of the remaining elements from your AI file including the text and flourishes from the guitar. This can all be done in one copy & paste action since we will not need to apply separate textures to these elements.
For an all-over texture element, duplicate the yellow paper texture that we currently have clipped to the guitar and place it on top of all of our layers. Scale it up to fit the page and change the opacity to 40%.
To add a grunge feel to our cover, locate and place LesFruits_Splatters.png from your freebie folder and scale to fill the page. Set the blending mode to “soft light” and the opacity to 20%.
Now, at the top of our layers, create a Brightness/Contrast layer with the brightness set at 25 and the contrast at 30.
For one last effect we are going to add some blue tones to our record cover by adding a Colour Balance adjustment layer with -10 on the Cyan/Red scale and +15 on the Yellow/Blue scale.
And we’re done!
The finished design packs a punch (literally) of typography and style! Hopefully you had as much fun as I did and learned a few new tips and tricks.
Remember to share your designs on the Facebook page too, as we love being inspired by the way you make these tutorials your own.
I hope this tutorial inspires you to combine the fonts from this wonderful bundle to create designs of your own! Remember to purchase yours for an amazing 98% off before time runs out!
26 Lovely Comments from our Community: