Album Design Inspiration: the FUTURALBUM Collaborative Design Project

Album Design Inspiration

If you’re a fan of the ‘Zine, Cleveland’s best website designers, Go Media, and Weapons of Mass Creation Fest, you’ve heard the name Troy DeShano. No stranger to the design community, Strong Odors Artist and Illustrator, Troy is constantly creating, collaborating.

A few of his projects include the Old and New Project, a growing biblical art and design collection he runs with fellow artist and designer Jim Lepage, a photography project highlighting his cancer diagnosis and journey, and speaking engagements including his recent time on the Weapons of Mass Creation Fest stages.

Troy’s most recent work, a collaborative design project called FUTURALBUM, invites top international graphic designers to contribute re-imagined cover art for any album they choose. The goal of the project is to give the artists an opportunity to design something “just for fun” – a rare treat for those of us often bogged down with design work tasks.

Let’s check in with Troy, as well as some of his contributors, who will tell us a little more about this exciting project.

Designs by Pope Saint Victor | Jim LePage | Ben Stafford
Designs by Pope Saint Victor | Jim LePage | Ben Stafford


I’m not sure exactly what “inspired” FUTURALBUM, other than the fact that when I first discovered Flickr’s Internet Archive Book Images it blew me away.

I definitely wasn’t planning to start another personal project. The last thing I needed was one more distraction with no paycheck to show for it. But some recent soul searching had shifted my focus into music design, and here was this super cool resource I wanted to share with all my peers—so the idea just kind of grew out of that.

I had enough experience running Old & New with Jim LePage over the past few years, I knew how much time a project like that requires from both organizers and contributors. So I decided to keep it very, very simple. Invite friends, collect designs, post designs. That’s it.

I just wanted FUTURALBUM to be fun.

Designs by Laura Medina | Kelsey Dake | Christine Herrin
Designs by Laura Medina | Kelsey Dake | Christine Herrin

With constant anxiety around client approval, and growing peer pressure to always create hand-drawn lettering, illustrations or even your own fonts for every single project, I thought this could be a great outlet for a bunch of us to create something just for fun—like we did before graphic design became “work.”

I give each contributor great freedom to create the art they want. They choose the album, and can do multiple designs if they feel inspired. Some get a kick out of throwing a bunch together in an hour, while others invest major time into a single album cover design. By adding a few simple but strict “rules,” it challenges each to exercise that creative muscle in the way only possible when working with limited resources.

My favorite Milton Glaser quote: “The next time you see a sixteen-color, blind-embossed, gold-stamped, die-cut, elaborately folded and bound job, printed on handmade paper, see if it isn’t a mediocre idea trying to pass for something else”

When I set out to do a painting, I know it would be easier if I had this nice big canvas with which to begin, but I have the extreme limitation of my non-existent budget. In fact, I’m totally broke and can’t justify spending even a dollar on paint or brushes or especially canvas. So I draw from that folk-art spirit and just create the best work I can using whatever happens to be nearby.

Designs by Clint McManaman | Shane Harris | Doc Reed
Designs by Clint McManaman | Shane Harris | Doc Reed

What is really amazing, and I know most fellow creatives can attest is how those limitations naturally force me to be creative. We just sadly forget it sometimes, because we imagine eliminating the frustration with added resources will make the work easier—and therefore better.

Here’s another case where “life imitates art,” right? We imagine the benefits associated with more money, fancier phones, faster food, and less work will make life easier—and therefore better. What we’re really doing, however, is robbing ourselves of the conflict, the struggle, the wrestling that makes life interesting and fun and exciting and worth living. It’s in the act of overcoming (or struggling with others to overcome), in which we discover purpose and joy and satisfaction.

It would be a lot easier to paint on an actual canvas, but would that resource miss the inspired quality I might unearth by nailing a bunch of boards together for mine?

Of course for all this talk of the valuable impact of limitations to spur creativity, I’m a firm believer that rules are obviously made to be broken. Can’t wait to see the exciting ways the rules of FUTURALBUM are challenged by these incredible artists this year!

Check out the designs and short interviews with the designers below:

Album Design Inspiration

Tame Impala, Lonerism
Design by Karen Kurycki

Go Media: What inspired you to create your piece?
“I love this album by Tame Impala. Their music is defined as “Psychedelic rock” and reminds me of something you might listen to while tripping on acid in the 70s (not that I’ve experienced an acid trip in the 70s) but you can imagine what it might be like if you did. I wanted something that conveyed the idea of floating through space or a tunnel; or like the way a kaleidoscope works—with multi-colors and dimensions—so when I was searching for an image in the Flickr album I was looking for something that might reflect that idea. I stumbled upon this picture which was actually some sort of cellular/amoeba structure and thought it might work perfectly, so I combined it with some of my watercolors and multiplied the layers in Photoshop. I had a lot of fun working on it, thank you Troy for inviting me to participate!” – Karen Kurycki

Album Design Inspiration

Youth Lagoon, The Year of Hibernation
Design by Liz Schaeffer

Go Media: What inspired you to create your piece?
“I think the nostalgia, that listening to this album always give me, was my first source of inspiration. The album, The Year of Hibernation, totally brings me back to a winter where I was hibernating in my apartment and binging Trevor Power’s (Youth Lagoon) music.”

In what ways does music inspire you as a designer?
“I have tendency of indulging in genres of music at a time and what is most inspiring while doing so, is how an on going playlist can help me get into a flow state while I am designing, drawing, whatever the task at hand may be – it helps me lose track of time, in the best way.” 

How did limitations spur creativity in this project for you?
“I actually love having limitations while designing – it is like solving a puzzle. Troy’s limitations, especially, I think prompted some really great and unexpected results, which leads me into the next question..”

What what most exciting for you in this process?
“Using Flickr’s Internet Archive Book Images was exciting for me. First, to search around through what in the collection resonated with me and my nostalgia with the album. Then, figuring out a way to manipulate these photos of concrete things (in my case, old landscape photos) into the abstract disposition that the album and winter, gives me.” –  Liz Schaeffer

Album Design Inspiration

Flaming Lips, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
Design by Anne Ulku

Go Media: In what ways does music inspire you as a designer?
“Music creates a visual language in my mind. When listening, I imagine abstract graphics, colors, or patterns that might associated with the sounds or story of the lyrics. Music is a way to stretch my imagination as a designer. Even if the design may not be fully executed, listening is still a good creative exercise.” – Anne Ulku


Ellie Goulding, Bright Lights
Design by Christine Gerhart

Go Media: How did limitations spur creativity in this project for you?
“The limitation of this project pushed me to strip away all that was unnecessary and get to the essence of what I felt the album was about. It was harder than I expected, but once I finished once design, I couldn’t wait to do another one.” – Christine Gerhart


Radiohead, In Rainbows
Design by Margot Harrington

Go Media: What inspired you to create the piece?
“I actually got stuck on the idea of Radiohead being such a mecca for designers, like it was an obvious choice. BUT. The title “In Rainbows” immediately felt like it could be all sorts of images, and I was excited to play with something colorful like a rainbow, so that’s why I decided to work with this album in the end.” – Margot Harrington 


Gregory Alan Isakov, Songs for October
Design by Nick Evans

Go Media: What inspired you to create your piece?
I have such a wide scope of music taste that it was hard to really nail down an album cover that I wanted to refresh with my design. So what I did was cycle through my Spotify list and found some artist that I have been listening to for a while and looked at their artwork and was like, “Hey, this could look a little better if we went with this.” One of the things about this project was that there were two things that were required, using the photos from the Flickr album and the font Futura, which is one of my all time favorites. So with that in mind it was a matter of finding those images that I thought could go together and really go great with the album of choice. It took a while to search through the site, but I landed on a couple that I knew in my mind that they would work. I put the album on and started putting it together. The music really helped in the process as well, especially in the coloring.

Go Media: In what ways does music inspire you as a designer?
Music does a LOT for me when I design. It really sets the mood and pace of my creative runs. Like I said I have a wide range of taste of music and so it really kind of depends on what mood I am in. Right now I am in a rock funk, so its a lot of hard hitting stuff, and that really gets the juices flowing. I would say it’s a big part, because there is not a time that I am not doing work and not listening to tunes. Its not cool not having music playing…just not right.

Go Media: How did limitations spur creativity in this project for you?
I think it really helped narrow the focus a TON. Not saying that I don’t like creating something new, but with this one, it harked back to one of my favorite design “genres” of using classic or old artwork. Growing up and becoming a designer I always enjoy seeing how other designers used classic photos and images with album art or ads, or whatever. So this was like a dream project for me. I embraced everything about this project’s limitations.

Go Media: What was most exciting for you in this process?
I think it was being a part of a community of designers that I look up to or envy and see my work next to theirs. You have to respect those who inspire you. It made my day when I had some fellow designers recommend me for the project, I couldn’t thank them enough for doing that. So I just am so honored to be on this page. I have always wanted to participate in a community design project, so this has been an EPIC experience. I also really loved the part when they tweeted out the link and said that the artwork was up on the site. I was like, YES, and the other great thing that they are doing is including the artist of the album as well. Very sweet! I think that is great of them to do that, might lead to other opportunities for the artist to maybe get noticed or be able to do some work. Two fold.


Killer Mike, R.A.P. Music
Design by David Sizemore

Go Media: What inspired you to create your piece?
“My inspiration was primarily informed by the volume of visual assets I needed to acquire. Because I wanted to do more than just a cover, I needed a series of images that would compliment each other.”

In what ways does music inspire you as a designer?
“I normally can’t listen to albums I’m not extremely familiar with unless I’m doing rote production work. I only have a dozen albums I “design to,” augmented by songs I’ll listen to on repeat for hours. So when music inspires me, it happens distinctly away from the design process. I like it that way.”

How did limitations spur creativity in this project for you?
“Limitations are great. When you don’t have to consider your typeface, you can focus on layout and composition. I was able to find base images and produce all my pieces in just a couple hours because the boundaries honed and expedited the process.”

What was most exciting for you in this process?
“Freedom from client input combined with a clear brief excited me. It was an exercise, and exercises can be very rewarding when approached with the right mindset.” – David Sizemore



Rancid...And Out Come the Wolves
Design by Alex Griendling (alexlikesdesign)

Go Media: What what most exciting for you in this process?
“The most exciting aspect was Troy allowing me to make three separate covers for Rancid’s “…And Out Come the Wolves”. I enjoyed making my first cover so much and thought it’d be an interesting challenge to make two additional versions, much as you would with any design project. It’s great that Troy designed Futuralbum to have a minimal amount of requirements, allowing designers the room to bring their own ideas to the project.” – Alex Griendling

For more Troy: Strong Odors | Facebook | Twitter
Follow FUTURALBUM: Official Site (Tumblr) | Twitter | Instagram

Inspiration for Graphic Designers: July 2014 Flickr Pool Showcase

Inspiration for Graphic Designers: July 2014 Flickr Pool Showcase

Hey Everyone! We’re so excited to show off our next round of outstanding Flickr Pool Showcase Designs: awesome inspiration for graphic designers like you!

Interested in Joining?

If you are new to the Flickr Pool Showcase, check out the instructions below for how to sign up.

  1. Login to your Flickr Account (sign up if you don’t have one)
  2. Join the Go Media User Showcase Group (only group members can contribute)
  3. Upload your designs to your own profile
  4. Make sure to allow us to actually embed these image into a post, not just link to them. This can be done from your Flickr settings.
  5. Click on your newly uploaded designs then click the button “send to group” above your image and choose the Go Media group.

The July Showcase


Go green
You are what you eat
Way to heaven.
Thought Ballune
Gothic poster design tutorial - Details

Daedal Strip
Superbike Racer


Singing in the rain
IKEA - Families & Apartments Advertising Campaign Illustration - Isometric Pixel Art by Rod Hunt
Panakota's trip
Retro, quote based poster design process with the complete vintage arsenal bundle - Detail

Go Media Flickr pool showcase August 2013

Flickr Pool Showcase – August 2013

Hey Everyone! We’ve been super busy here around the GoMediaZine, but we’re happy to bring back the ever popular Flickr pool showcase!  We promise to make it a monthly staple if you promise to keep your designs coming!  Here’s how to join, followed by our picks for the month of August. Enjoy!

Interested in Joining

If you are new to the Flickr Pool Showcase, check out the instructions below for how to sign up.

  1. Login to your Flickr Account (sign up if you don’t have one)
  2. Join the Go Media User Showcase Group (only group members can contribute)
  3. Upload your designs to your own profile
  4. Click on your newly uploaded designs then click the button “send to group” above your image and choose the Go Media group.

The August Showcase


Brooklyn Spin by Jay Roeder
Brooklyn Spin

Space Oddity by Robert Williams
Space Oddity

Monstro do dia by Cláudio Soares
Monstro do dia

Untitled by Simon Walker

Queen of Hearts by Dennis Bennett

Fly by Marcus Williamson

Win? by vaughnfender

Rasta Lion by Marcos Torres
Rasta Lion

Adrift by Donna Coburn


Set the Lion on fire by Raxon Rex
Set the lion on fire

Industry by Matt Lyon

Contos | Tales by Dalt’s
Contos | Tales

A World of Cute by Jerrod Maruyama
A World of Cute

Summer Sun by Nico Nordström
Summer Sun

Mamut Party by Oscar Ospina

Three Little Hyenas by Pavel Fuksa


Out there #2 by Ricardo Freire
Out there #2

Devil 3 by Miguels Little Corner

Day and Night by Addu
Day and Night

Keep Growing by Ines Jakovljević
keep growing

The Joker by No
bocetando / sketching

Rain Rain by Jason Stanley
Rain Rain

Gatástrofe, como era de esperarse, digna, ni me maulló, y seguía agachada bajo el mueble by InnitaGatástrofe, como era de esperarse, digna, ni me maulló, y seguía agachada bajo el mueble.

Dead Threads by Michael Spitz

Torino by shikotorino1

Torino 2 by shikotorino002

Torino 3 by shikotorino003

Spitfire by Michael Spitz

TSAW/2013.28 by Jean Mosambi
TSAW/2013.28 • Kara Toprak

Shadow’s Ruin by Hector Mansilla
Shadow's Ruin

Heart in a Cage by Jaaaiiro Souza
Heart in a Cage

Lemon Millenium Falcon by Justin Van Genderen
Lemon Millennium Falcon

21 by Gilang Purnama Jaya21

Marlin Stippling by Cory Jones
Marlin Stippling

I can feel my mind going dave by Chris ThornleyI can feel my mind going dave

Panther 1 by miguelsLittleCorner

Johnny D by Jerrod Maruyama
Johnny D

Direwolf 5 by miguelsLittleCorner

Teen Angels by Neal McCullough
Teen Angels

The Burn by Marcus Williamsontheburn

Mase by Maxi Vargas
m a s e

Inglourious Basterds Movie Poster by Mark Hylan
Movie Poster - Inglourious Basterds

Wolverine by Jaaaiiro SouzaWolverine

Black Swan Illustration by Geordan Moore
Nearly done. #blackswan #art #illustration #mangastudio

The Great Gatsby by Daniel Norri
The Great Gatsby by Daniel Norris - @DanKNorris on Twitter.

Road Trip by Laurie McCall
Road Trip

Light Shards by Jim Keaton
Light Shards

Le Dottore by Jaaaiiro Souza
Le Dottore

Untitled by Simon WalkerUntitled

Cafe Racer by Michael Spitz

Ugh! by blaquemoose

The time is now! Login to your Flickr Account, jump onto our Go Media User Showcase Group and get going! We want you to be a part of our next showcase!  See you soon!

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Go Media’s Flickr pool showcase – April 2011

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you… The April 2011 Go Media Flickr Pool Showcase (dramatic music, such as this on repeat for instance, is to be played in the background while reading this sentence)!

Once again, yours truly went through the 9430+ items of the pool from 1709 members (as I’m writing this) to extract the good stuff. Which is hard, since I sometimes would love to be able to post all of the pool, because 99% of it would deserve a spot here.

Hamerhead Skulls- Skateboard deck

Briefcase 2.0

| FORM B |

Like The Pot Telling The Kettle.

Get Band

But we're trash

When I was just a baby my mama told me.

| FORM A |

Spray on Jeans


SUGBO 001 : Bantayan Sa Hari


109/365 - The All Day Everyday Project

Daltonismo - Série Hexadecimal

Daltonismo - Série Hexadecimal

Daltonismo - Série Hexadecimal

Daltonismo - Série Hexadecimal

Word: Crucifixion (Eloi, Eloi)

Keep calm and eat sablés

I Shoot People.

Proposal covers for magazine +81 - not accepted

Proposal covers for magazine +81- not accepted

earth, it's what we all have in common.


type Sunday


Ministry Of Silly Walks

112/365 - The All Day Everyday Project

note to self

Earth Day 2011, #Quakebook


Delusion (Exposition artwork)

Senator Retreat T-Shirt

Familiar Ground





Sacred Geometry

Edgar Allan Poe  X K17GRAFX

The Paramedic CD Release (Alternate Flier)


Flusso  in rilievo

Flusso  in rilievo




HQ- Projeto em andamento!

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World - Mock Poster - Updated/Vector Version

Nike Air: Molecule

Nike: Los Angeles 1984 poster


Immortal Mission

We Will Harvest


A City Called Murder

Dysfunction IV

Mux Mool Poster

Twitter background headphones


Barefoot at the Belmont Poster


Infográfico U2 - palco 360º

Underground Love

SAoS - Project 52.13 - Pink Safari by Pamela Hute

SAoS - Project 52.14 - Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons

SAoS - Project 52.14 - Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons - Alt

SAoS - Project 52.15 - Scott Pilgrim by Bryan Lee O'Malley

SAoS - Project 52.16 - Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson

Et voilà! I hope you enjoy this month’s selection as much as I enjoyed making it.

Go Media’s Flickr Pool Showcase – September 2010

Hello there! My name is Simon. You’ve probably met me electronically through the links I post on the Go Media and Arsenal Facebook pages: I sign ^SBH. Anyway.

The good folks at Go Media and I were thinking that there’s a need to showcase all the goodness that the contributors of the Go Media Flickr Pool are creating. After a non satisfactory attempt using the RSS feed and some automatic posting on the Arsenal’s Facebook page, we decided to settle on a showcase/roundup that would be monthly published on the Zine (as it used to be done before). And they asked me to write it, which is pretty awesome. Anyway.

There are no real “rules” as how to be selected. Just post good work :-) When I select stuff, I try to be as diverse and eclectic as possible.

Baetulona | Carpe Noctem
Baetulona | Carpe Noctem by MikeFr

Knowledge by freshfauxx

MF Skull poster
MF Skull poster by MikeFr

Dont Sleep
Dont Sleep by Beadlerworks

Time for a change
Time for a change by Beadlerworks

Monster of The Month 10 Monster of The Month 10 by #rua309

Pool Balls
Pool Balls by Jordan Kauffman

OtherSpace by hiDobrado

Hitler by jeff_finley

tri-tri again baby
tri-tri-again baby by dillill

unclesam by visual80

Echo Echo
Echo Echo by designbyrds

I really hope you liked that “Chapter #00” of the Go Media Flickr Pool showcase. See you in September for the Chapter #01!

User Showcase Highlight Round 14

Since the last User Showcase Highlight post the Go Media User Showcase Pool has ballooned from 1142 images to 4,672! Our members are up to a healthy 1181 and growing.

After browsing through dozens of pages of great submissions, two stood out among the crowd.

All Good Things

by: Michel Bütepage (aka kid grandios)
Congratulations Michel Bütepage!

Michel did a great job with this poster; thoughtful hand-made type that fit the subject matter sold me. I wanted to know a little more about the artist, so I tracked Michel down to ask him a few short questions:

GoMediaZine:Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where do you live? Work? School?

Michel: I’m a 19 years old graphic designer from Bremen, Germany. After 13 years of education I finished school, and accomplished the diploma from German secondary school, qualifying me for university admission or matriculation. By now I’m working as a freelance designer under the Design Core label.

GoMediaZine: How did you become interested in design?

Michel: I started working on graphic designs since 2007 after doing some minor projects like invitations or party flyers.
However I always loved art and design especially artworks, covers and poster-prints. Soon I got more involved in design by creating some personal art prints and wallpapers.

Before I started working with Photoshop I got a collection of 5 to 10 small programs to do different styles of art. Doing some tutorials I learned to handle the different possibilities of Photoshop CS3. After a long time of practice I decided to publish my work on different design networks like flickr.

GoMediaZine: Are you actively freelancing now? What are some of your latest projects?

My latest projects are a Design Core wall print with a new logo presentation and some personal poster designs. Most of my work is already printed and available as a full-size poster.
By now I’m creating personal work to upgrade my portfolio.

Cartaz Drops

by: Guilherme Dossin
Cartaz Drops

Guilherme did a great job using a limited color pallet and communicating some strong emotions in this piece. My only suggestion would be to decrease the size of the logo tag at the bottom & make it a flat instead of embossed.

I tried to contact Guilherme for an interview like Michel’s, but I was unsuccessful. Guilherme, if you see this drop me a line!

Congratulations to Michel and Guilherme, great job! Also, everyone that’s submitting to the User Showcase is producing good work; it’s been difficult to pick out pieces to showcase here on the GoMediaZine. Keep up the good work!

User Showcase Highlight 13

Somehow a whole half a year has zipped by since the last User Showcase Highlight Post, and that is a travesty. In the meantime you’ve more than doubled the number of images (now weighing in at 2,481) and gained 321 more members.

Here’s a selection of the pieces that caught my eye after flicking through a few dozen pages of artwork submitted by the cool folks in the Showcase Pool.

Revelation 5:5
by arg1986

go media user showcase highlight

This first image is my favorite image of a great series of similar works by arg1986. Yes, it may feature grunge, but I think it all comes across very purposeful. I also enjoyed the presentation; much less tired than the artist holding the poster up to cover his or her face.

Regarde-moi! by mike-friederich

user showcase image 3
This second selection is a great illustration and t-shirt mockup by mike-friederich. It’s the little things about this design that I enjoy – the time spent on the fine linework of the furry dude, the frenden-esque wood grain, the green light from the crazy eyes bouncing off the fingers.


If you get the chance, check out Mike’s full portfolio, but be prepared for your retinas to explode into overload mode.

Honorable Mention

go media user showcase highlight image 2
I like the colors & tangible movement surrounding the eyeball in this piece, but I could do without the swirl background & hastily applied typography. Still, Psicodelicia stood out among the images around it.

Congratulations to everyone who is part of the showcase! What does everyone else think about these selections?