I recently rediscovered this project after going through some older files that I had lying around. This might have been the first CD design that I had made for someone other than any one of my own bands. The Reckless Hearts were an awesome power pop mod band from Milwaukee that operated during the latter half of the early 2000’s. By far, they were one of my favorite local bands. The song writing was top notch, the overall sound had a great punch, and they really put on an exciting show. They were certainly a little more polished than most of the bands that Milwaukee produced. At least from the basement culture standpoint. They were punk, but they had slickness to them that seemed to set them apart from the lo-fi bash bash punk that was really popular at the time.
Off the Hip Records out of Australia had agreed to put out their full length and my buddy Thomas who fronted the Hearts asked me for some design input. I had never done a CD layout of this magnitude before so it was a big learning experience. It taught me the finer points of working within a template and to pay attention to how the files needed to be prepared for printing. These things are like second nature to me now, but back then, it was all really new.
I honestly can’t remember the initial direction of this project. Thomas had a variety of other covers that he really liked and I tried to take as much from them as possible. Most notably, there were some Buzzcocks singles in there that was really appealing. I think we tried to follow that sort of late 70’s pop art angle. Whatever that may be. From there, I just tried to create a really eye catching cover that would appeal to the mod punk audience. I used some cool blues and some stark black and white imagery. The pictures really seemed to pop off that background color.
The band provided nearly hundreds of photos too. So it was a a little time consuming to go through them and pick out the ones that would work best in this layout. Thomas helped out big time in weeding out all the photos that we ended up not using.
The halftone effect was something that I had always cherished, so it was no surprise that I would try and incorporate it here. I was also a big fan of type that was specialized or unique to it’s branding counterpart. In this example because there was so much text to include, I chose a simple font and then rounded all the edges in illustrator to give it a specialized spin. It was sort of a cheat outside of actually creating my own font.
The rounded edge shapes used for the background also hinted at that sort of 60’s pop art kind of motif. As conservative as the initial layout was, it does have a nice inviting warm feeling. It’s playful without coming off too kitschy.