• Becky Clee

Thought Process: Muse 'Origin of Symmetry' Album Re-Design

Hello Everyone!

During first year Visual Communication at university, I was tasked with re-designing an album of my choosing using images and I instantly knew I wanted to re-design Muse's 'Origin of Symmetry'. Designed utilising Adobe InDesign, my intention was to capture both the theme / sound of the album, but also my listening experience; which was challenging at first, as I wanted to produce an aesthetically pleasing composition that encapsulated all of my ideas.

Upon completion, this design is certainly one of my favourite pieces that I have created as I managed to achieve everything that I intended and brought the ideas I had to life. However, as every design has layers of meaning injected into them that may not necessarily be obvious, I wanted to share with you my thought process behind the design.

When creating my album design for 'Origin of Symmetry' by Muse, I wanted to encapsulate the idea of my own listening experience, but also the style of the album – which ultimately has a space-like, futuristic feel.

In this design specifically, I opted for it to look as realistic as possible by using photos that were all sourced from Unsplash of both the moon and an astronaut, with a black galaxy background sourced from Freepik to represent the idea that when listening to the album it takes you away to your own space – as a form of escapism. However, whilst the design was balanced overall, I decided to place the astronaut at an angle, only on the left-hand side of my design. I believe this worked well as it added a creative flare due to the fact that not only was it placed at an angle, but it broke the idea of the design being symmetrical - contrasting with the album's title. I also used shape in this design too to convey the idea of ‘being in the zone’ when listening to the album. I decided to create a square, with no fill but a white stroke to create a border around the edge of the cover. My intention of this was that the border frames the content, which encourages the audience to focus solely on the design. Finally, I also included a large version of the band’s logo at the top of my design, in order for it to be eye-catching to the audience and to ensure that they notice that the album is by Muse first of all. In terms of colours with both the images and font faces, I went with a black and white colour scheme as not only does it look formal, but the contrast of the colours is striking and looks dynamic. Furthermore, the colour scheme is often associated with space. On the whole, I feel the overall composition works well as despite being relatively simplistic, it reflects the idea of being alone in space. In addition, due to the positioning of the elements, in the rule of thirds, it also encourages the order that the audience should 'read' the album, which is to read the logo first, due to how large it is, followed by the title, then to look at the image as a whole.

As for the font face used, I used the sans-serif font ‘Prism’, which is essentially symmetrical lines that make up the letters. I felt as though this was suitable as it reflected the title ‘Origin of Symmetry’. In addition to this, as the font looked ultra-modern, it assisted with the futuristic feel that I was aiming for, yet it also had a retro-feel to it which I felt was fitting due to having listened to the album for many years. I also used this font for the track-listing on the back of the album, in order to ensure consistency. To add emphasis to this text, and to reflect the light emitted from the moon, I added an outer glow effect to the text in order to make it stand out further. In terms of the layout, I attempted to fill the design on the front, by using the images and typography. Yet, the majority of my design is positioned centrally, which I think works as the design is balanced and not weighted to one side.

However, on the back of the album, I decided to just use a plain black background, as I felt if I used the same galaxy background which I included on the front, the design would look too busy. This therefore created a contrast between the front and back of the album, which I feel works well as opposed to having a 'busy' design on both sides. The only other elements I included on the back of the design was the band’s logo, the track-listing, copyright information and a barcode, as I felt as though as the front was so busy it would be more effective if the reverse was simplistic. Yet I did ensure to use a different font, 'Helvetica' for the copyright information, as this text is generally in an alternative font.

I hope this provides you with more of an insight into this design and I will share more of my thought processes behind my other designs in the future!

Thank you for reading!


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