Clay Aiken – Visual Arts Mesh With Music

One of the highly anticipated new music albums for 2010 will feature Clay Aiken.  The multi-platinum recording star recently left RCA and signed with Decca/Universal.  Decca has the reputation of working with outstanding musicians and emphasizing the music as the most important part of the recording process.

Information about the new album has been scarce. Most of the “facts” about the recording have been passed along through unreliable tweets, facebook pages and   speculation.

In October, Clay said that the album would be out in the first part of 2010.

Because of the secrecy surrounding this album, the general public has no idea where Clay is in the steps of putting the album together.  I would like to think that the team is working on the album cover.

The first impression of a CD is generally based on its cover.  The cover design acts like the cover of a magazine.  It is always the first thing a buyer observes.  For that reason, the cover and packaging of a CD is an integral part of the CD process.

Visual arts mesh well with music and many album covers have become a marketing tool.  There are certain album covers that we recognize immediately……..Everyone remembers the cover of “The Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, or perhaps Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon.”  These two album’s artwork has become memorable almost on its own.

Alex Steinweiss invented the album cover as we know it, and created a new graphic art form.  Steinweiss won a scholarship to Parsons School of Design and at the age of 23, he became the first art director at Columbia Records.

In 1940, he pitched an idea: Why not replace the standard plain brown wrapper with an eye-catching illustration?  The company took a chance, and within months its record sales increased by over 800 per cent.

His covers for Columbia combining bold typography with modern, elegant illustrations took the industry by storm and revolutionized the way records were sold.

In 1950, Steinweiss started a 20+ year association with Decca recordings.


Over three decades, Steinweiss made thousands of original artworks for classical, jazz, and popular record covers for Columbia, Decca, London, and Everest; as well as logos, labels, advertising material, even his own typeface, the Steinweiss Scrawl.

He launched the golden age of album cover design and influenced generations of designers to follow.

As photography started taking over album design, Steinweiss slowly began to take on less and less work.  He felt out of his comfort zone and felt that photography “cheapened the medium.”

Steinweiss now resides in Sarasota, Florida and at 92 still holds exhibitions of his artwork.

Of his work on the albums, Steinweiss said:

“I love music so much, and I had such ambition.  I wanted people to look at the artwork and hear the music”

What do you think?  Will Clay’s album cover be unique?  Will it have special artwork on the cover or will it be made up of photography that makes a splash?  Whatever it is, I hope we see it soon.

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13 thoughts on “Clay Aiken – Visual Arts Mesh With Music

  1. I am not picky about the artwork for the cd as long as we get one soon. A beautiful picture of Clay for the cover would be just fine.

  2. Interesting article about Steinweiss.. I really never even gave any thought into what the cover may look like….All the past CD's have been pictures of Clay…..????Who knows…It does make you wonder if Decca, will try a new approach…???

    I have no idea…and I bet alot of great Clay artists could design a CD cover with no problem……The Claynation sure have a bunch of wonderful talented people as well…..and they do it just for the love of Clay Aiken….

    Whatever is chosen, I'm sure it will be great…..but as always CANN, I'm thinking about it now…..


  3. Reading here is so much fun. You are always learning something new. I don't particularily care what Clay's album cover is like, I just want it – NOW!!! 😉

    Why can't we go back and edit a word before we hit post?

  4. I hope the album will be stunning, but I am eagerly awaiting the album and to hear Clay Aiken's wonderful voice with new songs.

  5. What an interesting article. Thanks CANN for being so imformative. Clay aiken's ablum cover? I have no idea but I am anxiously waiting to hear the new music.

  6. While I hope there's a picture of Clay on the cover, I think something with stunning graphics would be cool. As long as it's Clay Aiken's voice I will be a happy camper 😀

    Thanks for the interesting article!

  7. Very interesting article. What will be on Clay Aiken's CD Cover? I would like to see his handsome face on there as usual…or whatever else they can come up with. What I am really waiting for, as everyone else is, is the music that will be on it. I'm excited just talking about it.

  8. I would prefer Clay on the cover and they can schmaltz (sp?) it up as much as they want… long as those beautiful green eyes are there. I still love the MOAM album cover and have the poster for it on my wall so I can gaze into those eyes daily.

    It was a very interesting article to read and thanks for the new found knowledge. You have been a valuable teacher! Thank you to all.

    By the way, the shadow picture of Clay at the top is the first picture I used to make a sweatshirt for the IT in Detroit. I always thought it would have made a beautiful album cover. I don't know who the artist was on that one but it was great.

  9. I would love a great picture of Clay Aiken on the cover of his CD, but I'm sure I'll be happy with whatever they put on there. I'm counting on Decca to do a good job for Clay. He deserves it.

  10. Wow, thanks for the background info on album covers, musicfan! I have no idea what to expect for Clay's new CD cover but the information I learn here always impresses me 🙂

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