Moinlabs Cover Design: The “Vertex Series” comes to an end

Akustik Kies: Reflexiv Hören. This Moinlabs release is a special release in many ways. First, it concludes Moinlabs’ (and my) first-ever double album release. Then, it’s the last release to be made at the well-known MoinSound Studio, located in München Schwabing, as this site will be moving to Würzburg shortly. But finally (and perhaps most importantly), it concludes the Vertex Series in Moinlabs’ cover design.

The Vertex Series

For all Moinlabs releases since Weird Specialist (2007), the cover art of each release was built around a basic geometric shape with a specific number of vertices. Starting with a rectangle for Weird Specialist, the series continued with a triangle (Wie groß ist die Luft?), a circular segment (The MoinSound Studio Sessions), a teardrop shape (Akustik Kies: Transitiv Sehen) and finally, for Akustik Kies: Reflexiv Hören, the most basic shape of all, the vertex-less circle.

Weird SpecialistWie groß ist die Luft?The MoinSound Studio Sessions

Akustik Kies: Transitiv SehenAkustik Kies: Reflexiv Hören

Incidentially, this series wasn’t planned in advance. the idea to do something like this manifested only during the design phase for Wie groß ist die Luft?: the idea to have a very basic design based entirely on triangles had already been established, and so with that rectangle->triangle succession from the last release, it seemed to make sense to continue in this fashion. So sometime around 2008, the decision was made: the three succeeding official releases (“official” here means that limited editions etc. such as ADVENTUS and Es ist ein Ros’ entsprungen were exempt from that rule) needed to use a two-vertex, a one-vertex and a no-vertex design element.

The Releases

Four: Weird Specialist (2007)

As mentioned before, no idea regarding this series had manifested in any form as early as this. For Weird Specialist, the cover design was outsourced once again to designer/visual artist Anna Bejenke. On that release, Anna worked with a brief that granted her a lot of freedom: apart from a very wide rectangle as a dominating element (to be placed on the front, back, transparent tray and label) and the use of turquiose-blue, red and a black background, Anna was very free in her design decisions – and made use of that freedom.

Three: Wie groß ist die Luft? (2008)

I still consider this my best cover design, mainly because it’s so simple. Black, light and dark grey, and white. And a triangle. And Helvetica. That’s it. And while (due to the absence of anything else design-wise), the triangle as the geometric element dominates the design more than on the other releases, it doesn’t even feel that way – especially because due to the position at the corner of the design’s pages, it feels more like a square with something cut off. Great design. Even the typo in the liner notes doesn’t change that.

Two: The MoinSound Studio Sessions (2009)

Ok, so the decision had been made, but for this design, it started with the question “what is a bi-angle”? By the laws of geometry, everything that has exactly two vertices must have at least one curved line. As I was always looking for the most basic shapes, the circular segment seemed the right choice.

However, in contrast to the last two releases, I had something with photography in mind for this album. And for that reason (and in contrast to the preceding albums), the geometric shape is almost hidden here: a slightly darker section of the photography in the front, so much that you almost only recognize it if and when you know where to look for it.

One: Akustik Kies – Transitiv Sehen (2010)

Now this album was not only the second to last album in this vertex series, it was also the first half of my first double album. And while in the domain of digital releases this might not seem that important, I had from the beginning also wanted for both halves of this double album to have a somewhat coherent cover design.

For Transitiv Sehen, I decided again on the use of photography. And contrasting to MSSS, I also used recognizable geometric shapes in those photographs in the cover design: the rooftop for part “A”, the sideface shot for part “B” and an airplane’s curved vapor trail for part “C”. However, there wasn’t any teardrop shape.

I proceeded as I did on MSSS: a mask on the front-page photo in a teardrop shape. And to make sure it doesn’t get lost, there’s another place in the booklet where you can find it again.

Zero: Akustik Kies – Reflexiv Hören (2011)

For quite some time, I had been planning to make the booklet for this album photo-based as well. The idea was to photograph round objects (such as flower blossoms, wheels and drinking glasses), and to use one, two or three of them for the respective parts I, II and III. However, thinking about this cover design, and how bringing this series to conclusion with a circle, I decided to go even more basic and use very simple graphics here. Of course, symmetry with and contrast to the art of Transitiv Sehen also played a role here – but finally, the series ended in almost the most basic cover design conceivable: a red circle on a red background.

Aftermath – and the future

So, this series has come to an end, with rectangle, triangle, circular segment, teardrop and finally a circle. Looking back, I look back with joy and, yes, pride: this series is something just beyond the usual concepts in cover design you’ll find. During this series, sometimes I cursed the series: especially for the MSSS album, I didn’t find a proper way to combine the photography I had in mind with the circular segment – and frankly, the solution I finally settled for isn’t all that great. But then, on the other hand, the design of the double album Akustik Kies, the clever use of the triangle on Wie groß ist die Luft? – great stuff!

The future? Will, of course, not be based on a negative number of vertices. And using the newly-gained freedome, let’s just look out what will happen. The next official release, which by all propability will be the #secretalbum, will also have a very interesting cover art, so interesting in fact, that it will involve multiple visual artists, and a lead designer that is not me. And then there’s releases after that…stay tuned!


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