The Artwork Debacle:

And so it went that when I was looking to get ready to put the album together, a friend of mine named Phil posted a link to a graphic designer's site that had some really nice images on it that seemed to jive with what I had in mind for the design style of Fashion Victim. I contacted the guy out of the blue to just tell him that I liked his work, and that I wished I could afford him but I doubted that I could and that, I figured, would be that. To my surprise however, the designer wrote me back and said that he liked Larvae's music and wanted to work with us for a reduced fee if we could at least come up with a little cash to pay him. After talking this over with Nicolas, it seemed like everything was amazingly a go! I couldn't have been more excited. That probably explains why it all went so wrong.

After I sent the designer a lengthy email detailing the major themes for the album, and sent him a link to rough mixes of the songs for the abum, I got back a message that seemed very on-point. When the email with the first draft arrived a week or so later, I was beyond excited to see it. Imagine my horror upon seeing this design for the first time and having an instant reaction of 'oh shit, this is not going to work.' I tried to bounce ideas off of people, and to see what others had to say about the design that was admittedly cool, but way, way too dark and violent looking for my tastes. After giving the design some thought, and because I am a designer too, I tried to offer some ideas for revisions that would pull the design in closer to something that would fit the album.

These revisions (which were relatively minor) would put the design much closer to what I thought we needed. Nicolas disliked the art even more than I did, and thought that the design needed more drastic changes, but I had offered just a few ideas that I'd like to see that might get us close. After the designer tried to strangely rationalize the design elements we were questioning, he did set out to make the changes, but did so with a notice to us that the next draft would be the final version. What? I mean, if we had been unduly picky about everything, or had asked for a complete redesign I could have understood this position of frustration. As it was though, I felt like the designer wasn't really listening to my comments in the context of the themes of the album, and was instead assuming that we should like his work as it was. And I did! I thought it was a great design, a very well put-together and polished design that I would have been ecstatic to use... if I had made a gloomy death-metal album!

So, after the first revisions, the deisgns were honestly still not quite there. Part of the problem in this situation was my attempt to be diplomatic. Rather than praising the things I liked about the design and sounding optimistic about the design working out in the end, I should have just been blunt and said 'dude, this is not it.' So, after making a few recommendations about changes that took me no more than an hour to do on my own in photoshop, the designer abruptly quit and said we didn't know what we wanted and he was no longer interested in trying to work with people who were not serious. Well, good riddance I guess. This whole album process has re-taught me the very important axiom: if you want it done right, do it your damn self!