In 2009 I was asked to art direct and design the album and single artwork for Bombay Bicycle Club's first album "I Had the Blues but I Shook them Loose". This was the first piece of freelance work I had done for a release on a major label and I was told in no uncertain terms before I accepted the job that all final artwork had to be delivered as InDesign files. I had never opened InDesign before but took the job anyway which lead to many stressful lunchtimes nipping out to work on last minute copy changes on my laptop in a cafe.
▼ The picture I chose for the front cover of the album is a photograph that was taken by an American photographer Joseph Sterling in the 1960s.
When we contacted Joseph about using the photos, he was 73 years old and the most charming man in the world. He sent this great emoticon-punctuated email during the back and forth of securing the image rights
"I took the picture in the early 1960's (When you weren't even a thought in your mother's mind!) :) along the Lake Michigan lake front in Chicago. It was in an area where a lot of kids hung out. A large group would take a blanket, holding it all around the edges, one guy (or girl) would lay on it and then the group of kids would lift and then "drop" it to almost the ground repeatedly and build up power and then throw the kid on the blanket very high in the air. Then they would catch him as he came down and probably do it again. It looked like a lot of fun but you had to have a lot of trust in your friends! ;) It was a pretty popular thing at that time. I don't know if kids do it now. It can be VERY DANGEROUS! (But they were doing this on a sand beach)"
We wanted there to be nothing interrupting the energy in the image, so we printed the band name and album title on transparent stickers that were easy to peel off once you had the album.
▼ The image on the back of the album was a shot of the back of one of the band member's hands with a stamp from one of their early shows on it. At the time of the album release, the four of them had only just finished their A-Levels so there was a real youthful excitement around the fact that they were about to put an album out.
▼ Below you can see the title sticker placement on the album pre-peeling and two of the singles I designed from the album campaign.