Case study

“The Wabash, Volume II” album art

An arts nonprofit asked us to design this compilation album of local music. We paired evocative images with bold typography for a great final piece.

Project snapshot


Wabash Valley Art Spaces, Terre Haute, Indiana

What we delivered

  • Album art creative direction & design
  • Photography & photo editing

Wabash Valley Art Spaces is an arts non-profit that commissions and places art in public places. They provide public art to “enhance economic growth, enrich cultural experiences, and build a legacy for future generations.”

To raise money for this public art, they coordinated a series of compilation albums. They asked local musicians to provide songs (original or cover) about the local Wabash River.

Defining the vision

Art Spaces knew they needed album art with plenty of room to fit information about the project, as well as all of the song and musician info. They were open-minded about look and feel, as long as the spirit of the Wabash River and local music shone through.

They also supplied us with some photos, a smattering of Word docs, and loose copy in emails. And the album’s producer, Don Arney, gave us track information.

Putting it all together

Photos & graphics

We started with the supplied photos, and added a photo Christina had taken of the Wabash River on a foggy day. Then we found a few additional relevant photos in our collection. Finally, we found some old public domain maps of Indiana that included the twisting Wabash River.

All of the pictures we’d gathered were nice, but they didn’t look nice together. They all had different color schemes and moods, and in combination look slap-dash. So we carefully color graded these images in a unique, evocative way to create a cohesive, modern set.

Eco-wallet layout

We sorted through the big pile of copy and organized it all into clear sections. Then we distributed them throughout the six-panel eco-wallet. We used an attractive color palette that matched our color-graded images.

By utilizing clear hierarchy of information and creative typographical standards, we made sure the final result was understandable and engaging.

In particular, we focused on giving the album clear credit information. We are big advocates of crediting everyone who contributes to a project and of citing sources. So we separated song-level credits from album-level credits, and then laid out the text consistently.

We gave careful consideration to each panel of the wallet, including the spine, so the listener’s full experience with the physical album will be a positive one.

Don’t forget the disc!

Though sometimes the disc itself is seen as an afterthought in a design, we always like to give it special care. For The Wabash, Volume II, we paired a color-graded river map with a bold bleeding-edge type treatment.

Coming to consensus

Wabash Valley Art Spaces, like many non-profits, has a lot of people involved in its projects. Though at times the feedback from board members showed a wide variety of opinions, it was important that we parse through all of the comments and arrive at a design that did the job well.

The final piece is colorful, informative, and a great fundraising piece for Art Spaces.

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