I have always loved album covers.  The artwork, the liner notes, everything about it was magical to me and although many dismissed it as just packaging, to me it was a visual extension of the recorded music that it held.  In fact, in some cases it enhanced the music.  On Figment, album cover art is equally if not more important, because there is NO recorded music involved.  In fact, many might say that the artwork is everything.  I would contest that because I feel the band’s back story and song titles are also important, but I can’t fight the fact that the artwork is the first thing that grabs you when you see a fake band on Figment.

A lot of Figment users seem to feel the same way and have clearly poured a lot of time into creating covers that not only grab your attention, but really communicate what they envision is the “sound” of their fake band.  To me, that’s the true test of great cover art, does it communicate with one look what a listener might hear on the vinyl or CD inside?  It’s with that in mind that we’ve decided to launch an annual Figment Album Cover Contest.

As you may know, we’ve had several theme-related contests (i.e.  Holiday Album Contest) where album cover art was considered in the voting, but in this case the artwork will be the primary focus of the contest and it will not be limited to any one theme.  In short, we’re asking you to pull out all the stops and really flex your design chops with this one.

So who will be judging this contest?  The initial round of judging will be done by the Figment staff who will pick the Top 10 covers that they think merit being considered by our special guest judge.  Who is our guest judge?  Well, we’re thrilled to say it’s well known album cover designer, John Coulthart.  John has designed album covers for such bands as Cradle of Filth and Hawkwind as well as cover design and illustrations for a host of horror and sci-fi related books and graphic novels.

So what do you get for winning?  Well, beyond just bragging rights, we thought we’d arm the winner with everything they would need to be a top album cover designer.

The first thing would be a copy of the premier 3D graphic design software on the market.  So the winner will receive a copy of  Adobe Photoshop CS4-Extended courtesy of Adobe.  That alone is a prize worth $1,000 USD, but it doesn’t end there!

A good designer also needs inspiration, and a strong understanding of the groundbreaking designers that preceded him or her in order to develop their own design esthetic.  What better resource for that then a copy of the book “Reasons to be Cheerful:  The Life and Works of Barney Bubble” by Paul Gorman with a foreward written by Paul Saville.  After all, if you want to be an album designer and you don’t know anything about Barney Bubbles then you need this enlightening read!

And lastly, all the best designers are paid for their work, so why should you be any different?  So we will pay the winner 1,000 pieces of Lucre for his/her winning piece of cover art!!!

So now that you know what’s at stake, what do you need to do to enter?  Here are the basic rules of the contest:

1. You must be a registered Figment user to participate.  If you don’t currently have a Figment account please click here to create one.  This contest is open to Figment users worldwide.

2.  Create a fake band on Figment and release an album with cover art.  You may also release an album by an existing band that you created.  To be considered an album must contain song titles.  Even thought they won’t be the focus of our judging, an album that is released without any song titles it will be disqualified. Once you have released the album or album(s) you want to submit as an entry please post the band and album name as a comment to this post, so that we and other users can check it out.  If you don’t post the band/album name as a comment to this post or your album cover entry won’t be considered.

3.  Any artwork used in the creation of your album cover should either be original or at least one at which you have the permission of the copyright owner to use.  If you do use someone else’s work you need to make it your own by at the very least adding text or something that makes it your own.  Any album designs that are judged as being a copy of an existing work will be disqualified.  We will also disqualify any album cover that is offensive in nature – sexist, racist or hate-based.

4.  The contest will run from Friday, March 6th until Friday, April 3, 2009.  All submissions must be posted by no later than 11:59 pm ET on Friday, April 3rd.

5.  By no later than, Friday, April 10th Figment will select the Top 10 album covers and send them to John Coulthart for his review.  John will look the Top 10 covers over and select the Top 5 – a winner and four runners up.  The winner and runners up will be announced on Friday, April 17, 2009.  The winner will receive a copy of Adobe Photoshop CS4-Extended courtesy of Adobe, a copy of Paul Gorman’s book “Reason to be Cheerful:  The Life and Work of Barney Bubbles and 1,000 pieces of Lucre.  The four runners up will win lucre rewards based on their placement in the Top 5.

Here is a little background on John Coulthart to give you an idea of who will be ultimately judging the 10 finalists:

JOHN COULTHART’s first illustration work was for the Hawkwind album Church of Hawkwind in 1982. Since then his designs and illustrations have appeared on record sleeves, CD and DVD packages for Cradle of Filth, Alan Moore & Tim Perkins, Steven Severin, Fourth World music pioneer Jon Hassell and many others. John is a contributor to Arthur Magazine.

As a comic artist John produced the Lord Horror series ‘Reverbstorm‘ with David Britton for Savoy Books, and received the dubious accolade of having an earlier Savoy title, ‘Hard Core Horror‘ 5, declared obscene in a British court of law. A new graphic work, ‘The Soul‘, is being planned with Alan Moore (From Hell, V for Vendetta). His collection of HP Lovecraft adaptations and illustrations, The Haunter of the Dark and Other Grotesque Visions, was republished in 2006 by Creation Oneiros.

As a book designer and illustrator John continues to work for Savoy Books, and in 2003 designed the acclaimed Thackery T Lambshead Pocket Guide to Eccentric and Discredited Diseases edited by Jeff VanderMeer and Mark Roberts.

John’s work has been showcased in Rapid Eye, Critical Vision, Clive Barker’s A-Z of Horror, EsoTerra, and the Channel 4 television series Banned in the UK. He lives and works in Manchester, England.

Needless to say, John is a Figment Industry Heavyweight and I trust you are as excited as I am to have him take a look at your album covers.  So really pull out all the stops and try to create an album cover design that you think really captures your fake band’s esthetic and “sound.”  We look forward to your submissions.

If you’d like to read the full contest rules you can access them at

40 Responses to “Figment Album Cover Contest 2009”

  1. Kaitlin Says:

    band: Arrested Alexander
    album: The Saxbe Fix

  2. guitarer09 Says:

    User: Guitarer09
    Band: Hold The Bullet
    Album: Kiss The Ground

  3. Jason Says:

    Band: Zombie Love
    Album: I’LL eat YOUR FACE!

  4. Kaitlin Says:

    can more then one cover be submitted?
    if so here is another one…

    band: Breaker
    album: To succeed is nothing, it’s an accident

  5. eric Says:

    Kaitlin – the answer is yes, you can submit as many entries as you would like.

  6. alan Says:

    band: The Pearls of Lutra
    album: i shall still do my best

  7. EyeAmBaldman Says:

    Band: Lead
    Album: Lead Pipe Justice

  8. theblacktoaster Says:

    Band: cAST iRONY

    Album: This ain’t science class, kids

  9. Phil Bute Says:

    Band: Cornfield Death
    Album: Caught in a Combine

  10. theblacktoaster Says:

    Band: Sandblasting Cod

    Album: Sandblasting Cod

  11. Claire Says:

    Band: Friends of the Dead

    Album: As The Blood Runs Down The Wall

  12. DarkImmortal Says:

    Band: Reign of Sin

    Album: Venomous Intent

  13. DarkImmortal Says:

    Band: Reign of Sin

    Album: Disciplined Anarchy

  14. Thomas Ferranti Says:

    Figment User Name: RevSpike
    Band: Creepy
    Album: (Un-Cool Before it Was) Cool to be Un-Cool

  15. Javdoc Says:

    Band: Crimson Eye
    Album: Tenth Exodus

  16. Kirk Says:

    Figment User Name: poppinfresh

    Band: Pikopp Andropov

    Album: Inseparable

  17. Overground Says:

    Band: Fait Accompli
    Album: Malevolence

  18. Javdoc Says:

    Band: Crimson Eye
    Album: Warmonger [EP]

  19. Mkleyne Says:

    Hereby my submission to this contest;

    Band: Erat
    Album: Foreigners
    Figment username: Mkleyne


  20. Javdoc Says:

    Band: Zeroth
    Album: fibonacci epoch

  21. frizbee Says:

    Band: Eccentric Arcade
    Album: Eccentric Arcade

  22. theHoseman Says:

    Band: Secret Scurrility
    Album: the Dread Pirate Roberts

  23. overground Says:

    Band: fait accompli
    Album: Snakepit

  24. theHoseman Says:

    Band: Gunshot Love
    Album: Don’t Get Your Hopes Up!

  25. theHoseman Says:

    Band: AlphaHistamines
    Album: Popping Pillz

  26. theHoseman Says:

    Artist: Stalker Channing
    Album: Tyger! Tyger! Burning Bright

  27. Tyman Says:

    Band: The Silver Stones
    Album: Broken

  28. Tyman Says:

    I would like to Submit another one.

    Band: Cosmic Catch
    Album: Speed of light

  29. theHoseman Says:

    Band: Gorgon Zola
    Album: smells like feet

  30. frizbee Says:

    band: Coxswain Insignia
    album: Out In The Ocean

  31. Jeff Says:

    Band: Chicken
    Album: Sounds Like Chicken

  32. dutchthedude Says:

    Band:The Metalz
    Album: Good Bad Ugly

  33. alexrave Says:

    Band: Shiva in Exile
    Album: Ethnic

  34. alexrave Says:

    Band: Shiva in Exile
    Album: Ethnic (EP)

  35. alexrave Says:

    Band: The Kovenant
    Album: Aria Galactica

  36. theHoseman Says:

    Band: the Elder Berry’s
    Album: Easter Bunny Hop

  37. Javdoc Says:

    Band: Amish Militia
    Album: Barn Raising From Hell

  38. drehcir Says:

    Album:Honeyville Suite

  39. alexrave Says:

    Band: Kowenant
    Album: Aria Galaxia

  40. Tyman Says:

    I’d like to Remove One:

    Band: The Silver Stones
    Album: Broken

    and Add One:

    Band: The Silver Stones
    Album: Ressurection

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