Racers in Xbox’s Live Forza racing may think they’re seeing double these days, but they’re not it’s just the latest addition to Team Figment Racing’s team.  Joining Figment’s Lamborghini Diablo GTR car is their brand new Lamborghini Murcielago.

Although the Murcielago is currently racing in a lower performance class it has already staked it’s claim on the Live Forza tracks by racking up a few wins.  Driver and car designer javdoc plans to sell the car’s livery in much the same way he has sold the Diabo livery, so be on the lookout, because chances are the only view you’ll have of the newest addition to Team Figment racing is this…

I just wanted to do a quick post to let you know a few new guidelines/rules we have for content posted here on Figment.

1.  Let’s refrain from trying to out-gross the competition. We’re all for allowing people a lot of leeway and we understand that it’s hard to dictate taste.  After all what one person finds disgusting someone else may find funny, but remember when your albums are in the Recent Additions they aren’t filtered for offensive material so anyone can view them.  With that in mind, if you’re thinking about creating a band with a crude name or an album cover with a mutilated sexual appendage, please refrain, because from now on we’re not going to mess around and it will be deleted.  If you continue to create it, we’ll delete your account.  Let’s all try to take into account the feelings of our fellow players and exercise a little restraint.

2.  We love that our players are creative.  Imagination is the crux of Figment and we try our best not to limit it in any way.  However, we do have some guidelines on what we will allow.  As you know, we recently created a new rule that banned cover albums.  We are now announcing that videos are not allowed. Why?  Because although you can be creative in the video description, we don’t feel it has enough of a design component to make it fit with Figment.  After all, with a fake album you have to design a cover, while a video requires nothing more than an image.  If you want to release a video we suggest you make it part of a DVD or boxed set, and please put some creativity into the design of it’s packaging.  We’re open to you creating new ways to market your bands and satisfy your fans thirst for new products (in the past we’ve allowed video games, magazines, merchandise and posters to be released), but all of them must involve an element of design.  If you considering a new product and you’re not sure if it will fly feel free to run it by us by using the feedback link at the bottom of every page on the site.

3.  Shout Boxes are not really for shouting! As I’m sure you aware, marketing is a big part of Figment.  Getting the word out to people about your bands and their albums is an important skill that you need to master if you are going to be a top player.  That’s one of the reasons we placed Shout Boxes on every band page.  It’s a way for you to communicate with other players by leaving feedback on their bands, telling them about a new release or providing encouragement.  While we’ve always promoted the idea of using the shout box for marketing purposes, we’ve also preached against its abuse.  Lately we’ve seen a number of players who stretch the boundaries of shout box etiquette by pressuring people to buy/listen to their albums, fan their bands or even strike a “I’ll buy yours if you buy mine” type of deal.  I want to make it clear that this is an abuse of shout box protocol and effective immediately we’re going to begin levying lucre fines of 50 lucre per shout on those players who leave messages of this type. So what can you say?  How about a simple “Have you checked out my latest album?”  and leave it at that.  How about just telling someone you like what they’ve created and leave it to them to decide if they like what you’ve created.  Try striking up a friendship or helping someone out with some useful advice or critiques.  Pressuring people into becoming a fan or buying/listening to an album is not what the Shout Box is designed for, nor is leaving messages asking another player to return to listen to an album in an attempt to drive your album up the charts.  It’s a manipulation of the rules and you will be fined.  Instead of just using the shout box as an annoying megaphone or vuvuzela (couldn’t resist), try publishing news about your band, creating a tour that promotes the album or merely use the shout box judiciously.  Don’t forget your current fans are already being alerted to band’s album releases via email.  Do you really want to annoy them with more marketing noise?

We hope you will read these guidelines and new rules and take them to heart.  Figment is a game for everyone and we are committed to keeping it as level a playing field as possible.  If you have any feedback on these guidelines please comment below.  We welcome your feedback.

When we selected William Schaff to be our guest judge for this year’s Figment Album Cover Design Contest we knew that he was a talented artist and had produced some incredible album covers for bands like Okkervil River, Godspeed You!  Black Emperor and Songs:  Ohia among others.  What we didn’t know was just how great of a person he was.  Easy to talk to, interested in what all of you are doing on Figment, and best of all excited about interacting with fellow artists like yourselves.  Will has been watching what all of you have been up to over the past 2 months and even if he didn’t pick you as a winner or runner up in this year’s contest, rest assured he’s not only looked at your stuff, but given it careful consideration.  So before we turn it over to him to announce the winners, we’d just like to say thanks to Will for being such a great judge.  I hope you will all continue to follow his work and if you can help support his work by buying one of his pieces of art, whether it’s an album that contains his artwork on the cover or a piece that he created, let’s all say thanks by helping to support a great artist and friend of Figment.

And now without further adieu I will turn this post over to Will:

All right….wow….you folks have challenged me. Please allow me to start all this by re-iterating, I am not a “judge” here, but a fellow artist. I am excited by, and recognize the power an image can have on people, and how it can bring someone in. So what I say is said as a fellow artist, and is what I would say were I sitting by you as you worked this out on your computer, or over your drawing board.

This has been tough to pick one over the other. Sometimes for reasons that would make y’all smile, sometimes not. But I am going to have to say first place goes to:

Zeroth

“Cryptonomicon”

by javdoc

Allow me to explain why. Imagine that you and I are were hitting the yard sales on a bright Saturday morning. Our goal that day is to purchase an album that we know nothing about. The band’s genre isn’t what is affecting our choice, because we don’t know the band. What they sound like doesn’t matter because we’re looking to meet something new. So we’re going strictly on what strikes our visual fancy. Now you and I may have disagreement on what those criteria are, but lucky me! I get to be the fellow who says what gets chosen. If I was at a yard sale and had only these ten records to chose from, Zeroth would catch me the most, because it is unclear what exactly is going on. I see numbers, I see letters that don’t make sense to me. Yes, the word “Zeroth” is at the bottom, but it is pales in comparison to everything else going on. It has me curious! I am assuming it may be some sort of detailed, electronic music (which I am able to enjoy at times) but I am not sure. That uncertainty has me wanting to check it out. Neat!

1st Runner Up

Eccentric Arcade

“Jar Full of Hearts”

by frizbee

Eccentric Arcade’s “Jar Full of Hearts” has me most interested the next because out of all the choices I am looking at, It feels as though the artist who made this incorporated the text in way with as much consideration as the art work. It is not just some font chosen from what Photoshop or some artist’s late night internet travels found them. From the color of the font, to they way the font is presented, it has me interested. The imagery is strikingly presented, and well crafted (hand drawn?)

2nd Runner Up

Fitchburg Subdivision

“The Virtue of Fools”

by JoshTheRadioDude

Fitchburg Subdivision…well — and this may piss off a few of the ladies out there making album covers — but they have an attractive young woman on the front. How does that not catch a fellow’s interest?? O.K., maybe not all fellows, but it does often catch mine. The font they used for their band is interesting, where as (and this is where they lose a few points) the font chosen for the name of the album does not show the same consideration as the rest. It is a common font found on most everyone’s microsoft word list of fonts.

That would be my main criticism of what I was seeing of all contestants.. If you feel it necessary to put text on your image think carefully about where the text is coming from. There are times that a classic, easily recognizable font fits the bill. But not usually. Maybe hand draw a font.

Have more confidence in your image, too. I was sorry that there was no one who felt so strong about the image that they left it at that. No band name, or album title visible on the front cover (that’s what the spine’s for!). Remember, when you see a poster for an album in a record shop or what not, it is usually 90% image and 10% text. The label knows it is the image that is going to draw you in. Imagine if it was the other way around — 90%text and 10% image. That would be silly.

Thanks for showing me your stuff, folks. Congrats to the ten finalists, and congrats to the winner and runner ups. It’s neat what y’all are doing. Keep it up, and keep having fun.

All the best.

William

So congratulations to javdoc for winning this year’s Album Cover Design Contest.  We’ll be sending him a copy of the brand new Photoshop CS5 Extended courtesy of Adobe, $50 of William Schaff merchandise, a copy of Steve Almond’s new book “Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life” courtesy of Random House, and 1,000 pieces of lucre.

Congratulations to frizbee and JoshTheRadioDude too!  They will be receiving 750 and 500 pieces of lucre respectively as well as a copy of the book “Record Store Days” by Gary Calamar and Phil Gallo courtesy of Sterling Publishing.

And finally congratulations to all of the finalists and everyone who entered a cover.  You guys all upped your game this year and it showed in some great covers!

Until next year…

We’d like to thank everyone who submitted an entry in our 2010 Figment Album Cover Design Contest.  We had a bunch of great entries, and the overall quality level was terrific.  So thanks for entering!

Unfortunately, only 10 entries can be submitted to our guest judge William Schaff, so there was a lot of debate among the members of the Figment editorial board over who would make the cut.  The ten finalists below represent those covers we felt stood out from the pack and deserved a chance at winning the contest.  We’ll let Will decide who the winner and 2 runners up will be, but these 10 deserve a big round of applause regardless.

Here are the Top 10 in no particular order:

Fitchburg Subdivision

“The Virtue of Fools”


Eccentric Arcade

“Jar Full of Hearts” (Single)


Zandergriff Miggs & The Parliament of Owls

“Down the Owsley Hole”


Shane Osiris

“Stealing the Sun”


Dollhouse in Black

“Haunted”


KARKASS

“Mr. Grim”


Zeroth

“Cryptonomicon”


The Forgotten Falling

“Apocolyption”


Zandergriff Miggs & The Parliament of Owls

“Conscious Pilot”


The Jupiter Archives

“Neverland”


So those are the 10 finalists.  We will post the winner and 2 runners up on Friday, so stay tuned!

The Deadline is Midnight!

June 4th, 2010

Planning to enter our Figment Album Cover Design Contest?  Already did, but want to add another entry?  Well either way the deadline is tonight at midnight ET.  So don’t delay, get your entry in now!

4 Days Left to Enter!!!

June 1st, 2010

Just wanted to remind everyone that if you count today there are only four days left to enter our 2010 Figment Album Cover Design Contest!  The deadline is this Friday, June 4th at midnight ET, so make sure you get your entries in before then!

William Schaff, album cover designer for Okkervil River and other bands, will be judging the contest, and the winner will receive a copy of the brand new Photoshop CS5 Extended courtesy of Adobe as well as $50 of Will’s merchandise, the book “Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life” by Steve Almond and 1,000 pieces of lucre.  There are also prizes for 2nd & 3rd place!  So don’t delay and enter an album cover now!!!  Click here to read more about the rules, etc.