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…

11 Responses to “Figment Album Cover Design Contest Winners Announced!”

  1. frizbee Says:

    It’s always the ones you least suspect that come out of nowhere and take the lead. Congratulations to javdoc!

  2. Javdoc Says:

    Wow, I am stunned. I was thinking I’d be lucky to place, I did not expect to win at all. I almost didn’t even enter that cover in the first place…. Go figure….

    Thanks to Will for the nod, and the thoughtful critique of my work – you definitely captured what I was going for when I was putting that together. Congrats to frizbee and JoshTheRadioDude for their oustanding pieces as well. And thanks as always to Eric and the Figment crew for giving me and everyone here this awesome forum to vent our creativity.

  3. TMTYTF Says:

    Wow, I am shocked at the results of this one. I don’t understand at all why the Zeroth cover was chosen over some of the others entered. I think “Jar Full of Hearts” and “The Virtue of Fools” were great runners up. I really love that Fitchburg Subdivision cover. I didn’t expect to win having only made it to the top 10 with only Shane Osiris’s “Stealing the Sun”. I’m also bummed for ChildofAlma, who had Forgotten Falling and Dollhouse In Black covers in there too! And lastly, it was a pleasant surprise that Zandergriff Miggs and the Parliament of Owls didn’t win after the huge upset at the 2010 Figgies.

  4. Javdoc Says:

    @TMTYTF Piece of advice for you, as you are obviously still young: You will get further in life if you learn to apply a filter to your thoughts before you express them. You have an uncanny knack for backhanded compliments and statements which are simply obnoxious. Figment is no doubt a place for expressing yourself, but comments such as the ones you made above show a complete lack of maturity and respect. Next time, think a moment on how you’d feel to be on the receiving end of one of your little statements before you click Submit.

  5. theHoseman Says:

    Hey…Congratulations Javdoc, frizbee & JoshTheRadioDude!! You guys consistently deliver great and interesting work and these 3 covers are a perfect example of that. All are outstanding and deserving! I love the fact that I was among you for consideration. I’d also like to thank Eric & everyone at Figment. As Javdoc said…they provide us this platform that allows us all to exercise whatever creative muscle we may possess. Will, if you’re reading this…Thank you for giving your time to this contest. It is not every day amateur artists such as myself get to hear feedback from someone like you.

    Not really sure how the Figgies were an upset, but whatever. I completely agree with Javdoc’s wise and sage advice. Figment is a pretty nice, fun site on the old interweb and there is no need for anyone to be bringing any negativity around. I can get enough of that at work.
    Alright, ’nuff said on that topic.

    Congrats once again Javdoc! Love the album cover. Ditto to frizbee & JoshTheRadioDude as well as all the other finalists. I look forward to seeing what you all have up your sleeves next!

  6. frizbee Says:

    Thanks, you guys!

    Hoseman, I’m still shocked that you didn’t place. Your cover for “Down the Owsley Hole” is your best work yet, and I thought it was very much in the same vein as a lot of Will’s work. But I guess it just goes to show that you never know what those wacky artistic types are thinking, huh? =P

    I also agree with javdoc on the topic of TMTYTF’s comments. I understand the upset of not winning because everybody that enters any sort of contest wants to win. Nobody wants to walk away the loser, but it’s going to happen. That’s just the way things work. But you put on your gracious loser face, and you congratulate the people who did win. You may thinking that you deserved to win instead, but you certainly shouldn’t just say something like “I don’t understand why this won”. It’s just impolite and screams immaturity.

    Again, congrats to javdoc and JoshTheRadioDude! Bring on the next contest!

  7. TMTYTF Says:

    @ Javdoc, theHoseman, and Frizbee.

    No negativity intended. I do realize that my comments were a bit harsh, I did have a tough time saying them, but it was truly the way I was feeling. Frizbee, I didn’t mean to come off as a sore loser, that’s not it at all but I do think there were several other covers entered that should have taken the prize instead.

    Again, I do understand that figment is a place to express oneself and I do apologize if I made anyone feel otherwise, however I do not regret any of my previous comments because I was just expressing myself!

  8. letswasteanafternoon Says:

    Haha… I completely missed that this was published, but it was still great to see the results anyway!

    To javdoc:
    Your cover is the artwork that the more I see, the more I like. Initially, I didn’t see it as epic, but through the progression of the competition, the quality of the artwork shone through to such an effect I now take quite the liking to it (in other words, I now find it to be something worthy of a museum display). I can, without a doubt, see how this cover was chosen as first.

    To frizbee:
    This was an amazing cover, much like literally everything else you do. The detail dwarfs so much on this planet that even an electron microscope would be surprised upon every viewing. It frightens me sometimes how someone on this website of expressing yourself could produce such industry-quality work. I love this album cover and think all the praise is has received is very justified.

    To JoshTheRadioDude
    Hmm… unfortunately, Mr. William Schaff stole most all my comments. I agree with him: the girl (rather emphatically) makes the cover the work of contemporary art is it. The whole cover resonates with the vibe of modernity, and the whole deal with the font is trivial (sure, it could have been different, but so could everything else). A rather nice cover (and girl).

    To the rest of the finalists:
    If you beat yourself up for not winning, you have more issues that losing the competition. All the covers were justifiably possible winners and the judge evaluated the covers using his own perspective. The ten finalists were all spectacular exhibitions of creative energy and talent, and they all deserve commendation. Yes, perhaps you disagree (vocally or not), but the fact remains that all the artwork was amazing.

    Congratulations to javdoc, frizbee, and JoshTheRadioDude! Your covers were excellent. Congratulations to all the other six finalists: your works was excellent as well. Thank you to Mr. William Schaff for judging and providing insight to the real world of art!

    I intend on seeing more quality! Best of luck in the coming year!

    letswasteanafternoon

  9. frizbee Says:

    Wow, thanks a lot, letswasteanafternoon. It’s always a great feeling to hear such high praise for your hard work. The JFOH cover was something that was in my mind for many years, but I just never had the means to make it a reality. There were plenty of times when I could have taken a shot at it, but I didn’t want to do it until I knew it could be everything I wanted. It was a relief to finally see something come to life after many years of waiting for the right time.

  10. ChildofAlma Says:

    …..All I will, say is that the final results had me surprised. I won’t say in a bad way or a good way, but surprised.

    Congrats to the winners and yadda yadda, but we’ve all heard that. Instead, isn’t it somewhat interesting how people see different things in different artwork? Obviously William Schaff sees things with an observant and uncommon eye.

    Hope to see some wicked covers coming from Zeroth now, Javdoc. 😉

  11. Tyman Says:

    Good job, javdoc. I’m very happy you won, and that is a great cover. Good job to frizbee and JoshTheRadioDude as well.

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