April 27, International Design Day

Zoa Studio pencil design for World Drawing Day
Zoa Studio pencil design for World Drawing Day

Outside pencils, sharpeners, tires and other stationery because today, April 27, Design Day is celebrated all over the world.This day is also known as Design Day or Graphic Designer Day.
Design Day was established some sixty years ago, in 1962, in London by the International Council of Graphic Design Associations (Ico-D), a worldwide association for professional designers.

This anniversary has important and certainly noble purposes. On the one hand, it is intended to be an opportunity to promote the value of communication through drawing and, on the other hand, it wants to highlight an activity that is often tended to be associated only with children.

In today’s article we will tell you about the beneficial effects of drawing on health, and then we will tell you about the same beneficial effects also on our beloved metal and rock music!

The benefits of drawing on health

Since the night of time, the task of art has always been to help the human being to express themselves. In this regard, drawing was one of humanity’s first forms of communication.

As demonstrated by several studies in the field, creativity has beneficial effects on the psycho-physical health of both children and adults, because it helps to overcome periods of emotional stress. Drawing, moreover, can be a way (sometimes the only way) to represent emotions or situations that you cannot express and to give vent to your imagination.

We had already undertaken this talk last week with William Shakespeare, when we said that music (another expression of creativity) was a way for characters to communicate their emotions without the use of words.

But let’s go back to the drawing, specifically let’s talk about coloring. From a study published in 2016 in the specialized journal APA PsycNet, letting creativity guide in drawing and laying colors helps not only to find well-being and calm, but also to drive away sadness.

Research: how drawing drives sadness away

In the aforementioned 2016 study, a team of researchers selected a sample of 40 participants and asked them to spend time drawing for four consecutive days.

The participants were divided into two groups of 20 people. Group 1 was asked to put their feelings on paper, through drawing, while the second group was given the indication to draw to distract themselves. The results were particularly interesting.

In both groups it emerged that drawing significantly improves mood. In the group with the subjects they had drawn to distract themselves, the researchers found better moods than those of the group that tried to express their feelings through art, however the latter had also managed to channel negative emotions and, in some way, turn them upside down.

The conclusion of the research is that drawing regularly could be a healthy habit, practically like doing physical activity.

Drawing Day: our research

The Zoa Studio team also conducted their own research for International Design Day. Like the 2016 researchers, we divided the album covers into two groups, those with pencil stroke drawings, generally black and white, and those instead with brush strokes, more “expressionists”, so to speak. We await your opinion to know which group has given you the most beneficial effects!

Group 1: Pencil covers

The Beatles – Revolver

The artist who designed the album’s monochrome cover, Klaus Voorman, revealed in an interview that he had done it on a kitchen table in an attic, for £50. Voorman, a friend of the Fab Four, remembers creating the cover of Revolver. He was on the third floor of a house, in a small attic flat in London, he was in the kitchen.

Voormann chose to work in pen and black ink, reporting cropped portions of photographs of the band members and forming a kind of “cascade” of images, which was what the Beatles wanted to represent through their music. Voormann himself said, “It took me about three weeks to create the cover, but in terms of concentrated work, about a week. Much of that time was spent with scissors, scalpels and glue, selecting and availing fragments of photographs within the drawings of the band members.

Thin Lizzy for jailbreaking

Jim Fitzpatrick, the designer of this cover, tells the story: Philip and I were both very influenced by H’s “War of the Worlds.”G.Wells and Marvel’s American comics;  Philip wanted something to reflect these influences and this work of art was the result. Together we worked on the fictional story of “The Warrior” that Philip had in mind and I reworked the fundamental parts to reflect this idea. The influence of another great American comic book artist we both loved, Neal Adams, is everywhere. I loved the use of silver and had to struggle to get it as an extra run, even though the record company was still ready, so I’d say it was successful. 

Wheels of Fire – Cream

There’s not much to say about this cover, other than that the artwork was designed by Martin Sharp (who had also made the artwork for Disraeli Gears). And then we steal words taken from the network that describe it well: sometimes the lack of color makes  images more beautiful. Sometimes… this is one of those times.

” Green Day ” by Dookie

The artwork for the album was made by Richie Bucher and immediately sparked controversy, as it depicted bombs dropped on people and buildings.

It was the band’s frontman, Billie Joe Armstrong, who explained the meaning of the design: “I wanted the artwork to look really different. I wanted him to represent the East Bay and where we come from, because there are a lot of artists in the East Bay scene who are as important as music. So we talked to Richie Bucher… There are pieces of us buried on the album cover. There’s a guy with his camera in the air taking a picture with a beard…The dressed character who looks like the Mona Lisa is the woman on the cover of Black Sabbath’s first album. AC/DC guitarist Angus Young is also there somewhere.

The back cover of the first prints of the CD also had problems. There was in fact a plush Ernie of Sesame Street, which was airbrushed from subsequent prints for fear of legal disputes. It seems to have been removed because it led parents to think that Dookie was an album of lullabies for children.

Rainbow – Long live Rock and Roll

The original album was on an opening cover illustrated by Debbie Hall, with an insert of sheets containing the lyrics. The image of the band, airbrushed, represented as if it were a crowd, actually comes from a Rush concert, in which some fans held up a banner reading the title of this album. 

Pink Floyd – The Wall

One of Pink Floyd’s most iconic black and white covers is definitely Pink Floyd’s The Wall. It was designed by cartoonist Gerald Scrafe, who had previously collaborated with the band. All the images of the album were made by him with various techniques and colors but, for the cover, everything was made by hand by dipping a nib in black ink and letting the fluid act on paper with its magic. It adds emotion inside the lyrics as you read them while listening to music. That’s what lyrics looks like.

Aerosmith: Draw the Line

The first copies of the album were packaged in a black envelope with white text, with Aerosmith credits and logo on the back… and with a t-shirt order form.

Luckily, Al Hirshfield, an American caricaturist and artist, made the final cover. Which is just a caricature of the “hairy” members of the band, performed in black and white.

Group 2: Expressionist covers

In the Court of the Crimson King

The story of this cover is crazy. Pete Sinfield, roadie, lighting officer, lyricist of a band at the time new, called King Crimson, was tasked with finding a way to pack the strange music that this band was recording in a studio. Not wasting his time, Pete gets in touch with his friend and former colleague in the computer world, Barry Godber. The latter was recruited not for his computer programming skills but rather for those with the brush, because he had studied at Chelsea Art School and was expert with watercolors.

Having never been commissioned an art project and certainly not for the cover of an album, Godber asks to listen to the music that his art should have displayed. Sinfield gave Godber only one directive: the cover had to stand out in record stores. 

Godber sat in front of a mirror and began painting. The result of anything that had gone through his mind while applying watercolors to the canvas has now gone down in history. 

Queen – A Night At The Opera

The cover (with the artistic direction of David Costa) shows a colorful version of the band’s logo. Originally designed by Freddie Mercury, the “Queen crest” features the zodiac signs of the four members: two lions (John Deacon and Roger Taylor), a crab to represent cancer (Brian May) and two fairies to indicate the Virgin (Freddie Mercury) – placed around the letter Q.

This set of signs is crowned by a phoenix representing immortality. The typeface is Filmotype York, a font first published by Filmotype in 1958 and digitized by Patrick Griffin in 2014.

Jethro Tull, Aqualung

The original cover of the album Aqualung was made by Burton Silverman and features a watercolor portrait of a man with long hair and a beard in scruffy clothes. Hypotheses have alternated about the origin of this cover since the 1970s. It looks like the classy history of copyright and intellectual property. Burton Silverman, in fact, seems to have sold his works for the album, but there has never been any discussion of merchandise: probably at that time there was not even this concept! What is surprising, however, is that justice has never been done in legal terms. Ian Scott Anderson himself has always avoided the problem and sometimes even tried to “turn the omelettes around” by telling untruthful stories.

To know everything, but just the whole story of this cover and the artist who made it we recommend reading this article, written by Burton Silverman’s journalist son, Robert: My dad painted the iconic cover for Jethro Tull’s ‘Aqualung,’ and it’s haunted him ever since.

The Band – Music From Big Pink

The cover art of this album was even designed by Bob Dylan himself. Dylan offered to sing on the album, the band’s first, but eventually realized he had to let their expressiveness go free

Dylan then contributed a cover painting, which depicts six musicians. The cover of Music From Big Pink was intended to establish that the group had a different view from the psychedelic culture of 1968.

Alice Cooper – Billion Dollar Babies

In the 1970s there was a tendency to choose “pop art” as the style of the album covers of the bands of the time. Billion Dollar Babies by Alice Cooper is a cornerstone of this trend. The disc, a sort of oversized airbrushed snakeskin wallet, complemented by the insertion of a custom gold coin, is certainly a standout work by Carl Ramsey. A sort of “urban” painter, whose works can be bought here.

Slayer: Reign in Blood

The band decided to take inspiration from what was actually the album’s backing song, Raining Blood. They commissioned an illustration specifically for the cover, giving this idea as the basis.The man hired to make the artwork was Larry W. Carroll, who returned from the band with two paintings. The band eventually asked him to amalgamate them into a single image. “We always tried to make sure that what you saw on the cover reflected the music,” guitarist Kerry King said after the album’s release. “It must have been extreme. In a way, we did the job well if it makes pop fans sick.”

Nirvana – Incestide

We close our cover art roundup with Nirvana’s Incesticide album. Who’s the artist behind this weird cover? He is the frontman of the Seattle band, Kurt Cobain, who is credited as Kurdt Kobain in the cover notes.

The rubber duck seen on the back cover of the album also belonged to Cobain. The cover prominently shows a poppy, alluding to Cobain’s struggle with heroin addiction. Early editions of the album also contained cover notes written by Cobain, including a statement denouncing homophobia, racism, and misogyny. This cover, with the elongated man, quite resembles the works by Edward Gorey, don’t you think? 

We have completed our personal research on this International Design Day. And you, what group do you belong to?

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