My collection for 2017s Kong: Skull Island undoubtedly included the most elaborate custom cover I have ever, ever created. From the first draft to the finished mockup it took me literally weeks! So many evenings I didn’t do nothing but sitting in a blue-lighted room all by myself. In hindsight it was absolutely ridiculous how much time I wasted on that thing.
Don’t get me wrong, I really love the finished design and I still love to look at it nowadays. But it also feels kinda wrong to have spent so much time on a score that didn’t leave a lasting impression. Kong was nice and all, but at the end of the day it’s pretty much forgettable.
The really sad thing is however, that its successor Godzilla: King of the Monsters has turned out even worse!
While Bear McCreary’s music may for sure have its qualities, the film unfortunately is an absolute trainwreck! God, what a waste of time. It’s in all respects a complete desaster. The promo material is probably the most thrilling thing about this and not even that reaches the qualities of Godzilla or Kong.
Being utterly underwhelmed with the film didn’t exactly boost my motivation to begin working on this custom covers collection. But you gotta finish what you started, right?
To help myself, I decided to put this whole endeavor under the rule of a deadline. Yes, a deadline – the cause and solution to all problems in the life of a graphic designer. But it helps to get your mind focused and not loose yourself in the midst of mediocrity.
With that being said, I also have to admit that this set has still grown into quite a collection. Not only because I revisited some of my very own designs for Alexandre Desplat’s Godzilla (#6 to #9). No, I also learned two essential things during this project:
- You can indeed get hyped up for almost anything when you only spend enough time with it.
- And yes, once the creative juices start to flow, ideas come to you quite naturally.
Such as the thought of coming up with not one, but two alternate versions of Waxwork Records’ Deluxe Heavyweight Monster Pack, including one based on a wicked fan poster by Spanish illustrator Pablo Iranzo (#12).
There were times when I felt like discarding this whole collection entirely. But there’s always been one single cover that made me come back – the Limited Edition below.
It’s a continuation of a vinyl concept I initially conceived for Godzilla and carried over for Kong a couple years later. It originally came together rather accidentally when I fiddled around with blend modes and clipping masks, yet somehow ended up with a design that has since then turned into a sort of template, whenever I feel the need for a die-cut sleeve.
I still love the tangible quality of that particular mockup! From the black cardboard texture on the wrapper down to the subtle shadows cast within the die-cut, this design is one of my personal favourites and it’s probably the sole reason, why I definitely plan to tackle all futre scores within Legendary Entertainment’s MonsterVerse.
Btw, the insert (#14) features the infamous promo image of Godzilla staying afloat the vast and endless ocean.
The quartet of covers below (#16 to #19) where among the very first ones I made for this collection and they’re also part of the reason why I postponed this set for so god-damn long. I really struggled with my self-imposed guidelines.
In my imagination, each one of those four covers had to have the same layout. I wanted the logo size to be reasonable in comparison to the overall cover size, but at the same time keep important elements of the background image clearly visible. Also also, all other text had to harmonize with the general layout and remain legible at CD booklet size.
I messed around with it for-freaking-ever, yet somehow nothing seemed to work. Just be thankful you didn’t have to witness that process. It was embarrassing! Under the circumstances, I am surprisingly pleased with the final results.
The next four covers (#20 to #23), on the other hand, were an absolute piece of cake. I only had to overcome my inner resistance to convert the initial posters into square versions by hand, which sounds like annoying work and indeed it was. Just imagine to erase or re-paint pre-existing graphics for hours on end. My only motivation was to see the end result nested within this blog post.
Below is yet another group of covers (#24 to #27), for which I processed an astonishingly beautiful poster set from China.
I wanted to make something out of these at all cost, no matter what. Due to the portrait layout I decided to once again go down the retro route and turn them into old vinyl jackets. Not necessarily because these types of covers are so overly popular in digital media libraries around, but because I just love to reproduce vintage sleeves.