MSAE ’11 Art Education
The package design for Hank Wonder’s album Waylaid strives to lure listeners away from the algorithms and touch screens of modern music consumption, fusing its songs and visuals into an unforgettable analog listening experience. The cover image of a broken down Volkswagen Westfalia on a deserted highway provides the visual cornerstone for the album. Bold brush strokes, retro-style halftone dot patterns, and Western-themed hand lettering invoke the charm of a 1950s cowboy storybook. The back label (a bygone aspect of vintage album art) includes an essay, musician credits, track listings, and promotional messages. Text elements are set in the Trade Gothic and Clarendon typefaces to keep things clear and conversational. Along the outer border of the label design, a repeating pattern of playing card suits gives a subtle nod to the ubiquitous poker games found in a Wild West saloon. Faint coffee stains and yellowing on the label seem to suggest this record has been part of a collection for years. All throughout, embedded details are meant to sustain interest while the blue vinyl spins. On the musical side of things, the album’s ten tracks (clocking in at just under 38 minutes) are tidy, story-rich offerings inspired by the work of legendary Country songwriters. Lyrical references to Louisiana oil rigs, California courthouses, Adirondack cabins, Colorado lakes, and Florida car dealerships are like pins on a sonic road map. Infused with a kind of nostalgic wanderlust, Waylaid was designed to be a trip listeners won’t soon forget.